Named for the city where the Silk Road originated, Chang’an Artisan Noodle embodies much history. In nearly a millennium, the ancient Chinese capital was home to over 10 imperial dynasties, serving as an epicenter of cultural and economic exchange in northeast China. Its influence as a crossroads is clear in its cuisine.

A newcomer to the dense Chinese restaurant scene in Mountain View, Chang’an Artisan Noodle is in an ordinary shopping center off Rengstorff Avenue. What the restaurant lacks in curb appeal, however, it makes up for with a varied Asian fusion menu, from noodle soups to Japanese-style curries.

When I visited on a Saturday afternoon, the cozy restaurant was packed. We started with the best part of the entire meal, the beef roll ($5.50), which included thinly sliced, perfectly cooked braised beef, black bean sauce and fresh cilantro rolled up in a dense, chewy scallion pancake.

For mains, I opted for the vegetarian noodle soup ($11.50), which came with a generous portion of spinach, broccoli, sweet corn, enoki mushroom and cauliflower. It was garnished with dried garlic, and I opted to add a poached egg ($1.50). The broth was less flavorful than I had hoped, but the addition of hot chili oil and the egg added much complexity. That being said, the abundant amount of veggies, paired with chewy, delicious ramenlike noodles, made for an extremely satisfying meal.

We also tried the Zha Jiang noodles ($11.50), a soupless dish that was tastefully presented with a generous topping of kurobuta pork—the “waygu of pork”—black bean sauce, a soy-braised egg, shredded tofu, cucumber, corn, scallions and surprisingly, kimchi. The pork was superbly flavored and cooked well, pairing well with the tangy, spicy kimchi. I also appreciated the generous amount of cucumber and corn that came with the dish, as it balanced the more intense flavors.

As a last-minute addition, we also ordered the vegetarian mapo tofu ($11.50), which comes in steaming hot clay dish that included king oyster and wood ear mushrooms, corn, and carrots. The dish’s complex flavors were drowned out by salt, making it difficult to finish without a few glasses of water. If you aren’t familiar with Sichuan peppercorns are, you’ll be in for a surprise: after about three bites, I thought I was having an allergic reaction. Turns out it was just the peppercorns, which cause your mouth and tongue to tingle and go numb.

Like any new restaurant, it still has some kinks, but its future looks mouth-numbingly promising.

Chang’an Artisan Noodle
580 N. Rengstorff Ave, Ste J, Mountain View.