Braised Beef Noodle Soup is a Winner at Radiance Noodle Bar
Sometimes a great lunch spot is right under your nose and you don’t even know it. Take Radiance Noodle Bar, for instance. Buried in the basement of 805 3rd Ave. (btw 49th+50th), it’s only a few blocks from my office, but I only found out about it when Luncher Joer recommended I check it out. And I’m glad I did.
Radiance Noodle Bar, the take-out stand of the moderately priced restaurant upstairs, offers a small Cantonese menu of noodles, steamed buns, and rice dishes, all of which priced at or under $10. Joer mentioned the hoisin pork cold noodle dish as his favorite, and I wanted to try out the chicken, pork belly, and beef steamed buns, but I went on a particularly cold day, so in the end I couldn’t resist the braised beef noodle soup.
It didn’t disappoint. The broth was rich, thanks to a ladle of braising liquid that gets thrown in to each order, and flavored with some fresh cilantro. It packed big flavor.
The beef itself is seriously tender, like braised short ribs, and has a healthy amount of unctuous fat running through it. Each order comes with about four pieces, but I could’ve eaten twice that amount, it was so good.
The soup also comes with a few pieces of baby bok choy. It’s a nice addition (and a vegetable I happen to enjoy), but it’s certainly not the star of the show. Ditto the half hard-boiled egg. Stained brown from the broth, it’s fine, but doesn’t offer the rich, gooey yolk that a soft-boiled or poached egg would have.
The one real fault of the soup was the noodles themselves. They weren’t really overcooked (even though they don’t come packed separately), but they don’t have the toothsome chew that comes with most Asian-style noodles. In fact, I could swear that I was eating linguine. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what they used. They still taste fine, but they just don’t rise to the level of the noodles at Nikai, for example. I don’t think I’m wrong to expect more from a noodle bar.
The braised beef noodle soup costs $8.95 for about a quart, not exactly cheap for noodle soup. But you get a lot of noodles and a big portion of really good braised beef. It’s especially good on a cold day. If the steamed buns and cold noodles are on the same level, Radiance Noodle Bar should be a go-to spot.
Radiance Noodle Bar, 805 3rd Ave., btw 49th+50th St. (on the lower level)