Delivery File #3: 86 Noodles (8608 4th Avenue)
The literally named 86 Noodles sits close to 86th Street on Fourth Avenue, positioned near our busiest transit hub. There are many types of Chinese cuisine available in Bay Ridge. We are never more than a phone call away from getting General Tso’s chicken and crab Rangoon brought to our doorsteps. Chinese food restaurants represent a significant number of delivery options citywide, and Bay Ridge has 15 Chinese restaurants alone. For reference, and to give you an idea of how many options we have, there are also 15 restaurants in Bay Ridge with “pizza” in their names. What makes 86 Noodles stand out is that it offers Shanghai-style options. I became a fan of soup dumplings shortly after moving to New York, first frequenting Shanghai Cafe on Mott Street to get my fix. I was thrilled to discover that we have two options locally where I could get my favorite style: 86 Noodles and Grand Sichuan House (8701 Fifth Avenue).
Recently, we ordered Cantonese wonton soup, steamed rice-noodle roll with shrimp, steamed little juicy buns and Shanghai rice cakes. The total bill was a reasonable $29—you’d be hard pressed to prepare this much food for less using stuff you bought at the grocery store. A respectable 33 minutes later, our bell rang. As expected, the food was very hot, some packaged in foil and some packaged in reusable plastic containers, with napkins, an assortment of sauce packets and ramekins, several fortune cookies and flatware.
The wonton soup was excellent: the broth was not too salty; the wontons were large and held up very well in the soup. The steamed rice-noodle roll was an experiment for us, and I don’t think we would order it again. It’s not unpleasant—the shrimp is tasty—but the roll is perhaps a little too gummy and watery to hold up to the sauce that came with it. The steamed little juicy buns—what the soup dumplings here are called—are delicious. A caveat: a soup dumpling will always struggle to be delivered intact. The dumplings are delicate and salty with tasty pork inside. Each order has eight buns, and only five of ours were still holding their broth; still, even the broken ones went down easily. It’s hard to overstate how good the Shanghai rice cakes are. Made from a glutinous rice mixture (the same as the noodle roll) and sliced thinly before stir frying, these rice cakes are delicious. 86 Noodles’ version combines scallions, beef, pork, shrimp and cabbage, and they’re fried with just the right amount of char. These were the stars of the meal!
When we were done, we were sufficiently stuffed and had a full meal of leftovers—and we hadn’t even touched the fortune cookies! You would be fortunate to order from this place.