Gene's Flatbread/DTX

Thanks. Your links didn’t work for me. Was #8 on the menu then and how did it differ from #6? For the other items available then did the numbering match the one I gave above?

(Not vastly important, but I’m not called consistencydabbler for nothing.)

I have a picture from Chelmsford with #6 Xi’an Chilled Noodles. There is also a #8 Xi’an cold noodles that have a lot of stuff on the plate.


That’s great. Thanks.

#6 noodles were incredibly thin, and very silky. Gene once told me they are a lot of time-consuming work. Something about soaking the flour for a couple of days so the starch separates from the something else, which then involves careful draining. I only had the #6 once. I remember the texture, but not what other vegetables it had - maybe bean sprouts. Colorless vinegar dressed the dish. My memory is of mild vinegar, silkiness, and it being a dish that’s VERY white.


That sounds like liang pi? Also called cold skin noodles.


Yes, lots of work.


I’ll try that link again. It’s many years old, but the menu shows pics of both #6 and #8. You can tell the prices are lower than now.

Thanks. These historical excursions are fascinating – at least to me.


  1. I’m not sure when your picture dates from, but I’m sure it’s well pre-pandemic. A quick price comparison suggests that their prices have gone up by around 20% (or about $2 for most of the big dishes). That’s pretty low.
  2. The dishes look spicier than the ones I’ve had at DTX recently. Also, there’s less cilantro now than in the past. But, everything is still fantastic.

Gene’s is one of the culinary treasures of the GBA. Not only can very few places in the general area match them for tastebud-bang for buck, very few places can match them for tastebud-bang, period


That would seem to be the case, except that the account here

suggests some sort of hybrid.

For those who are interested in the mysteries of #6 and liang pi, here (as always from this source) is an excellent account:

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We have tried Gene’s just a few times but found the different noodle dishes better at Hometaste in Watertown

My picture was from '12.

And Gene is such a nice person, to boot!


That makes the small price increase even more remarkable.

Yes, Hometaste is also very good. I haven’t had their food in 4 years, though.

I think #6 was in fact liang pi. I think I was able to try them once. I’m not sure it was worth waking up so early on a weekend.


I took a break from congee on the train this past Monday, and returned to my roots: Gene’s #4 with 3 lamb skewers. For the first time I ordered ahead of time on line while waiting for the redline at Harvard Square. That was a mistake. I got a text before we got to Central that the food was ready. By the time I got to DTX (the redline moves at its own stately pace, with unexplained stops here and there between stations – how the hell can a decent city have such wretched public transportation?), picked up the noodles, and started eating them they had congealed into a solid mass that I had to separate with my fingers. I can see why places such as Xi’an Famous in NYC initially refused to let you take their noodles out.

When all separation and mixing (crucial) was done, the noodles were as satisfying as always: the heat, the vinegary zing. Very low cilantro coefficient, though. Online ordering offers the options of “less cilantro” and “no cilantro”. What I need is “more cilantro” and “most cilantro”. There’s also the odd option online of picking a spice level – a practice I abhor because it means the spicing is not integral to the dish but a sprinkled-on-later afterthought. I chose “most spicy” and my fears were realized – the dish was covered with a sprinkling of the cumin-pepper blend that they use on their lamb skewers. I also ordered a side container of chili sauce – another option that only seems to appear online. It’s clearly not a popular option because my small plastic container had been sitting for a while, with solid sludge at the bottom and oil on top. It took a lot of strenuous stirring to remix. The result was a little sweet but very tasty – a much better option for "more spicy’ than the official choice.

The portion size was smaller than in the past, but the price ($8.95) is still a steal.

Saving the best for last, the lamb skewers were at the peak of their game – just correctly gamy, fatty in all the right proportions, and just fantastic. When you can eat food this good at this price point (a whopping $1.95/skewer) you find yourself wondering why you eat anywhere else.


I’ve experienced this at Gene’s DTX taking it back to my office ~10 minute walk and from Home Taste Arlington ~5 minute walk from home. It is very sad to have congealed noodles but I dealt with it just as you did.

But even sadder is the dire situation on the T. What’s the equivalent term to road rage? I don’t go into an office anymore, but when I was going back-and-forth into Cambridge, that delay going into Alewife would put me into a tizzy. We recently took the T from Symphony Hall to the redline and, had it not been raining, we would have hoofed it in shorter time. After our trips to Copenhagen, B and I often bemoan the lack of modern public transportation here. We are big supporters of public transportation so we want this to work.


Oh, fellow red line / T riders, don’t even get me started on the T. I’m trying to be patient, but there’s something almost every week that enrages me during the commute. I actually really like being in the office, but the T makes me glad it’s only 3 days a week.

I haven’t hit Genes in a while and thought they had closed that outpost over the pandemic. Thanks for letting me know it’s still there! I had that also happen once in my commute home with noodles when the Red Line has seen better days, and I learned better to eat in for those noodles. I’d go for a “filler up on the cilantro” option too.


I can’t imagine being disappointed by a chili-cumin mixture.

And that hot condiment, which Gene told me was the sediment from making chili oil, is extraordinarily delicious. I once got the basic noodles without them raw garlic and used a bunch of that instead. I have no idea why that’s not a regular menu item.


Let’s enlarge that imagination, shall we? If the same blend is sprinkled on everything, I suggest that it’s possible to imagine disappointment.

There’s a larger point I was trying to make – spicing as integral to a dish vs spicing as afterthought. On the lamb skewers the blend is sprinkled on before they are grilled and it blends harmoniously with the overall taste, especially sizzling as it does with the hot fat from the lamb. (An interesting twist on sizzling spices in oil.)

On the noodles all it offered was a gritty, uncooked texture and taste.

I agree on the deliciousness, and I agree it ought to be offered more prominently. In the immortal words of @tomatotomato above, the force of garlic in #4 is strong – and even for me, acclaimed vampire-fighter although I am, sometimes a bit too strong. That chili paste would offer welcome moderation.