White Plains' Noodle+ Dishes Up Reliable, Affordable Asian Comfort Food
Dumplings, soup buns and, of course, noodles make for a family-and budget-friendly option that beats the early spring chills.
245 Main St, White Plains
(914) 948-4950; noodle-plus.com
♦ ♦ ♦
Hours: Mon to Thurs 11:30 am-9 pm, Fri and Sat 11:30 am-10 pm, Sun noon-9 pm
Dumplings: $5.50-$6.95 (for six);
small dishes: $3.95-$6.95; salad: $4.95-$8.95;
stir-fried noodles: $9.95-$12.95; noodle soup: $7.95-$10.95
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ —Outstanding ♦ ♦ ♦ —Very Good
♦ ♦ —Good ♦ —Fair
Some popular restaurants endear themselves with great food, while others are innovative, beautiful, or provide warm service. Noodle+ succeeds by simply having the right idea at the right time. It’s hard to think of a day when inexpensive dumplings and noodles don’t fit in.
The dishes offered in its plastic binder are nothing if not crowd-pleasing. There, you’ll find several types of dumplings, including excellent steamed pork soup buns (6/$5.50) that, when carefully bitten, pour a miraculous gulp of hot broth into your spoon. While soup dumplings are a Shanghainese specialty, Noodle+ is a pan-Asian restaurant—happily, not one with the glitzy cocktails and Americanized sushi that usually mark the genre. On its brief, focused menu, you’ll find Asia-spanning starters like moist Thai chicken saté ($5.95), refreshing Vietnamese summer rolls ($6.50), and petite, finger-sized Chinese spring rolls (5/$4.95).
The prices at Noodle+ are forgiving, and so is the tone of its brisk but welcoming dining room. During the daylight hours, you’ll find lone diners escaping local offices for bargain lunch breaks. (Look for excellent, $7.95-$8.95 lunch deals.) As the day wears on, you’ll see couples, students, ladies who dine, and families. Noodle+ is a boon for parents, who may feel forced to choose from the nutritionally toxic, but family-friendly, chain restaurants of downtown White Plains. Bare tables, quick pacing, and a disguising hubbub make this an ideal choice for families with young kids. The colorful dining room’s mural of kids slurping noodles offers permission for a bit of splash; it helps that Noodle + offers a democratic menu that both parents and kids find hard to hate.
The big story here is noodles, and you’ll find a wide spectrum of them on offer. We especially love the roomy bowls of gingery, scallion-studded chicken broth that arrive heaped with skinny noodles and a variety of additions. In all, the noodles are inexpressibly pleasurable to tweeze out in their steamy tangles and slurp up. The version with roast duck was our favorite and offers a generous garnish of crispy-skinned, star-anise-scented duck over that broth and bouncy noodles. This basic idea is echoed in other soups—one that contains shrimp wontons, one with barbecue pork, one with duck and shrimp—you get the idea. There is even a child-sized take on this soup—with shrimp and pork wontons, served with vegetables, roasted garlic, and scallion in the chicken noodle broth. At just $5.95, it feels like a treasure compared to the Frialator fodder stocking the average kids’ menu.
On warmer days when brothy noodles don’t appeal, Noodle+ also offers delicious salads. Don’t miss the crisp-skinned duck from the noodle soup, this time spun with a generous pile up of lime-dressed pineapple, tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, and scallion ($8.95). There is also a spicy beef version ($7.95) that offers, instead of pineapple, some chili slices and cilantro.
You can certainly find more delicious beef drunken noodles, shrimp pad Thai, and, now (with Saigonese open in Hartsdale), pho in the County, but we appreciate that we can find perfectly serviceable takes on all of these dishes under one roof at Noodle+. While the pho ($8.95) at Noodle+ may be slightly wan and lack some beefy depth and brightness from chilies and lime, it’s still wonderful to sit down to after the run from the City Center garage, the nearest lot to Noodle+. This restaurant has other challenges; it’s small and there’s nowhere to wait (though most diners don’t linger through dessert). Also, diners must request a key and exit the restaurant to use a bathroom located in the lobby of the office building that surrounds the restaurant.
To drink, there is Thai beer, Thai iced tea, Thai iced coffee, and that cheerful Taiwanese import, bubble tea, which is offered in all of its dizzying colors, opacities, flavors, and additives. To end a visit to Noodle+, weather permitting, we walk out with our jasmine milk bubble tea and spend a few moments in the spray of the City Center-facing fountain on the Renaissance Plaza, happily sucking up boba through outsized straws.