|Seafood hotpot at Noodles Corner|
This Columbia restaurant offers all the dishes that you'd expect in an Chinese restaurant, but it also has a two-page menu of authentic dishes -- fully translated to English and mostly made with ingredients that would be common to anyone who eats chicken, seafood and vegetables.
Consider the bok choy. Baby vegetables cooked perfectly -- leaves softened, bodies tender but crisp at every bite. That's a kitchen skill that I can't do myself. The mineral, fresh taste contrasts with the earthy, almost sweet, black mushrooms in the center of the plate. It's subtle. It's delicious.
|Mushrooms & bok choy|
This is definitely a place that should be in the rotation for people who want interesting Chinese food. On a recent visit, we paired seafood with the mushrooms and bok choy. First, we had a fish in XO sauce, which was a magical mix of salt, pepper, ginger and other flavors in a light sauce.
Then we had a hot pot. You get a small metal pot filled with seafood and tofu in a thicker, rich sauce. The tofu holds the heat throughout the meal, so nibble carefully or let it cool a moment on your plate.
You can build your own feast with these dishes, the shredded pork appetizer, the chili wrap, and the pan-fried noodles, which are also a unique preparation in my experience. Ask for the tea, which they serve in heavy metal pots. And don't be shy about the authentic menu. On our most-recent visit, the waitress was clearly tickled that we were branching out. She chatted with us and explained a bunch of dishes before we picked. Noodles Corner has the friendly, relaxed feel that fits into a shopping center that offers as much casual dining fun as any other single location in Columbia.
You can get really authentic at Noodles Corner. I draw a line at organ meat, but they're delicious to many people and central to many Chinese dishes. Noodles Corner does offer dishes with intestine, blood and other organ meats.
8865 Stanford Boulevard
Columbia, MD 21045
NEAR: This is the shopping center that faces Dobbin Road south of Rte 175. You enter by turning from Dobbin onto Stanford Boulevard. This has Pub Dog, Hanamura, Riverside Coffee and the relocated Mango Grove.