In Gotham’s Golden Age of regional Chinese food there are several spots where one can get Henanese lamb noodle soup, including Manhattan’s Chinatown, Flushing, and Elmhurst. (For all I know it’s probably available in Brooklyn’s Chinatown too.) One of my favorites bowls can be found at Uncle Zhou Restaurant. The affable proprietor—your uncle and mine—Steven Zhou is always quick to proudly say, “Different than Flushing, right?”
One difference is the rich lambiness of the soup itself. The milky white broth is essentially a lamb stock made from bones that have been boiled for a long,long time. (If memory serves, and it often doesn’t, Uncle Zhou said it’s two days with fresh bones each day.) The hand-pulled noodle version ($5.75) also has strips of seaweed, and tofu skin that act as noodles. Lately I have been getting the more restrained knife shaved noodle version. Strips of dough are whittled from a huge block into the boiling water. The result is a pleasantly chewy noodle with prominent ridge running down the center. There is little more to this soup than chunks of lamb both fatty and lean, cilantro, and bok choy. And plenty of those chewy noodles. With a dollop of hot sauce and a splash of black vinegar it’s like Henanese hot and sour soup.
A visit to the restaurant’s web site revealed this gem of restaurant marketing prose: “Our menu is available for your salivating needs here.” Words to live by.
Uncle Zhou Restaurant, 83-29 Broadway Elmhurst , 718-393-0888