|Image by Susan NYC via Flickr|
|A noodle maker like this one is at work in Palisades Park.|
What is that racket coming from the kitchen?
Not long after I placed my order, I could hear a pounding behind me. I stopped eating my kimchi and Korean pickles, put down my chopsticks and jumped up.
I walked over to the open kitchen doors and saw a cook, dressed all in white with his arms spread out to the side, holding a thick rope of noodles, then pounding them on the counter in front of him.
I was lured to the Mandarin Chinese Restaurant in Palisades Park on Friday night by signs in second-floor windows: "Hand-made noodles."
The restaurant is across a side street from my favorite soft-tofu restaurant, So Gong Dong.
But the signs don't tell the whole story. When you order the hand-made noodles at this Korean-owned Chinese restaurant, they are made to order.
The restaurant uses hand-made noodles in more than a dozen dishes, including the noodles with spicy bean sauce I ordered ($8.95).
About five minutes after the pounding from the kitchen ended, the waitress brought me a bowl of long, wonderfully elastic and chewy noodles and a smaller bowl of black-bean sauce with onions and, I learned too late, ground beef.
I also got side dishes of cubed radish kimchi, pickles and raw onion, and more bean sauce.
There was too much bean sauce and it was a bit too salty for me, but I finished the hand-made noodles and plan to return to try them in a seafood-and-vegetable sauce or in hot soup.
This simple dinner of noodles, kimchi and pickles proved to be very satisfying, and all I needed a few hours later was fruit and cheese.
The pleasant Chinese decor includes some tables behind screens and others near the windows.
Broad Avenue in Palisades Park once was a bustling street crowded with families looking for their next restaurant meal, but lately it has a faded look.
There are a surprising number of empty storefronts, including the Orange Tree clothing store, which is being renovated.
The Golden Eagle Diner has been surrounded by plywood walls for months, and any construction seems to have been halted.
A few blocks away, a glass office-and-retail building is going up on the site of the old post office.
Mandarin Chinese Restaurant, 110 Broad Ave.,
Second Floor, Palisades Park; 201-313-0121.