We all agreed that the restaurant being in a basement was not off-putting. This could not be said of the steep and grimy stairs which lead to 18B Doyers, the restaurant portion of Sanur. (Upstairs is their take-out portion where you can get an "economical breakfast" for two dollars or under.)
Still, I would happily take those stairs again for another serving of the ineptly named "fried-cubes," certainly the most cubically shaped noodles I have ever eaten.
Disclaimer: I have never eaten any other dish of fried cubes, so I have nothing to which to compare these "Penang-style fried cubes" ($5.95). But I really enjoyed the rectangular sticks, charred and well browned, yet pudding-like inside. Imagine what would happen if you took turnip cake and tried to make it behave like a noodle. You would get, I daresay, these fried cubes. They were cooked with stir-fried egg and bean sprouts and best of all, diced pickled turnip, a sadly underused savory thing.
Most noodle dishes at Sanur are six dollars or less. I like this. I liked their Singapore mee fun ($5.95), stir-fried with bouncy/snappy shrimp and tender pork. They didn't come cooked with the yellow curry powder typical of these noodles, and replace curry heat with sweeter caramelized flavors.
Less successful were the two other noodles dishes on the table, both of which I would describe as brown and savory. Hokkien Noodle with Brown Sauce ($5.95) came with tender-crisp bok choy and lo-mein noodles in a light gravy sauce. Malaysian rice noodles ($5.95) were nicely charred but a tad too sweet for me.
Besides, why settle for those when you could eat fried cubes?
I can't say I know Sanur all that well, but I have a hunch that this is the sort of place you could go and sit for a long while. That is, if you don't mind the music. (On our visit, a non-stop Madonna marathon. I could not, as it were, get into the groove, though Max and Robyn were considerably more appreciative.)
I could, however, get into our bill at end:
18 Doyers Street, New York, NY 10013 (map)
About the author: Born in Shanghai and raised in New Mexico, Chichi Wang currently resides in Manhattan, where she divides her time between writing, cooking, and tracking down the best noodles in the city. Visit her blog, Mostly Tripe.