You know how chain restaurants are reliable when you're in an unfamiliar area and have no idea what else to eat? That's how I treat Chinese hand pulled noodle shops. I assume each one, although not part of a chain, is a reliable source of large bowls of tasty noodles in tasty soup with tasty meat for $5, give or take 50 cents. While roaming around Sunset Park one night in search of dinner without any idea of what to eat, I knew where I was eating as soon as I spotted the glowing sign of Lan Zhou Handpull Noodle.
The main thing I noticed about Lan Zhou, aside from it being tiny (I'd guess you can fit about ten people in it) was that they had a large selection of condiments—vinegar, fish sauce, various chili sauces, and my favorite: a bucket of chopped cilantro. I may not have used all these condiments, but I like knowing that I could if I wanted to.
My beef stew noodle soup was topped with bok choy, pickled mustard greens, and nubs of beef so tender that I could seemingly break them down to their individual muscle fibers. Most were attached to tendons, in case you like your meat with connective tissue as Asians tend to prefer. The beef broth was flavorful enough—better after I added chili paste.
I liked that the long, thin wheat noodles were just slightly springier than others I've had.
Lan Zhou also makes their own dumplings, which I unfortunately didn't get to try (that's the problem with only having one stomach). Next time, next time.
Lan Zhou Handpull Noodles
5924 8th Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11220 (b/n 59th and 60th; map)