Within minutes of this new LES noodle house's soft opening, foodies' ears were to the ground and everyone weighed in with an opinion. Some were good, some were not as good, some were split. Now I weigh in.
The atmosphere is warm and nice despite the fact that we walked in and said to each other “Hmm, I didn't know they had stools”. We are not stool people. They are uncomfortable and make me feel like an infant due to my small stature. But we got over it quickly thanks to the amazingly helpful and courteous service. For a restaurant in NYC, especially one with this much hype, to not only seat you before your party has arrived, but rearrange other guests to accommodate a larger party is phenomenal (although the dudes that had to move one seat down seemed less impressed).
The cocktail list looks impressive, the wasabi Bloody Mary sounded like it would taste more exotic than it did, but it was still satisfactory. To start, we shared a shrimp crepe with coconut and dipping sauce and gobbled it as civilly as we could without making sure not a bean sprout or crumb was wasted. I also struck gold with the Filet Mignon Katiev, a rich spicy soup with extremely tender meat and other goodies. Dana also loved her Kampuchea sandwich that resembled a bahn mi in taste and appearance. At least I assume she loved it because her plate was clean by the time I took a second glance.
Not everything was coming up roses, however. Laura ordered the chicken version of the Katiev and found it to be a bit too oily and Jim, who ordered the meatball sandwich got the pork and left a third of it untouched. It wasn't awful, he said, just not great. So it would seem the trick is ordering the right thing, but if you do, the price is right, the service is friendly and this could just be another staple among LES restaurant options.