Asian Noodles1290 E. Plumb Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
“Asian Noodles” was apparently a titular compromise when the owners started this nifty restaurant offering a mix of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes. Yes, there are indeed plenty of noodle dishes, but there is also much more, promptly served, and at great prices.
Understand what you’re signing up for. Asian Noodles, located in the middle of the shopping center on the southwest corner of Plumb Lane and U.S. Hwy. 395, is basically a diner in terms of accouterments (cramped tables, bright lights, no art, loud kitchen) and service (don’t mistake your host’s expediency for rudeness). The difference is you get pho and chow mein instead of sandwiches and potato salad, and you’re definitely richer for it, but the “dining experience” is merely that—dining.
On an impressively crowded weeknight, my husband and I started with spring rolls ($5) and crab rangoons ($5). The rolls were stuffed with fresh greens, noodles and shrimp, and came with a dark, thick dip that seemed almost like a peanut-sauce-with-hoisin blend. I didn’t pry for the secret recipe. I was too busy competing with my equally entranced husband for the last bit of roll The rangoons also seemed good—creamy, light cheese-crab filling; crusts not too oily—but I’m not sure I trust my sanguine judgment on this item in light of the duds I’ve recently sampled elsewhere.
It’s a good thing we came hungry because our server didn’t dither in shuffling appetizer remnants into a to-go box to make room for our main courses. I torqued up my seafood golden noodle special ($9.75), which included shrimp, crab and squid, with some hot chili sauce. My husband’s sautéed spicy calamari ($9.75)—quality bits of scored squid with bamboo shoots—needed no adjustment.
We both seemed to prefer each other’s dishes. I loved the perfect balance of sweetness, fish/soy sauce, and chili in the sauce for his calamari over the blander, soy-based mainstay that came with my dish. My husband, on the other hand, reveled in plunging eager chopsticks into my quasi-crisp egg noodles, enabling him to relive the childhood decadence of crunching into the Cup O’ Noodles before they were completely softened—only here with better noodles and within accepted social parameters.
Our server wouldn’t have won Miss Congeniality, but she was on top of her game. My animated husband was on the precipice of disaster in our cramped dining sector throughout the whole meal until he finally sent a chopstick careening onto the floor, whereupon she quickly snatched it out of his reach—yes, that’s right, he would have picked it up and kept gobbling—and brought a fresh set.
We were quite content with our choices, but Asian Noodles has a huge menu, with various types of chow mein and chow fun in the $8 to $10 range, as well as 16 varieties of pho ($6.75 for a large). There is a whole section of Vietnamese charbroiled dishes and a score of “Special Dinner Dishes” that includes standards like Kung Pao chicken and chop suey with pork or chicken (both $8.50). They also recently opened a second location at Incline Village if you want to see the lake before sampling the offerings of Asian Noodles.
I can’t say it’s a place I would go for ambiance, and my next purchase there will probably be for takeout. But while many places aspire to provide quick and high-quality Asian food on the cheap, the combination of good cooking, efficiency and competence make Asian Noodles a place where you can actually get it.