Beijing Noodle No. 9
Caesars Palace (last visit: September 2012).
The restaurant bills itself as "the kind of casual noodle shop you'd expect to find on the bustling streets of Shanghai, Hong Kong or Beijing." Several reviewers have agreed. Sounds interesting, right?
The menu is extensive. It contains many standards, but also many less familiar items. I've read reviews which describe the food as Chinese food for Chinese people. Thus, alongside the predictable General Tso's chicken are pork belly, home made noodles, soup dumplings and sea cucumber.
Very white: bright white floor, bright white ceiling, bright white walls (with some silver); white tables and chairs. In addition to the main dining area, there's a small food bar. Service is friendly but otherwise unmemorable.
The first time I went, I ordered one of the house specialties: Handmade Noodles with Sliced Pork and Mushroom. It consisted of a medium size portion of thick white wheat noodles - very good for their type. A tiny amount of beef and mushrooms were in the mix, more of a flavoring agent than anything else. Overall, the dish was OK but not special, and expensive for what it was. Vietnamese coffee was pretty typical, but a bit stronger and darker than usual, and not as sweet. Like the noodles, it was good enough but pretty standard - and expensive for what it was.
My second meal was much better: Xiao Long Bao (pork soup dumplings). Soup dumplings are not served in soup; the soup is inside the dumplings. This makes for some tricky eating, as the goal is to get the soup into one's mouth without getting second degree burns as the hot liquid spurts all over the place. See YouTube for the proper technique. In any case, the six dumplings (enough for a big appetizer, or a light lunch) were delicious. Six dumplings, each in a tiny pie tin to hold any escaping liquid, were served in a steamer. They were obviously hot and fresh.
My first meal was unexceptional, but the second time around I had much better luck. This is on my try-again list.
My first meal was $23 plus tip; the second was $12.
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