Open Only a Few Days, Xi'an Famous Foods on St. Marks Is Already Slammed
Xi'an Famous Foods' fourth branch, on St. Marks in the East Village, has been open for business only a few days, but it is already wildly popular. I arrived soon after the narrow storefront opened at 1 p.m. on Sunday, and to my chagrin, there were already customers waiting for their noodles inside. On the positive side of the ledger: Unlike at the branch downtown on Forsyth Street, there are comfortable seats inside, including a pair of two-tops and four additional chairs along a lacquered wood counter.
The same three-person crew that worked at the Forsyth branch is now installed on St. Marks, making me wonder who's working in Chinatown. The menu is identical to the previous establishments, though every time I go, I discover something that went unnoticed before. In this case it was the buckwheat cold noodles (A3, $5). This vegetarian dish features nicely cooked soba, sprouts, fresh green chiles, bright red chile oil, and "a touch of wasabi oil," as the counter guy (who's the son of the owner) told me. The taste was nutty and oily and surprisingly light, the perfect cooling dish for hot summer weather.