The Vegetarian Option: M Noodle Shop
Situated right next to the Metropolitan Avenue subway stop and open until an incredible 6:00am almost every night, M Noodle Shop is perfectly poised to take advantage of the late-drinking Williamsburg crowd. Late-night eateries usually don't take too much care with their food, and often aren't vegetarian friendly. M Noodle Shop defies both of those generalizations, with nicely prepared food and lots of vegetarian options.
I was originally drawn to M Noodle Shop by one item on the menu: Vegetable Dumpling Soup ($6). You see, my mind stubbornly insisted on reading it as Vegetable Soup Dumplings—a dish I have been trying in vain to find for years. Once at the restaurant I realized my mistake, but resolved to order the dish anyway.
I asked if the broth was vegetarian, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was. The scallion and seaweed-flecked broth was light, not greasy at all, and lightly seasoned. The dumplings themselves were also great—plump, with thin skin that gave way to a shredded veggies, mushrooms, and tofu. It was the perfect dish for a cold winter day, if not ideal for a night of drunken revelry.
That honor goes to the Den-den Mein ($7), which can be made vegetarian upon request. The silky noodles gave way after a single chew, making me think they were over-cooked, but when they were eaten together with the cubes of chewy pressed tofu and chunks of crunchy cucumber, it all added up to a great mix of textures. "That's a very spicy dish," my server warned me when I ordered it, and she wasn't kidding. It wasn't so spicy it was distracting, but spicy enough to force me to take constant sips of water. Best of all, as I slurped the noodles the bright red chili sauce went splattering everywhere; that's the kind of experience I'd want if I went for spicy noodles at four in the morning. Which, thanks to M Noodle Shop, I can do.
M Noodle Shop
About the author: Howard Walfish is a Virginia native who has been living in New York since 2003. He is, in fact, a vegetarian, and is the co-founder of Brooklyn-based Eat to Blog.