Life is a Wiggle: Your First Look at Asian Fusion Garden Thai & Noodle Bar
This weekend Asian Fusion Garden Thai & Noodle Bar opened in Washington Square with a Chinese and Thai menu. I tried out some appetizers and a whole bunch of noodles, and have some recommendations if you are planning on getting over there. Plus, a happy discovery- soup dumplings!
The very first item on the menu is listed as “homemade pork buns.” I had a hunch this might mean soup dumplings and a quick search of the Chinese symbols listed next to the English description confirmed my hopes. An order is $6 and comes with 6. On a scale to the soupy-est dumplings I have had to least soupy, these fall in the middle. The skin was on the thicker side, so they are less delicate but there was no breakage. The pork inside was notably good, better than others.
Also worth noting, there were no tongs and no standard Chinese soup spoons, just your regular tablespoon. For that matter, there were no chopsticks. Maybe this will change soon.
And, while on the subject of opening week snafus, the service was a little all over the place. The servers, while actually very nice, were a little difficult to communicate with. It also took a while for water to be served, so much so that a friend had to go next door to purchase a bottle of water.
I don’t buy the whole idea that you should wait until a restaurant has been open to judge it. If you are ready to open, be ready. However, I think its fair to be understanding and assume that the harmless kinks will get worked out.
Our waitress recommended the homemade steamed pork and chive dumplings ($5.50). Good, but if a choice needed to be made between these and the buns- choose the buns
3 kinds of cold mixed vegetable was a simple dish of carrots, daikon,and one other vegetable. They were not as tangy as they could have been, but it brought some coolness and acidity between courses.
We sampled an array of skewers from the BBQ section of the menu. Skewers are $2.50 each or $7 for 4. The squid legs were the winners here. The beef did not impress. And while the shrimp skewer was flavorful, the portion was puny.
From the Thai side we ordered the whole grilled squid $9 as another appetizer. Look out for the super spicy sauce. The squid could have used more cook time and more char. Stick with the squid leg skewer.
On to the noodles. We began with the beef brisket soup. A bowl is $8 which is over $2 more than a the equivalent at Nan Zhou. Beef was tender, could have used salt or acid. Similarly, the broth was lacking in flavor. But the noodles were springy and the best part of the bowl. Noodle Bar might want to consider stocking each table with sauces and vinegar’s.
Hot soup is not ideal when its in the 90s; this is made worse by the fact that the air conditioning is weak at Noodle Bar. It was only logically to try more of the noodles we loved, but without the broth.
Here is an action shot of the noodle pulling, visible from all the seats in the house.
Sauteed hand drawn noodle with clam ($8) is probably the best lunch choice out of what we had. Chewy noodles and fresh tasting clams. I do wish the portion was bigger.
The mixed seafood version was not as good, the squid were rubbery.
Listed as an appetizer, the cold hand drawn noodle could also make a good lunch. The noodles are covered in chopped pickled mustard greens.
I also checked out some over $10 menu items from the Thai side, the green curry was pleasantly intense though the beef in it was lackluster. A plate of salt and pepper shrimp was both greasy and not fried enough, I didn’t even know that was possible.
Noodle bar has some hits and misses, but there is a good meal to be had here. Let me know what you liked when you go!
If you are looking for the full menu, you can find it here.
Oh- they also have some weird ass fortune cookies. Mine was really depressing, but my friend got the best one I have EVER seen, especially for a noodle eating day.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Great handpulled noodles
- You can order Chinese or Thai
- Clean and located in Wash Sq for people scared of Chinatown
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Service a little spotty (but they are in their first week of business)
- Pricier than the equivalent dishes in Chinatown
Asian Fusion Garden Thai & Noodle Bar, 243 S 10th St, 215 413 9100