Steam Table Sampler from Village 38 (575 Eighth Avenue, 212-244-7800)
To be fair, not all of these plates totally tanked.
The noodles we selected — which included a curried Singapore mei-fun like dish, a cold sesame concoction, and veggie lo mein — were quite adequate and reached a respectable, throat-lubricating level of flavorful grease.
The chili-pepper flecked chilled tofu tasted damned OK.
And the chicken — which had a sweet, General Tso’s-esque sauce — was chewy, but without being mouth-achingly dry.
That said, the shrimp — perhaps intended to be “sweet and sour” — felt too soggy and briny, giving the curled crustaceans the mouthfeel of over-soft flesh.
So, yes: The steam table at Village 38 isn’t awful, like a lot of the others targeted mainly to non-Chinese diners.
An added bonus?
The upstairs dining area is apparently THE PLACE TO GO for Port Authority Bus Terminal travelers who want a quiet place to illicitly nurse beers.
So, while you nosh on noodles, you can also enjoy a free helping of Old New York-style people watching!
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.