My Thing of the Moment: Dan Dan Noodles at Imperial Wok (No. White Plains)

I don’t try many new places (new for me, anyway) in the 'burbs lately. I cook a lot, fall back on the local usuals when I don’t cook, and typically choose places around the city when I’m feeling more like ‘going out’. But I just tried Imperial Wok on WP Rd, and can tell you that I’ll be back very soon. Like, the next time I go out for Chinese, it will be that place, because I need to know how they cook their other dishes.

The noodles arrived room temp and glistening, topped with hot, salty crumbles of chewy/crispy pork. At first I wondered if the dish might turn out to be dry, but that was not the case: the warm oil pooled at the bottom of the dish was plentiful and perfectly wet, savory and spicy. Scattered spinach leaves and scallion rings rounded out the experience, which was way better than I had anticipated.
Tiny nitpick: I wouldn’t have minded a little more heat. In case you are wondering- no, they do not use actual szechuan peppercorn. But the oil was prepared in a really balanced, nuanced way, with such rich flavor, that it didn’t matter to me. I finally found a good noodle dish in close proximity to my home and work that doesn’t involve peanut butter (not that I don’t LOVE that!).

A note on cleanliness… The restaurant is very large, with several ample dining areas on two floors. This may explain the subtle air of neglect that I sensed on a couple of different fronts. First, I had to ask for a new water glass and duck sauce bowl (they serve pretty yummy fried noodles, which I find really hard to resist). Both were kinda grimy. Second, the upstairs floor (technically ground floor) is heavily windowed, and all of the windows are dirty. Heavily spotted and streaked, which is less than pleasant when you are (almost inevitably) seated at one.
Last- the staff was at a serious minimum for a slow weekday lunch hour. The server assigned to my floor, where about 5 tables were occupied, tended to disappear downstairs for periods of time. I think maybe she was the only server in the whole place. She was courteous enough, but it took me ten minutes to find her and ask for a water refill.
Like I said, what I ate was delicious enough that I plan to go back and explore. The menu seems to offer a variety of Chinese and American Chinese styles, as well as a sushi menu (the sushi bar looks to be located on the entrance level in what I consider to be the nicest dining room).
I am cautiously optimistic about this potential upturn in my local Chinese dining repertoire. I’ll report when I make it back there.

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Vvvindaloo…Unfortunately the kitchen can be inconsistent. I frequently order the Dan Dan noodles, they
range from very good to meh. You can see the difference in the preparation in photos I’ve taken on several occasions…I’ll post them if I can find them. We have never had a problem with service and actually have a regular female server who is really attentive and nice…have never had a weekday lunch there however.

Regarding the cleanliness of the restaurant…I’m not going to go there (okay it has something to do with a mother a baby a dining room and a diaper change) I prefer to sit in the back/side dining room, the one that has the big round tables and booths. On Saturday or Sunday evenings the room is filled primarily with large multi generational Asian families …I like to see what is being ordered.

I doubt either of you ventures toward central Connecticut very often, but if you find yourself up this way, the dan dan noodles at Forbidden City on Main Street in Middletown are a total standout. Order at lunch and get soup to go with.

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Thanks, Chowdom. I guess I should be glad I happened to go on a good day! I will still be returning, however, and would love to know if you have
any other suggestions re: ordering.
And I’m always game to see photos.

Thanks, kattyeyes. Middletown is where Wesleyan is located, right? That’s pretty far for me, but never say never. I have been known to drive to New Haven for pizza and Newtown for ice cream :slight_smile:

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Correct! So, I’m glad I mentioned. I love to quest for food myself. :slight_smile: And if you make it all the way up here, please try the Drunken Concubine if you enjoy a lychee cocktail as much as I do.

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Chowdom - I am so happy to see you here!!!

I like the dumplings in hot oil
cold sesame noodles
lamb … cumin/basil recommended by some folks at another
food site I used to frequent.
singapore curry rice noodles
avoid the salt and pepper squid…the oil is
never hot enough and it
has a funky farmed taste and smell
can squid even be farmed … UGH :wink:

Tend to not get too adventurous because I always
end up there with my partner … he is not a HO but will
eat the dishes listed above.
As for the American style dishes he orders the fried rice
chow fun,ribs are all above average for this area.
ps http://www.pagodany.com/ completely revamped the menu and is a nice alternative

Closer to you is Lao Sze Chuan in Milford, which you may already know about. But if you don’t, get there!
http://www.tonygourmetgroup.com/UpLoadFiles/LaoSzeChuan_menu.pdf

Thank you so much, chowdom. I will use this as a guide next time.
I happened to dine at Wuji in Scarsdale the other night. Have you been? I’ll get a review up as soon as I have a minute.

The chef’s reputation in China and beyond- as evidenced by their website- is intriguing, but that menu is what’s fascinating to me. Not for those looking for beef and broccoli in brown sauce! Unfortunately, Milford is still far enough away that I’d need a secondary justification for the trip if I want anyone to join me :slight_smile:

Whoa, that menu looks worth a trip. Since I’ve got a list of CT on my ‘must try’ list, I’ll be adding them.

No cocktails, though? I love being asked what is in a ‘wodka gimlet’.:grin:

Did Pagoda open up again after the kitchen fire they had around 5-6 months ago? I went to check on it just a week or so ago and it was still closed and it didn’t seem that they were going to reopen.

JMF… just seeing this
As per my sister who was a regular there " they never reopened … I think they’re done"

Drove by Pagoda this morning. New sign does not say Pagoda, see the image I posted. Looked inside. All tables and chairs were in place like it was ready to be opened, but there was a ladder and some plywood sitting there also. Sign in window says closed, but that is the sign that stores use when they close for the day.

That’s exactly what it has been like since they had the kitchen fire and closed. The sign hasn’t said Pagoda since they did the menu renovation several years ago. That’s the sign from then, it’s not new.

Oh! Haven’t been there in a while. The last few times I had their food I had it delivered.

Hi Vvvindaloo …today I ordered Sichuan tofu and pea shoots. The pea shoots were $16.95
and worth every penny, sweet and delicious with the right amount of crunch…
The tofu was very good, although it lacked a bit of the complexity and
the lip numbing bite of Fantasy Cuisines’ version. I also forgot to ask them to turn up
the heat, which I usually do. …I enjoyed it nonetheless. Food nemesis partner ordered pork chow fun…

Yum. Nice pics.

You really take nice food pix!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold