Our latest installment of Quick Bites brings us to Williamsburg for mockduck and more.
Noods n' Chill is kind of a dumb name, a too-forced amalgamation of two way-overplayed memes, but if you let that discourage you from going to this new counter-service Thai restaurant in Williamsburg well, that just means there's a better chance that the rest of us will be able to grab one of the precious few seats there. Seriously, with a small by the corner window and a few backless stools, takeout will have to play a large role for the place to really take off.
The cramped space, located on the corner of Driggs and South 3rd Street, comes courtesy of Manadsanan Sutipayakul and her three children, Benjaporn Chua, Preawpun and Jirawat Sutipayakul, who also run Look by Plant Love House in Prospect Heights and Mondayoff in Ditmas Park. Their first restaurant, just-regular Plant Love House in Elmhurst, earned the family some renown, but closed after they moved it to Brooklyn.
The decor here is mostly about plants and flowers, with small pots on almost every available surface, and everything bathed in a pinkish light from the neon sign that reads: "Noods.. Yes! You? Maybe..." Meanwhile, you'll find friendly and knowledgeable staff on hand, and a playlist ranging from delightfully cheesy pop to Thai torch songs.
Noods 'n Chill features a kind of Sutipayakul greatest-hits menu, with many dishes taken directly from Look. That's good news, because Look is a great neighborhood restaurant. The Pork Knuckle at Noods, for example, is as wonderfully fatty and decadent as I remember it from Prospect Heights, the rich pig balanced by a tart chili sauce, some nice pickled things, and a mound of sticky rice.
The Boat Blood Noodle, also from Look, is another pig-eaters delight, with pork meatballs, pork pieces, pork cracklings (for a modest surcharge), and pork blood coloring the fiery, chili-infused broth. I love all the bold flavors here, tempered only slightly by the pale, thick noodles submerged within.
There's also a whole "Plant Lovers" section at Noods that borrows from Mondayoff, including a wonderfully juicy Mockduck piled atop a mound of chewy Spinach Noodles, a lively layer of soup hidden below.
All of the new, Noods-exclusive dishes can be found on the brunch menu, and I highly recommend the bottomless bowl of hearty Rice Porridge, which comes with your choice from among ten different sides, all designed to be plunged into the thick, comforting cereal. I ordered the Ginger Chicken, complete with an impressive cluster of wood ear mushrooms, and the Sardine bathing in a tomato chili-lime sauce. Both were perfect.
The dried pork floss Toasted Brioche sandwich with chili paste and a runny fried egg made for a nice change from the usual BEC, and the After School Butter Toast, sticky with sugar and condensed milk, crunch provided by a sprinkling of Ovaltine, brought a welcome sweetness to the table. As did the chunks of Fried Dough that arrived with a crock of Kaya, a coconut egg custard ribboned with pandan, for dipping.
The food is all great at Noods n' Chill, with plenty of big flavors and lots of dishes you don't often see in this part of town. Not sure how they're going to deal with the extremely limited seating if and when they get popular, but if you can figure out when to go when it's comfortable, definitely pop on by, or just pick-up some plates to go.
Noods n' Chill is located at 170 S 3rd Street, at the corner of Driggs Avenue, and is open from Tuesday through Friday from noon to 10 p.m., and on the weekends from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with brunch served until 4 p.m. Closed Mondays. (718-388-7695; plantlovehouse.com/noods-n-chill)