Showing posts with label shanghai noodle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shanghai noodle. Show all posts

CLOSED: Beef Noodle Restaurant for Lunch 老李牛肉麵 (Toronto)

You visit Beef Noodle House for their beef noodles, or the stew beef with noodles in brown sauce ($14.95) to be exact. With a choice to order them neutral, a little spicy, or very spicy, the little spicy version adds a mild chili taste that is perfect. And after almost a decade, I’m happy to say the dish is just as stellar. The thick wheat noodles slightly al dante so they resist getting soggy, the broth rich and savoury, and the beef served as large tender chunks. If you want a deal, visit during lunch on Tuesday, and pay with cash to get 15% off.

It’s the same Tuesday discount you’re score on the pan-fried dumplings ($5.50), which are a great add-on with the noodles. At Beef Noodle House, they are so crispy you’d think they’re deep fried, if it weren’t for the uneven toasting that indicates they’re pan-fried.  I did find the filling too bland, but made use of the table-side sauces.

The restaurant offers a special weekday lunch menu with a selection of items ranging from $8.95 to $11.95 (a different lunch menu is available Tuesday). The stir-fried green beans with pork and water flour and vermicelli ($9.95; not available Tuesday) consists of a mixture of two types of noodles, tossed with chunks of lap cheung (Chinese preserved sausage), ground pork, and eggs. While it’s sauceless, the dish was still flavourful and reminded me of the stir-fried glutenous rice dish (sang chow loa miy fan) that’s found during dim sum. For the price, it’s a surprisingly large portion, but the green beans were too dry, adding colour, but not much flavour to the noodles.

The Shanghai style fried noodles ($10.95 on Tuesday; $9.95 the rest of the week) were better, using the same pasta as the beef noodles. There’s a nice wok hay essence but the dish is a tad scant on vegetables, including a decent amount of pork but only a handful of bean sprouts instead of the crunchier cabbage that’s usually paired in the recipe.

If you’re sharing noodles, a rice dish is a great second option to add on. The deep-fried chicken in Hunan style ($11.95 on Tuesday; $10.95 the rest of the week) was fantastic, the nuggets fried until crispy and tossed in an addicting sweet and savoury sauce. It’s garlicky and well balanced in sweetness so you can’t help but keep reaching for another piece. The dish is ideal for sharing as there’s tons of chicken to go around and it’s all protein with not a bell pepper or onion in sight.

A freshly prepared hot lunch doesn’t need to cost a lot when you visit Beef Noodle House. Bring a $20 bill and you’ll even have change to spare. 

In a nutshell... 
  • Must order: stew beef with noodles in brown sauce and deep-fried chicken in Hunan style
  • Just skip: pan-fried dumplings

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

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

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more -
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!

Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Asian Legend 味香村 (Scarborough)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 4452 Sheppard Avenue East
Type of Meal: Dinner

Asian Legend is a chain specializing in Northern Chinese dishes. They’ve been around for over 20 years – likely thanks to their reasonable prices and extensive menu. In my books, they are not known to be the “best” for anything; you can get better Peking duck or stir fried dishes at other places. But, their dishes are consistent and they are always a decent version of it (I have never had a horrible one).

A popular dish is the steamed soup filled dumplings with ground pork ($5.96 for 6). Asian Legend’s is good but eat them quickly as the wrapper can sometimes split if left too long. Each dumplings holds a fair amount of soup and the dough is thin enough.

Their chicken potstickers ($4.95 for four) is a nice change from the typical pork ones. With diced black mushrooms mixed throughout there’s a bit of a contrasting texture. Although it’s not as juicy, the wrapper does seem crispier with a beautiful developed crust.

My aunt likes the rolled onion pancake with sliced beef ($5.95; two orders shown below). Personally, I prefer the green onion pancake plain. Normally, it’s pan fried so a nice crust develops and contrasts against the soft inside while making the green onion taste more pronounced. Whereas, in the wrap it’s not pan fried and thus seems a little plain. Plus, I find the beef a bit dry – not my favourite but plenty of people order it.

With a variety of cold appetizers to choose from, with larger groups we order the preserved pork ($6.95). The meat is shredded, well salted and then mixed into a savoury gelatin.  Once cooled and solidified it is sliced. It can be eaten plain or dipped into the Chinese vinegar which accompanies it. I prefer the version where the pork is compressed on the bottom and the gelatin is on top (forming two layers), but Asian Legend’s isn’t bad either.

The freshly made Taiwanese street-style deep fried tofu with garlic sauce ($3.95; two orders shown below) was delicious. I know, you may be thinking … tofu really? But it’s the combination of the crispy crust, soft airy inside and flavourful sweet soy sauce that makes it great for snacking on.

Like most places, the Peking duck ($34.95) is served two ways. With plenty of wraps (about fourteen), the main dish is wrapping the crispy pieces of skin into a thin flour crepe. I like to slather on the hoisin sauce, cucumbers and green onions, while others may like it plain. Asian Legend’s Peking duck could use more flavour as I found the skin and meat by itself was rather bland.

The second dish is simply the remaining carcass chopped into pieces; unfortunately, not the most photogenic. There is the option to pay $8.95 and have the second dish as lettuce wraps, sautéed duck with vegetables or as a soup but we prefer to keep it simple. Plus, since we also ordered moo shu pork, no more wrapping dishes were required.

The moo shu pork ($10.95) arrives with six pancakes ($0.60/each for extra wraps). It’s one of my favourite dishes from Asian Legend. There’s a great combination of crunchy textures from the black fungus, napa cabbage and bamboo shoots. Plus, the scrambled egg works well at soaking up the various juices. All wrapped into a thin crepe with hoisin sauce this is full of flavour.

We normally don’t order the shredded chicken noodle soup ($7.95) but seemed to be a good choice for my grandmother. The noodles are doughy, soft and soaks in the thick flavourful soup. Simply accompanied with pieces of chicken and Shanghai bok choy it’s decent but not really a must-have dish.

A noodle in soup we order often is the braised beef noodles ($8.95). The dish is aromatic and although the broth looks like simple soy sauce there’s a much richer taste to it. Asian Legend’s version of this dish is decent and the beef tender and excellent quality. The chunks of pickled preserved vegetables on top are also a nice addition.

If you want a starchy dish try the stir fried Shanghai rice cakes ($10.95). It is traditional yet not normally found outside of Northern Chinese restaurants. The rice cakes are nothing like the light styrofoam version found in the chip aisle, rather they have a soft chewy texture. Stir fried with pork, shrimp, napa cabbage and a light sauce it’s well worth trying.

The Shanghai noodles with seafood ($11.95) is a safe crowd friendly dish. The thick yellow noodles are soft with a slight bite to it. Mixed throughout are crunchy bean sprouts, shrimp, scallop and a simple soy sauce. Asian Legend’s is fine but needs to be cooked longer to develop that wonderful wok essence.

Wanting some vegetables, we order the sautéed water spinach with fermented tofu and shredded chili ($10.95). In my Day and Day Soup review I’ve wrote a bit about this hollow vegetable and condiments if you want a further description. Overall, it’s an average version of the dish and could benefit from more fermented tofu.

If you plan on visiting regularly, their VIP membership ($20) could be a good investment. Valid for a year, it can be used at the time of purchase providing card holders 10% off food items.  Additionally, you earn points that can be used for future purchases. As they were celebrating an anniversary, I even received a coupon for a surprise gift. Now that I’m a “VIP” cardholder, who knows I may be returning more often.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more -

Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - 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!