Hey, it's "Two Huts" in three days. I hope everyone had a great V-Day. I thought I'd take a short break and return with yet another "hut". Back in December I noticed that Xi'an Kitchen had closed and for good reason. The shop was being replaced with Noodle Hut. So, let's see; remember Nam An, then Jin's Pot, then Xi'an Kitchen. So that makes 4 restaurants in 6 years? Not a great track record.
I decided to visit when the weather was running on the cold side. The place had just opened their doors and I was curious.
Man, they've gone full bore with the wood paneling thing.
Though the light fixtures and the chairs are the same, the table tops look a bit different. There's now a noodle/dumpling making booth in the back corner, though I never saw anyone amking either on any of my visits.
Being a bit chilly; I decided on the Lamb Hand Ripped Noodles ($8.99).
Like Kirbie, I thought the noodles were quite good, a bit of spring to them, good chew, very nice texture all around. The lamb was decent, on the chewy side, and only fairly gamey. For some reason, I didn't enjoy the cabbage in this soup, which was perfectly scalding hot! The broth also had too much white pepper in it, causing it to be too bitter for me.
This was decent, the portion size generous....at least in terms of noodles and soup. So I returned a few days later with Calvin in tow. I'd first introduced him to Yang Rou Pao Mo at Xi'an Kitchen. Turned out he loved it. So he was eager to try out Noodle Hut.
While looking at the menu; Calvin noted that it really did resemble that of Xi'an Kitchen with a few exceptions.
We started with the Preserved Eggs and Tofu a bargain at $4.99.
While not as good as the version we had at Shan Xi Magic Kitchen, this was still decent. The tofu had been adequately drained, the earth-sulfuric tones of the pidan, matched with the scallions and Peppercorn Oil was vey nice. The tofu added a refreshing layer to the dish. I'd been trying to get the Missus to try this at Shan Xi Magic Kitchen, but She wasn't interested. Last time I went, they didn't have it on the menu. I took the leftovers home and the Missus really enjoyed it........go figure....when will She trust my taste?
Of course we got the Yang Rou Pao Mo ($8.99).
Aside from the waxy, totally wrong bread (hopefully one day they'll get it right here in the states), which I've gotten used to; there were some hard pieces. The broth was too watery and bland. The lamb was nice and tender, but like the broth really lacked the "skatolic" barnyard essense that makes this dish so rich and hearty.
We asked the young lady for a recommendation and she suggested the Spicy Chicken Soup...so to her surprise we ordered the Szechuan "Pork Gut Soup in Casserole" ($10.99)
While there wasn't much intestine in this soup, and what there was didn't seemed to be prepared very well, it sure was spicy....though on the thin side and we both missed the "ma" (numbing) sensation that we enjoy from Sichuan type dishes like this. Again for eleven bucks, the portion size was quite generous.
And so, this would basically be it. Except for all the long days I've been working. At the end of one particularly long day, I told the Missus that I wasn't up to the task of making dinner....so She requested that Pidan and Tofu dish. Take-out on the way home.
The portion size was well worth the $4.99.......until I opened my big fat mouth and said that we could do better just making this ourselves. Sigh. So now it's organic tofu, preserved egg, scallions from the yard, and Sichuan Peppercorn Oil at home.
I also ordered the Cumin Lamb.
Man, this was a good sized portion. Though for my taste, there wasn't enough cumin, nor enough flavor overall. The lamb was thick sliced and rather tough. Thin sliced onion is a nice addition, but the red and green bell peppers seemed like filler. I also missed cilantro in this as well. This was more quantity over quality for me.
Which kind of describes Noodle Hut. I think most folks prefer that. Sorry to say; that's not our preference. Though I'm thinking I need to try the jiaozi here. One of these days.
4690 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111