If you aspire to be an Expert Level New Yorker, there are a few skills you'll want to master. You're going to need to know which subway car to get on for efficient exiting, at least on your own line. You should most certainly know how to avoid a broker's fee. You should know how to politely not have a moment for the environment when a guy with a clipboard comes for you (sorry) and when to order delivery so that a hot meal is ready and waiting for you just as you get home. Seamless, it's just like the repressed 1950s housewife from your favorite prestige television drama.
Another thing you should have down pat as an Expert Level New Yorker? You should be able to get dropped in Chinatown, and quickly navigate those around you to a great, somewhat under-the-radar spot, where you'll tell everyone about the best thing to order.
When you find yourself in this situation, direct your group to Noodle Village. Tell everyone they have the best wonton soup in Chinatown, and that the soup dumplings are pretty good too. You won't be lying.
If your experiences with wonton soup have been relegated to slippery, doughy wontons filled with little bits of pork dropped into an oily soup, a trip to Noodle Village will change your perspective. The soup is light and doesn't just taste like something that came from a can, and the wontons are thin and filled with big chunks of shrimp. Since trying the wonton soup here, we find it hard to walk near Chinatown on a cold day without going in. And after trying some other places up the block with reportedly good wonton soup, we can confirm that Noodle Village's is indeed something special.
The space is nothing too notable, but it's a calm, not overly cramped room that seems like it's been recently renovated. You can come with a reasonably sized group, or roll in by yourself.
And just like that, it's New York, Expert Level: Unlocked.
As previously stated, this is a wonton soup of gods. Do gods like wonton soup? I think so. Although the restaurant's name might suggest otherwise, you should skip the noodle version and go wonton-only - the noodles sometimes have a metallic-y taste and the soup is better without. Add some of the red vinegar to your soup to continue towards expert-level status.
Are these better than Joe's Shanghai around the corner? It depends how you like your soup dumplings, and anything we say here is probably going to start a fight. So just know that compared to Joe's, these have a thinner, chewier skin that is almost... al dente.
A nice gooey plate of carbs, topped with peanut sauce and hoisin sauce. Get one for the table.
If you're dead set on some rice and protein, go for a clay pot rice - the crisped up rice is enjoyable, but it's also not what you come here for.