For an operation that essentially serves one dish, Maxi’s Noodle has a dauntingly long menu. The dish is Hong Kong-style won-ton noodle soup, though, which requires Maxi Lau, the chef and proprietor, to keep a large number of items on hand to be added to or subtracted from the soup at the customer’s whim: the broth of pork bones boiled with dried shrimp; the skinny yellow noodles with their firm, elastic snap; the stewed beef cooked with a sizable pinch of five-spice powder; the dense fish balls streaked with scallions; the weightless, grease-free chips of fried fish skin; and so on.
But the one item that is absolutely essential is the won ton. Make that plural — won tons, as many as Ms. Lau will put into your bowl ($8). This turns out to be four if you also want noodles, and six if you don’t.
Maxi LauCreditJenny Huang for The New York Times
Years ago Ms. Lau’s mother dreamed of opening a won-ton shop, and had gone to Toronto to learn the art of won-ton wrapping from a family friend. Those plans changed when she learned she had cancer.
After she died, two years ago, Maxi Lau decided to rebuild her own life. Leaving her job in corporate management, she retraced her mother’s steps, learning to make won tons with the same family friend. Three months ago, she started Maxi’s as a pop-up every evening but Thursdays, taking over a Hong Kong-style breakfast and lunch cafe owned by an aunt in Flushing, Queens.
Ms. Lau plans to set up a noodle soup shop of her own in another part of Flushing later this year. Until then, she is making more won tons than she expected, because customers keep coming back to buy them by the dozen, frozen.
Ms. Lau’s won tons are filled with a mixture of shrimp and pork, with the emphasis very much on the shrimp. Each bite — it takes at least two to finish off a Maxi’s Noodle won ton — confirms that the shrimp are of very high quality and are cooked in a way that keeps them unusually crisp and juicy. You can see their bodies glowing pink through the thin skins of the wrappers, whose loose ends trail behind the plump, round won tons like comets’ tails.