Specialties from northwest China are rarely found at restaurants in New England, so hounds are very excited by Gene's Chinese Flatbread Café, which opened last fall in Chelmsford. Hand-pulled noodles are "amazingly good," says applehome, who tried them in a very flavorful soup. The noodles have "just the right bite—a little chewy, but tender."
mjg0725 tried a spicy, dry version of the noodles (known as biáng biáng mian) and found them very thick and toothsome. "Never had noodles that were anything like this before," mjg0725 says. crowdingthepan agrees that they are excellent. "The thick, hearty, chewy noodles are sitting in rich smoky chile oil and are topped with crushed chilies, cilantro, and a solid 1/8 cup of finely minced raw garlic. You stir the whole thing up and slurp and chew your way to spicy bad breath nirvana."
crowdingthepan also tried the Xi'an chilled noodles, which are only available on the weekend. "[The noodles] are incredibly tender and bathed in tangy vinegar and chile oil sauce, mixed with bean sprouts and little cubes of what I believe is a sort of Chinese seitan called mian jin," he says.
Reports are mixed on the Chinese flatbread sandwiches, available with either pork or beef. justbeingpolite didn't find the sandwich as exciting as the noodles, and while mjg0725 enjoyed the crunchy-soft texture of the flatbread, he thought the pork filling was "one dimensional."
The restaurant is counter service only, but the owners are warm and helpful. For crowdingthepan (who lives in southern New Hampshire) the proximity to home is extremely exciting. "We're getting awfully close to having zero reason to drive to NYC anymore," he says.
Gene's Chinese Flatbread Café [Merrimack Valley]
257 Littleton Road, Chelmsford