Chengdu Taste has a new sibling imported directly from SoCal’s San Gabriel Valley. Fronting Spring Mountain on the ground floor of the plaza housing Chinatown staples Ichiza and Zizzy, Mian Sichuan Noodles is doling out Chongqing-style noodles from a much more accessible space than its older brother. But like Chengdu, there are no holds barred when it comes to the onslaught of spices across the menu.
Mian’s offerings are essentially split between bowls of dry noodles and soups, each whimsically labeled—dry dish entries are adorned with a cactus, while soups are designated with a swimmer. The playfulness doesn’t stop there, as place mats provide a primer on how to eat your noodles, including a dissertation on the ubiquitous mung bean soup served in a coffee mug. But Mian is serious about spiciness, so you should learn to embrace the slightly sweet broth—the only available reprieve from an onslaught of heat. Everything is labeled as to whether or not it’s spicy, but it’s all a lie because every dish is spicy. Just embrace the fiery flavors.
My favorites are the Chengdu Zajiang noodles ($9). The dry dish is simply dressed with baby bok choy and a fried egg, but the pork-laden sauce hiding beneath the chewy wheat noodles is blazingly hot, layering Sichuan chilies and peppercorns. Spicier still are the Sichuan hot and sour noodles ($8), suspending angel hair strands in a complex broth rife with chilies and exuding an irresistible funkiness. If you’re looking for standard Chinese hot and sour soup, you’re in the wrong place.
Broths fascinate across the board. Even when the uncomfortably chewy beef in the house beef noodles ($10) falls short, the hearty soup salvages the dish. Beef pickled noodles ($10) deliver the characteristic tingle associated with Sichuan peppercorns. And if you’re feeling edgy, the special gizzard noodles ($10) deliver an offal-y hearty funk.
Your conscientious server will undoubtedly ask what spice level you’d like. Don’t be tempted to cool down your dishes. If you’re not sweating it, you’re not getting it.
Mian Sichuan Noodles 4355 Spring Mountain Road #107, 702-483-6531. Daily, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5-10 p.m.