It was a cold and windy day a few weeks ago when Mee Eh Lisa and I were looking for an authentic Chinese restaurant to try. I have been wanting to try a few restaurants that opened the past few years in Stony Brook. New Chinese restaurants exploded around Stony Brook University over the last few years, as the school attracts many Asian students, and former students saw the opportunity to cater to those who were far from home. To ease their transition, a little taste of home goes a long way. Such is the case with China Station 老北方麵食館, which is located at 1015 NY-25A, Stony Brook, NY 11790.
China Station is in the same little strip of stores with Green Tea restaurant as pictured below. As Green Tea has a more prominent sign, you will see that first. Parking is located behind the restaurant, and there is a rear entrance.
For our near-sighted readers, such as I, here’s a close-up of the sign for China Station. If you can read the sign now, you are driving way too close to the curb, and have likely driven upon it. Please note that parking is not permitted to 25-A, also knows as North Country Road, so you’ll have to back your car off the curb, continue to the corner, and as mentioned, park in the back. Walk-in like nothing happened out front.
Like many a restaurant in these COVID-19 times, major modifications, sometimes not aesthetically pleasing, had to be done so restaurants could open while protecting customers and workers. Let’s do some time travel and take you back not all that long ago to a booming place the China Station was (Please have patience and enjoy all of the images as they automatically change magically before your eyes):
Nowadays the entire kitchen area is hermetically sealed in plastic, and what used to be a nice place to sit down and have a meal has been turned into more of a take-out Chinese restaurant. But, that did not deter Mee Eh Lisa and me from finding one of the few remaining tables. China Station’s food showcases Northern-style Chinese cuisine. Dishes that are featured are handmade Noodles, Dumplings, lots of vegetable dishes with one common theme. They are all hot and spicy!
There’s no table service, at least not to order, so after perusing the menu we opted for a few dishes with some guidance of the staff as to some of their most traditional dishes. You walk up to the register and place your order, and magically a few minutes later the food is brought out to your table when it became abundantly clear that I was more than likely going to spill the soup.
We definitely had to start with a signature dish of Northern-style Chinese Cuisine:
Vegetable Noodle Soup – Of course, homemade noodles and filled with seemingly every vegetable found in the produce section of a specialty shop. First, the dish was huge. Secondly, there were so many vegetables that you really needed a fork and a spoon to fully enjoy this soup. And the vegetables were so fresh, you felt like they were just picked from the garden. There were two vegetables that I could not identify. Asking what they were, did not yield any more insight as to their identity.
I found the soup had quick a kick to it. Mee Eh Lisa didn’t seem phased. And, we shared from the same bowl. If you order this soup, or I imagine any of their other Noodle soups, this is all you need to order. You will be stuffed, and it will set you back just over $8.00. Very student-friendly price. No wonder this restaurant was packed pre-COVID-19. A+
Scallion Pancakes – They didn’t have the option of Scallion Pancakes with Beef (and Hoisin Sauce) on the menu, which I absolutely love, but Mee Eh Lisa is vegetarian, so in order to share this dining experience, I wouldn’t have ordered it even if it was on the menu.
Even without the beef, and even without hoisin sauce, these were two out of this world delicious scallion pancakes. A+
Young Chow Fried Rice – I admit it. This was not a very inspiring choice. There were many alternative offerings on the menu, that I would try next time I go (read into that exactly what I meant). This dish was interesting though in the following respect. I found it a little too dry and it just tasted flat (technical restaurant review term. Don’t worry about what it means. Just go along with me on it this time, ok?). BUT, the next day, I warmed them up for lunch, and WOW! It was like a totally different dish. How did they do that? I doubt I will ever find out that secret. A-
All in all, this was a wonderful experience. The company was great and speaking for both of us, a splendid time was had.
Would I consider China Station Quest-worthy? YES*!! But, post-pandemic when the plastic comes down and things return to normal, I definitely encourage my brothers to venture to Stony Brook. Perhaps we will double-dip, having a few dishes at China Station and try a few at Green Tea next door. We wouldn’t even have to move our cars!!
In case you were wondering why the restaurant is called China STATION, it’s because it’s across the street from the Long Island Railroad Stony Brook station. And now you know the rest of the story.
Very humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)