The new Ten 89 Noodle House in Stony Brook expands the ever-growing list of Long Island restaurants named for their addresses. More importantly, it gives the Stony Brook University community something it's long needed: authentic Chinese food.
In a freestanding building set back from the road and across from the LIRR station, this minimalist counter service eatery puts out a menu drawing on multiple regions of China. Prices are gentle, in keeping with student budgets. The chef and co-owner, known as "Mr. Ge," hails from Shanghai and spent several years as head chef of Eastern Pavilion in East Setauket.
On a recent visit, every table was occupied by a young crowd, many diners of Asian descent, several not speaking in English. Nobody looked bothered by having to manage with plastic utensils and Styrofoam dinnerware. Because the spoon and fork were so flimsy, disposable wooden chopsticks were helpful when tackling a meal-sized bowl of hearty and flavorful roast pork noodle soup ($5.95). It was rife with sliced pork, baby bok choy and fat noodles. Stir fried noodles with vegetables ($5.95) were subtly smoky. Eggplant with garlic sauce ($6.95) featured bright purple cuts of Japanese eggplant in a sauce lighter than most; sauteed baby bok choy with fresh garlic ($8.95) defined vibrancy.
Monday to Thursday 11:30a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday noon to 10:30 p.m.
Wheelchair accessibleWebsite Add an event Correct this listing
The traditional Chinese menu attracts a young following, many with roots in Asia. But while 19-year-olds may not mind ordering at the counter or eating off plastic and Styrofoam, others may prefer to get their food to go or, if they live nearby, have it delivered. Parking also can be a problem; the small lot fills quickly, which may mean hitting the street -- Route 25A -- for a spot.
Your reward takes the form of noodle soups, each a virtual meal in a bowl. One spoonful of the roast pork version -- loaded with meat and al dente noodles -- explains the popularity of this genre. Equally satisfying was the hearty Shanghai-style noodle soup, brimming with vegetables, pork, shrimp and chicken. Vegetarians can find gratification in the robust mixed vegetable noodle soup.
A Styrofoam container held flavorful tofu, egg drop and tomato soup, an unusual side dish that showed up, gratis, with an entree of kung pao chicken, flat cuts of poultry, peanuts and vegetables, a subtly spicy hit.
A colorful knockout, an entree of purple Japanese eggplant, was dressed with a light-textured but resonant garlic sauce. Chicken with fresh basil had both depth and nuance. And I liked that the Shanghai-style sauteed shrimp featured whole shellfish, heads and all, surrounded by emerald cuts of steamed broccoli in a dark, thin, spicy-sweet sauce.
Braised tofu, however, was a gloppy affair. Much better was sauteed baby bok choy with garlic, bright and verdant. Stir-fried noodles with vegetables amounted to a highly creditable version of lo mein. A dish consumed with great enthusiasm was the comforting vegetable chow fun -- wide, flat noodles imbued with that haunting smokiness that comes from a quick turn in a very hot wok. Like much of the fare here, the dish outclassed its disposable plate.