Seasonal food vendor and Smorgasburg mainstay Noodle Lane will celebrate making the into a permanent brick-and-mortar restaurant in Park Slope with a grand opening celebration next month.
Noodle Lane was founded over a decade ago by owner Lane Li, who was inspired by watching her mother cook with minimal tools and no electricity in China.
Later, while working in finance, Li attended the Institute of Culinary Education at night, dreaming of one day starting her own restaurant serving the same delicious meals her mother cooked for her.
Thus, Noodle Lane was born. The elevated Chinese and Asian fusion eating experience became well known at the outdoor food festival Smorgasburg for its popular dishes like Dan Dan Noodles, pork and chive dumplings, Cheong Fun Noodles and more.
Li said she has always cooked for her family — initially making her own dumplings at home when she couldn’t find any that her son liked — so expanding her cooking skills to the public seemed like a natural progression.
“I’ve always talked about opening a restaurant and I moved to Park Slope with my family like five years ago and there was no good Chinese food here,” she told Brooklyn Paper. “And so I thought, ‘Let me open a place here or something.’ I just found a spot that I thought I could afford and I thought ‘It’s now or never,’ because my child is nine years old, and I held off on wanting to open my own place for a long time because I had my child.”
The same dedication and loving care she used to make the perfect dumplings for her son – which take 15 hours and 15 steps to make perfectly — are used to feed her devoted customers.
Li hopes that this dedication translates with her food and that Noodle Lane can help combat the stereotype that Asian food — particularly Chinese cuisine — cannot be fine dining.
“I’ve been trying to change that perception, like you know Chinese food is not cheap,” said Li. “How I’ve done it is I try to use high quality ingredients, I don’t just rely on MSG for flavor. A lot of our food is, you know, it’s a long process to make and there are a lot of steps and I try to get the flavors from infusing like herbs. The reviews I’ve been getting, they’re like ‘Oh this is so nice, this is a charming place, it’s really clean and modern’. So that’s how I’ve been trying to combat the idea that the food is cheap, quick take-out.”
No longer does Li have to limit her business to seasonal service, as her new brick-and-mortar location on 7th Avenue has been open for business for the past five months and will host its grand opening on Sept. 22.
Long-time fans and new customers can dine in or order out their old favorites, or try some new menu options Li has concocted including Pickled Fish Sichuan Style — what Li considers the greatest dish of all time — and the new Oyster Omelette Hawker Style, which wasn’t previously found in the city.