Mee = mysterious.

I was up on 54th Street hanging out again last night – not far from 9th Avenue’s multifaceted dining strip, happily.  At 9:15, my buddy stepped away from the Neumann and we stepped out to grab a bite.  After a few recommendations were parried about, we settled on Mee Noodle Shop, on the corner of 9th and 53rd Street.  I’m happy to say that, like the young Warren Sapp, the noodle shop handles itself with more aplomb than you’d expect from a place of its size and standing.

The menu is, by the way, as enormous as the shop is tiny.  There’s got to be at least 100 ways to order noodles in this shop, though neither of us availed ourselves of them.  No, I was feeling less like a noodle and more like a tofu cube, so I opted for the “Special Platter” category (what makes these special, I always wonder to myself) and its “mapo tofu w. meat sauce over rice.”

Now, the experienced Sichuan diner will realize that ordering mapo tofu can be a blow-your-head-off experience.  With this iteration, it was practically the exact opposite – the most danger I was in all evening was from eating tofu that hadn’t quite cooled enough yet.  Indeed, the sauce was admirably bland, with much of the flavor coming from the clusters of ground meat, reminding me more than slightly of a tomato-less Bolognese sauce.  The tofu itself was creamy, if not entirely bursting with the flavor of the sauce, and the rice was, of course, sticky.

My buddy’s mu shu pork was, we agreed, possessed of a pleasing seared flavor, but certainly was not burnt.  The pork itself was in narrow, inch-long strips – though he didn’t eat it in the traditional American-Chinese style (loading the pancake with hoisin and pork), one wouldn’t have a problem with a loaded pancake’s contents falling out with each bite.  The pancake, I should note, was pretty generic, and neither of us tried the hoisin.

When the check came, we had whatever the reverse of sticker shock is – two hungry dudes had just gorged themselves for $12.55.  My tofu was $4.55, incredibly.

I know I often slag places that can’t seem to find their spice rack, but for some reason, Mee Noodle Shop didn’t provoke that reaction in me, even before I realized just how cheap my meal was.  In fact, I’d gladly go back, even though I’m sort of scratching my head as to why.  Mee Noodle Shop – the ultimate in unaccountably pleasing blandness!  I really should go into advertising.

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3 Comments

Filed under NYC

3 responses to “Mee = mysterious.

  1. Mee=Yum There dumplings are really good too.

  2. Sue

    I love Mee’s. All the noodles (lo mein especially) are really good, and they make incredible dry-sauteed string beans. They’re crunchy and spicy/salty and coated with bits of ground pork. Standard Chinese-restaurant dishes can be hit-or-miss, though.

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