Upon entering The Noble East, we knew right away that it served “American” Chinese food as the restaurant did not have any Chinese waiters, nor any chopsticks or teapots on the tables, and there were no Chinese people dining there. They did have crisp fried noodles with duck sauce rather than peanuts, which are usually served in the more “authentic” Chinese restaurants. While the menu is heavy in American-Chinese options such as: Egg Drop Soup; Chow Mein; Moo Shu Pork; and General Tso’s Chicken there is a very small section on the menu for more adventurous diners with dishes such as chilled sweet cabbage, sea cucumber, and salt and pepper shrimp.
Soup dumplings, a favorite, are sometimes listed on the menu with a different name. We asked our waiter if they were available, and he pointed us to the wonton soup so we bypassed ordering dumplings. Instead we opted for Dan Dan noodles, egg noodles spiced up with a hot peanut sesame sauce, from the traditional list. Ma Po Tofu, which we try at every Chinese restaurant we go to, was a delicious rendition made with silky tofu cubes and minced pork in a hot sauce. It was accompanied by brown rice. Compliments also for the bright-green sautéed bok choy scattered with slices of garlic. Cubes of flounder with mushrooms, baby corn, snow peas, and green and red peppers were in a delicate ginger-scallion sauce atop of a whole fried flounder whose meat had been removed; a beautifully presented dish.
At The Noble East, black banquettes, a communal table and lovely flowered wallpaper create an attractive space that is a cut above other Chinese restaurants. However, with a black-and-white tiled floor, brick walls, music playing in the background and lots of families with children, the noise level is painful. Mention must also be made of the 2-ounce size glass we were given for our wine. No wine glasses were available and we requested a water glass. The tables for two are very small; ask for a booth.
The Noble East, Montclair
4 Alvin Place
Ma Po Tofu
Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein
Please send press releases and restaurant news, including information on staff changes, wine tastings, and cooking classes, to [email protected]Click here to leave a comment