I was blissfully unaware of this place opening almost two weeks ago until Tablehopper’s eagle eye spotted a solitary Yelp review (which hasn’t even made it into Yelp’s new business listings section). I went to check it out at lunch today.
It’s called Jia You Hao Mian (roughly “Good home-style noodles”) in large Chinese characters on the sign and “Hu Wei Chuan Mian Guan” (Traditional Shanghai Flavor Noodle Shop) in smaller characters above. That, and the noodle repertoire presented on the menu, made it obvious that it’s my kind of heaven, but since it’s thoroughly Shanghainese I felt duty bound to first vet the xiao long bao and the xian dou jiang (another Shanghai favorite). I’ll get to the noodles very soon (and maybe very often).
Gourmet Noodle House was nearly full shortly after 1:00 when I arrived with mostly Chinese diners, some speaking Shanghainese, so word of mouth seems to be working for it. I wasn’t able to get much info from the sole harried (Shanghainese) server beyond confirming that the xao long bao, like all the noodles served, are made in house.
The xiao longbao tended more toward the Nanxiang/Shanghai style than the Nanjing tang bao style, with thicker wrappers, less “soup” and more meat. If I had a major criticism, it would be that the meat balls inside the dumplings were too firm and chewy; the XLB also seemed under-flavored, but my head cold may have been partly responsible for that. It been a while since I’ve surveyed the state of xiao long bao in SF, but I doubt that these would be at the top of the list.
The xian doujiang, deceptively listed as “Fresh soy milk (salted)” on the “Drinks” menu, was a valiant effort but didn’t nearly approach the excellent version at Shanghai House (which is only available on weekends). It lacked brine shrimp, and it, too, seemed a little timid in flavor (perhaps needing some MSG). A few drops of chili sauce (from a Crystal Hot Sauce bottle!)
As my wife told me pointedly when she was helping me with the sign translation, I probably shouldn’t be ordering something other than noodles there in the first place, so I’ll withhold judgement until I’ve done my due diligence in that area. There’s a bowl of yellowfish noodle soup with my name on it there, methinks.
It’s at 3751 Geary Blvd. on the corner of 2nd Ave.