Last month, Peter Chang opened his third venture in Richmond, and let me tell you it is a gem. Unlike Peter Chang’s other restaurants you won’t find hot and numbing beef or dry fried eggplant. This fast casual spot serves up you guessed it, noodles and dumplings, in addition to a few other dishes like baos, grandmother pancakes and hibachi. This is Chinese comfort food.
Meg and I literally dined with Peter Chang earlier this year, and I’ve been patiently waiting for Noodles and Dumplings to open since the plans were announced back in April. There are a few of noticeable differences between this restaurant and the original location a couple doors down and the Scott’s Addition location, which opened earlier this year.
- There are no waiters or waitresses and you order using large tablets located at the front of the space. Large TVs broadcast the long list of available options. I highly recommend creating a game plan before you head to Noodles and Dumpling so that you don’t break under pressure.
- You won’t find any sizzling dishes with steam that burns your eyes, but don’t worry, the signature Sichuan heat can still be found in many of the noodle dishes.
- Choosing just a couple of noodle dishes is hard, deciding on sauce options might be even harder. After you order head over to the sauce area and pick your poison. You’ll find hot chili oil, soy sauce and a variety of other sauces at your disposal. This is what dreams are made of people.
Thankfully, I was able to convince a few coworkers to join me for lunch on the week of the opening and they were even nice enough to agree to have a family style meal (thanks, Paulyn and Tony). I definitely suggest convincing a few friends to join you on this food adventure, because you’ll want to try it all. We settled on a few noodle and dumpling options and started a collection of sauces on our table, my person favorite was the odd taste sauce, which should maybe be renamed to the good taste sauce. I’m also a big proponent of dipping dumplings in black vinegar, which can also be found in the sauce area at Noodles and Dumplings. I first tried black vinegar with my first plate of dumplings in Shanghai a few years ago, and it converted this soy sauce lover into a vinegar lover.
The pork dumplings here are magical. I haven’t had a good dumpling since my trip to China (admittedly I’ve been avoiding them, knowing it would be hard to find something similar here in Richmond) and these just blew my mind. I’m sure that there are some foods that evoke strong memories for you anytime you eat them and dumplings do that for me. These reminded me so much of visiting my maternal grandparents and my grandmother who made the most delicious dumplings for me every time I came to visit.
In addition to our dumplings, we also ordered a variety of noodle dishes. The Sichuan Dan Dan Noodle with Sichuan bean sprouts, diced tofu and scallion was HOT. Peter Chang definitely brings the heat with this dish and the savory tofu in the dish was surprisingly meaty providing a ton of flavor. The other spicy noodle dish we ordered was the Grandmother’s Noodle with ground garlic, scallion, cilantro. This dish reminded me of Thai cuisine because of the cilantro and the heat in this dish was a little drier than in the Dan Dan. The table was split on our favorite spicy noodle dish, with my personal favorite being the Dan Dan noodles. If you love spicy food, the addictive nature of the Sichuan heat in these dishes will have you coming back for more.
Our final dish was one of the hand pulled noodle options — the braised beef noodle with baby bok choy. The braised beef was so tender it was falling apart in the soup. The noodles were chewy and al dente which is what most people look for in a good hand pulled noodle. Though this dish lacked Chang’s signature spice, it was a great way to balance out the entire meal.
Noodle and Dumpling is located in the Short Pump Village Shopping Center (11408 W.Broad St.) and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Dishes range in price from $3-15 and many of the small noodle dishes are priced at just $4. And again, my best advice is to grab a few friends and share a few plates so that you get the most out of the experience without breaking the bank.
Have you tried something at Noodle and Dumpling that you really loved? Let me know in the comments below.