Xi’an Famous Foods has been drawing crowds to Queens and Manhattan for the past seven years, and with the opening of its newest location on 86 Beadel Street between Morgan and Vandervoort, the signature ‘tingly and spicy’ lamb burgers, slurp-able cold skin noodles and spicy cumin lamb burgers are now ready for you to bite into in Brooklyn. Stake out a stool, hunker over your steaming burger/buckwheat noodles/bowl of soup, and don’t look up from the meal until you feel tears streaming from a mercilessly tasty mélange of spices.
Occupying an abandoned warehouse, the self-identified Greenpoint/East Williamsburg spot is the brand’s fourth location, opened on February 9. Created as a commissary cum eatery, the newest Xi’an Famous Foods serves as the production station for food served in all four of the brand’s locations, as well as a storefront for locals to dig into the Northern Chinese cuisine. Feeling a bit heavy from Hungarian pie and other popular Polish indulgences? Detour off of Nassau, pass the residential row of Morgan, and turn right on the desolate Beadel Street. If you can’t smell the chili oil cooking, you’ll soon see the snaking long line.
Owned and operated by Jason Wang, with creative and culinary direction from his father and Xian transplant David Shi, commonly known as Shi Liang Pi (a nod to those crazy tasty noodles), Xi’an Famous Foods began its ascent to cult status in 2006, operating out of a Flushing mall food court stall. Named for the cuisine of western Chinese region Xian, also known as the birthplace of the Silk Road, expect a menu representative of the multi-ethnic region, with both Middle Eastern and Chinese influences in play. For anyone with soy sauce packet poised in anticipation of beef and broccoli with white rice, scan the area for a neon sign boasting a variation of “Great Wall” or “No. 1” and head in that direction.
In 2009, the father-son duo went mainstream and arrived to the masses, with lamb offal soup and springy Chinese flatbread for dipping in tow, and opened up in the East Village at 88 East Broadway. Wang credits the Chinese chain’s success to its spice mixes and signature sauces, but that is only scratching the surface of the wildly popular eatery. Tapping into an oft-underrepresented genre in Manhattan and now Brooklyn, Western Chinese cuisine, rare is it to find a deliciously moist stewed pork burger and chewy liang pi outside of Flushing. Prices also max out at just under $10, a steal for any meal in the five boroughs.
Xi’an Famous Foods delivers in authenticity and eschews any frivolities . Functioning as almost a self-serve, approach the friendly counter person and start your meal off with the chang-an Spicy Tofu ($2). When you’ve begun to salivate and can feel the heat start to radiate off of your forehead, push onward to the main course. For vegetarians, brave the spicy hot oil seared hand-ripped noodles ($6) or play it safe(r) with the Mount Qi vegetables hand-ripped noodles in soup. All dishes can be adjusted to your spice level, but proceed with caution! Meat eaters can enjoy anything from lamb offal soup to the wildly popular burgers, and with such affordable pricing, double dip with the spicy cumin lamb burger ($3), followed by the spicy & tingly beef hand-ripped noodles ($6). Feeling full yet?
Totaling four locations spawned from the original Flushing locale, as well as just under a year old Biang!, Wang’s fifth innovation and recently-opened dine-in restaurant, it would make sense for Wang to slow his roll and watch his empire grow. But Wang has no plans to pause the rapid growth, and is already investigating new locations in Boston, San Francisco and more. Xi’an Famous Foods has enjoyed widespread acclaim, with rave reviews in the New York Times, and counts culinary aficionados and famous food personalities Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern as rabid fans. Get in line for a taste of Xi’an, and join the cult of Famous Foods fanatics.
Xi’an Famous Foods is located at 86 Beadel Street, between Morgan Avenue and Vandervoort. Open daily from 12 pm to 8 pm.
Dani Frank of My Social List