As if the Chinatown International District needed another noodle house. But judging from the line stretching out the door on our weekend...

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As if the Chinatown International District needed another noodle house. But judging from the line stretching out the door on our weekend visit, it needs this one.

While there are several very good restaurants specializing in noodles within a five-block radius, Mike’s Noodle House is something special. Noodle soups shine, and fresh, bursting-at-the-seams dumplings are truly outstanding.

Customers didn’t seem to linger, so that line at the door moved pretty quickly. But you won’t feel rushed. The atmosphere is convivial, and waitresses are happy to walk you through the menu if you need assistance.

Red-tasseled Chinese lanterns hang from the ceiling over the small room, and a large window lets you see the kitchen. We watched as several women chopped up sheets of tripe — a scene that may or may not add to your dining experience. But no one seemed to mind.

Mike’s Noodle House


418 Maynard Ave. S., Seattle; 206-389-7099

Chinese

$

Hours: 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and Sundays, 9:30 a.m. -9 p.m. Saturdays.

Drinks: No alcohol.

Credit cards: All major cards accepted.

Access: No obstacles, but the room is small with little space between tables.

You don’t get huge platters of food here. But at prices this affordable, you can sample different dishes and find yourself waddling away — just as overstuffed as those dumplings.

Elderly couples, out for a Saturday lunch, slurped noodles next to local families, many ordering sides such as liver and kidneys with onion and ginger.

I veered away from the liver in favor of a rich beef-brisket noodle soup. That, plus a fiery, saucy pork-with-noodle dish and fantastic, flavor-packed dumplings (like little presents in the bowl) made us want to come back again soon.

Nothing at Mike’s is priced over $6.40. The five-part menu includes meat or seafood noodle soups and dumpling soups, congee (a savory, comforting, breakfast-y, blended rice soup with your choice of additions), noodle dishes, “chief specials” (as the menu calls them) and side orders.

Check please

Sui kau and wonton soup: Both types of dumplings were exceedingly plump; it took at least two bites to eat the sui kau. The taste of shrimp, pork and mushroom meshed perfectly with a clear, light and clean-tasting broth, which let the flavors of the sui kau and wontons shine through.

Pork in hot spice sauce noodle with vegetable: A square dish came heaped with Guilin noodles — skinny, yellow and cooked just right. They were covered with julienned slices of pork, bamboo shoots and mushrooms in a spicy red-chili sauce. Slightly crunchy, super-fresh bok choy was on the plate as well. One warning: This dish was highly salted.

Beef-brisket noodle soup: Delectable, melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket was nicely cut, leaving just the right fat-to-meat ratio. The earthy-brown broth was richer, spicier and more complex than the wonton-soup broth. The noodles (same as in the pork dish) rounded out the dish nicely.

Itemized bill, for two:

Sui kau and wonton soup: $4.50

Beef-brisket noodle soup: $4.85

Pork in hot spice sauce noodle with vegetable: $5.35

Tax: $1.37

Total: $16.07

Leigh Haddix: haddixleigh@yahoo.com