This is part one in a series revealing America’s best Chinese restaurants. Stay tuned for the complete ranking.
With eight no-frills locations in New York, including outposts in Flushing, Chinatown, Greenpoint, Midtown Manhattan, and the East Village, Xi’an is one of the only places in the country to get your fix of the traditional foods of the western Chinese city of the same name.
You’ll be glad you did: Go for any of the hand-pulled noodle dishes, like the spicy and tingly beef, or try the spicy cumin lamb or stewed pork “burgers,” which are more like chopped spiced meat buns. Other intensely flavorful options include a soup with diced pork belly and hand-ripped noodles in a sour and spicy broth; lamb face salad with lamb face meat and tendons, cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro with a spicy dressing; homemade soft tofu in a spicy sauce; and lamb offal soup (with liver, stomach, and heart). If you’re feeling adventurous, Xi’an is definitely for you.
The flavors you’ll try will be unlike any you’ve ever had. We suggest you heed their warning and don’t take your order to go; those fresh noodles demand to be eaten immediately, before they begin to stick together.