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Restaurants & Bars Ontario (inc. Toronto)

liberty noodle review

Kasia | | Sep 17, 2009 11:37 AM

having read the few messages detailing their experiences so far, I had no plan on visiting this place any time soon. but my SO dragged me there today for lunch, so here are my impressions for what they're worth.

first, i think the timing/wait problems have been addressed. the place was fairly full, yet we were in and out within 45 minutes, and all other tables were getting their food fairly quickly. we were seated immediately, and waiter took our drink orders very promptly. unfortunately, it's possible that this improvement in service has come at the expense of food quality.

the place has a very standard westernized menu of ramen soups, some fried noodle dishes and some rice dishes. my SO had the spicy beef ramen, and i had the chicken katsu. the ramen soup was okay - beef was pink in the middle, the ramen were fairly firm, broth was hot and spicy if not overly complex. it's not even close to the excellent ramen we've had most recently in New York, but it was fine. My chicken dish on the other hand was a disaster. The panko coating on the chicken was good enough, not too oily, but everything on the plate was lukewarm, including the chicken. the rice was terrible - dry, flavourless and not hot. My guess is that this is how they've dealt with the timing issues - cook things ahead and keep them in warming ovens or something. even that though doesn't explain the lack of flavour of the rice which i assume was cooked in a rice cooker (thus should have been hot). the plate came with a bit of coleslaw, the amount too small to be noticable. we did end up with a black rice pudding for a dessert (mostly because i was still hungry since i didn't eat my rice), which was not bad - they mix two kinds of sticky rice, and top it with a coconut custard. strangely, this rice dish had proper texture and lots of flavour.

i don't imagine going back. the better of the two dishes was just okay. while there was very clear attention paid to service, making sure everyone got seated and taken care quickly, not one server (including the manager working the floor) was asking for feedback. when the server removed our plates, instead of asking about why i left the rice, made a joke of it. when i made a point of telling him the reason i didn't eat it, he apologized and proceeded to sell us on the deserts in the same breath. somehow i doubt he'll take the message back to the kitchen.

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