Address: 224 Maple Ave. W, Vienna, VA 22180
Back in 2005, my family took a 3-week trip to tour around China. During our stop in Xian, outside of the Terracotta Army Museum, we had lunch at a noodle shop that specialized in hand-pulled noodles. It was amazing to watch the chef make the noodles from scratch right in front of you. It’s rather hard to describe how it’s done, so check out this video instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOz5UZ4NutU. You really can’t beat the freshness of noodles made no more than 5 minutes before you were served the dish.
It was at work one night that I had the random thought about hand-pulled noodles so I decided to look into it in this area. From the things I read online, it sounded like Lotus Garden was the place to check out. So, my friend Chris and I made the trek out to Vienna to check the place out.
Stepping inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the nice decorations of the place and black dining furniture that gave the restaurant a more elegant feel. There was a bar in the back as well as a window into the kitchen where you could see the chef making the noodles. After looking over the menu, I went back to the page listing their hand-pulled and sliced noodle offerings to make my final decision. It was a close tie between the roast pork or roast duck for me, but in the end I went for the hand-pulled noodles with roast pork while Chris went for the sliced noodles with roast pork.
Over the years, I’ve had other bowls of noodle soup while out in NYC’s Chinatown; however, that restaurant in Xian marked the last time I had hand-pulled noodle soup (I’m not sure why it took me so long to try and find them again). When that bowl of noodle soup gets put in front of you, the aroma really draws you in. In addition to the roast pork, there was some baby bok choy mixed in, along with a garnish of cilantro and scallions. After trying out the first bite, it definitely reminded me of the soup from that place in Xian.
The noodles had that “fresh” taste about them and were cooked just right. I really enjoyed the combination of flavors from all the components of the soup. The broth wasn’t too salty and was countered by the slight sweetness from the roast pork. The noodles tasted great after absorbing the flavor from the broth, and the cilantro and scallions added their own individual flavors to each bite.
I’m very glad that I was able to find this place if I ever need to get my noodle soup fix. I’m certain that I’ll be back in the future to try some of their other offerings when I get my next craving.
Here are my rankings for Lotus Garden:
Food: 5 / 5
Definitely some of the best noodle soup I’ve had in a while. They have a number of other noodle soup options as well as traditional Chinese dishes.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
As I had mentioned earlier, the decorations and furniture really helped to give the place a more elegant feel. The dining area can seat a decent number of people and had an atmosphere leaning on the quiet side.
Service: 4.5 / 5
Food comes out pretty quick and the waitresses came back several times to refill our drinks.
Price: 4 / 5
The price is pretty in-line with other Chinese restaurants I’ve found. For just under $10, I thought it was a great price for a hearty bowl of noodle soup.
Overall: 18 / 20 (90%)