Beef Noodle Restaurant 老李牛肉麵 (Toronto)

Tucked in the far corner of a small Scarborough plaza, Beef Noodle House isn’t the easiest place to find. The only tell-tale sign of the business is their stand-up sign out front. It will lead you into a dark corner where you’ll enter a place that’s not much brighter. The dining room looks dated, but is larger than what you’d expect from a place serving noodles. Moreover, you won’t feel like you’re in a Chinese restaurant … just go with it.

What comes out of the kitchen is truly Asian. Given their name, you can’t visit and not try their braised beef noodles with brown sauce ($9.95). A sizeable bowl arrives filled with thick doughy noodles and generously sliced pieces of tender beef. While the noodles don’t appear to be the hand pulled variety, I like their firmer texture and the broth is strongly flavoured – salty and with a hit of heat – to hold up against it.

Add on a “one-person” combo and a plate of vegetables and it’s more than enough food for three people. The combo is an amazing deal, for $9.95 there a variety of dishes to choose from, each arriving with a bowl of steamed rice and a large bowl of diced vegetable, tofu, and mushroom soup (it could use more salt).

The three cup chicken in casserole pot arrives with that signature caramelized ginger and onion aroma. Well braised, the chicken has a stronger rice wine taste than expected: after all, the sauce made from equal amounts of soy sauce, sesame oil, and the rice wine. Indeed, the generous portion of sesame oil does mean the sauce gets a little greasy, but also makes for a fragrant dish, especially when combined with the ginger, garlic, and Thai basil.

Similarly, the General Tao chicken is a heaping plate of lightly battered diced chicken that’s barely coated with a sweet and savoury sauce – despite looking bare, the flavours were rich enough. Using the darker leg meat, instead of chicken breast, helped deepen the dish and keep the chicken moist.

On most visits, a plate of garlic stir fried A choy ($8.95) completes our meal. The stir fried greens look rather limp and lifeless but has a nice crispy texture and smells of wok hay.

The menu also offers a variety of Shanghai style dim sum. The onion pancake roll with sliced pork ($6.95) is what I like to think of as a Chinese sandwich. A well toasted chewy pancake flecked with green onion gets a smear of sweet hoisin glaze before being wrapped around hot lean pork. It’s a sandwich you’d like to eat in the winter. It’s not fancy, but it hits the spot.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 4271 Sheppard Ave East

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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