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Ten89 Noodle House

Ten89 Noodle House in Stony Brook offers a

Ten89 Noodle House in Stony Brook offers a variety of house specialties including, from top left, Shanghai stir fried rice cakes, General Tso's chicken and chicken with Chinese eggplant. (May 1, 2012) Credit: Doug Young

The Stony Brook University food scene has long been short on serious ethnic eateries geared to student budgets. Now, there's Ten89 Noodle House at a location that's practically on campus.

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.


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