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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Wed–Mon 11:00am–9:00pm

Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

Northwest Hills
8650 Spicewood Springs
Austin, TX
(512) 336-8888
Chen’s Noodle House
Handcut noodles, gigantic soup bowls, and a grilled lamb snack—hello, Heaven

This Northern Chinese noodleteria is tiny, fitting less than a dozen tables, a soda fridge, and a folding table with some condiments, water and tea, and Styrofoam cups. A new overhead menu of glossy photos helps the ordering process for English speakers.

The mostly Chinese patrons start with a scallion or Chinese leek pie, both of which are flaky, thin, and have a complement of grease that greatly benefits from a dash of vinegar and chili oil. The leek pie has a more subtle and funky flavor than the scallion.

You can watch through the open kitchen window as they cut your noodles precisely from a square of dough. In lamb soup, light broth and chewy bits of lamb get caught up with onions, tomato, and cilantro in the wide waves of the noodle, which is thick and chewy in the center (one bowl easily feeds two, given all the starch). If you’re looking for strong flavor, you’ll want to bring a saltshaker. The combination soup’s broth is thicker and strongly soy-flavored. Wontons are sublime, packed with garlicky pork and in a silky, delicately flavored broth that would cure any illness. Lamb skewers, seasoned with salt, chili flakes, and cumin, are gently charred over super hot coals. It’s got to be one of the best meat dishes in town, and for well under ten bucks.

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