In many of New York's cultural enclaves, a sign like this wouldn't be unusual. Where restaurant proprietors and the majority of their clientele share a language other than English, that's the language one can expect to hear spoken inside, and that's the language that often dominates the menu. Outside, the signage that greets prospective customers is sometimes accompanied by an English translation, sometimes not.
At its original home, in Flushing's Chinatown, Biang! took the latter course. The sign that faced the street incorporated English as well as Chinese, and it name-checked the owner's counter-service mini-chain, Xi'an Famous Foods. At its current home, in the East Village — which is no longer an enclave even for hipsters — the Chinese-only principal signage has an insider appeal, like a nightclub's secret entrance to a private room. The entrance, however, is marked by a large character, deeply incised, and painted gold; the secret is an open one, served with a wink.
Shown below, from meals at the shuttered Flushing location: qiao mian jiao tuan, a thick, warm buckwheat pudding (now absent from the menu), accompanied by a soy-sauce dip spiced with mustard oil; liang tiao shan ye cai, a cold salad of fiddlehead ferns with pepper oil and black vinegar.
157 Second Ave. (9th-10th Sts.), Manhattan