Eastern Noodles, by many accounts one of the best hand-pull noodle spots in Manhattan, has been replaced by Kuai An Hand Pull Noodles Restaurant. According to a Chinese-speaking friend, the name means “Fast and Relaxed,” which is just about right. The menu remains similar–focusing on Lanzhou hand-pulled noodle soups, but differs a bit in scope. The previous owner and chef, Mr. Gao, reportedly sold the place, so Kuai An is essentially a new restaurant, under different management.
But all is not lost–most importantly, the noodles are still hand-pulled in house. And check out that house special noodle soup above, chock-a-block with good things.
The house special ($6.25) is a gigantic bowl of noodles swimming with seaweed, tripe, fried egg, braised beef, roast pork, spinach, and scallions. The combination of textures makes each bite an adventure in chew, spring, gush, crunch, and slip. Add a bit of the roasted chile oil that sits on each table, and send the soup into the stratosphere. The only downer is the beef broth–it’s a shade thin and salty, lacking long-simmered richness.
Then there is this appetizer bowl of Fujianese-style wonton soup ($2). The dumpling wrappers are the most delicate imaginable–soft and fluttery, slipping into your mouth like they’re barely there, with a scant half-teaspoonful of salty pork mix tucked into one side. They float in a mild chicken broth that’s better quality than the beef stock in the house special. It’s a soup that will cure what ails you.
28 Forsyth Street