For many diners, "Chinese" food pretty much begins and ends with the Cantonese dishes with which they're already familiar.
And while Cantonese-styled classics -- fried rice, kung pao chicken, pepper steak and the like -- are available at The Beijing Noodle Cafe, diners also can try a variety of noodle dishes and culinary offerings whose origins lie a bit farther north.
Owner Tuo Ya opened The Beijing Noodle Cafe, 4130 S. Sandhill Road, in May, said family friend Jerry Zhao, speaking on behalf of Ya. It is, he added, the first restaurant for Ya, who's from northern China.
Compared to Cantonese cuisine, dishes from northern China offer "more strong flavors, and their major focus is the noodle," Zhao said.
Included on The Beijing Noodle Cafe's menu are more than a dozen noodle preparations, Zhao noted. Nothing is made with MSG, and just about any dish on the menu can be converted into a vegetarian offering upon request.
The restaurant serves a clientele divided just about evenly between Asians and non-Asians, Zhao said. The dining room seats about 25, and takeout and delivery service are available.
A menu of $5.95 lunch specials, offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, includes several seafood, chicken, vegetable and beef entrees, each of which is served with soup, rice and a spring roll.
The Beijing Noodle Cafe is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations aren't required, but are recommended for groups.
Starters: Pork and chives dumplings, $4.95; Beijing crepe with cilantro and hoisin sauce, $4.95; Chinese onion pancake, $4.95
Soups: Special flavor tomato egg noodle soup, $6.95; Beijing-style sausage noodle soup, $6.95; stewed chicken nugget noodle soup, $6.95
Entrees: Braised chicken in clay pot, $6.95; beef with cumin sauce, $7.95; stir-fried mushrooms in black pepper sauce, $6.95
Noodles with sauce: Beijing-style black bean sauce with noodle, $6.95; eggplant-flavored sauce with noodle, $6.95; Beijing-style spicy noodle salad, $6.95