Xi’an Famous Foods; A name of legend in NYC captivating the hearts, minds and mouths of many since it opened 11 years ago. Eponymous of the Xi’an (pronounced Shee Aan) province in North West China Xi’an Famous Foods has sought to give you a taste of the fabulous street foods from this part of China which cultivates some uncommon flavors not found in your local varieties of the overdone Americanized Chinese food “bodegas”.
I have to admit that I have been remiss in visiting Xi’an’s for some time. Not solely of neglect but it’s always soo damn crowded. 90% of the time I am near the one on St. Marks after another meal or a stumble stooper through the LES. With lines pooling out of the door in both cases I have not been enthused. Today I finally had the opportunity to get some Xi’an’s before indulging in ramen @ Ramen Lab and was all about it!
I stepped into the new mini location on Kenmare St. round 4pm to find two customers heads down in their bowls of goodness. I see noodles on the menu but of course I can’t do that. I start sizing up their very visual menu eyeballing the much lauded Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger. The dude behind the counter noticed my longing looks at the menu and offered quick assistance to the noob that I appeared to be. I later learned his name is Collin and his Luke Duke counterpart serving up deliciousness is Dan.
I told him my plan to go get some ramen next door and let him know I wanted something small so I hinted at the lamb burger which had me at first sight. Collin was quick to down play the lamb burger in humility when he learned I was going to their neighbor for tha gusto but I proceeded to order it with vigor. To accompany tha $4.00 burger, I picked up a chrysanthemum tea which whispered “spring” to me when I got close to it. Minutes later this magical moniker imprinted baggie was handed to me on a plate with love.
I peeled the hot contained vittle out immediately seeing and smelling this lamb succulently sauced in cumin. The bun containing the lamb is a vision and looks like a perfect crisp large English muffin. After a day of interviews roaming the city on empty this first bite was necessary in my life. That bite was everything! The “lambyness” I needed was there to sate my desire for the animal of ode. It was the perfect blend of spice and cumin combined with the sweetness of the “bun” which aped the texture of a flatbread or pita. That sweetness complimented the spice, onion, peppers and cumin through and through.
I also topped it with some of their mildly spicy chili oil which you can find near the register. Each drop packed a punch but not mouth burningly so. The perfect complement to an already spicy heap of delicious meat. Needless to say this mouthgasm won’t soon be forgotten. It’s kinda like your first time but with a different chick. Delicious, somewhat familiar, yet special in her own way.
Dan, you did your thing back there! The Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger added perfectly to my flavor filled endcap with Chef John Ng @ Ramen Lab which I will get to in the next episode. For now I will say you have to have this burger on your resume of devoured vittles. It’s the perfect little snack to round you off before or after a lite meal. Super flavorful and highly recommended for every foodie in NYC.
It’s the day after and I am having drool inducing flashbacks. Needless to say I will be back very soon. .. Maybe tonight…