Updated: 4th July 2012; This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
On one hand, I wanted to like Legendary Noodles because it is supposed to be a well-established and well-respected restaurant. But truth be told, there are a lot of things that leaves much to be desired with Legendary Noodle — at least with the restaurant we went to. They do some things well, but it is what they failed in that makes us not wanted to go back again.
There are two Legendary Noodle locations in Metro Vancouver. There is one on Main Street and another one on Denman.
There used to be one in Richmond but that closed some years ago. The Legendary Noodle in Richmond was one of the early posts on chowtimes. I remember that it was the first restaurant where we picked the courage to ask the chef to pull the noodles for us so that we can put an interesting angle to the post. He he he … asking them for permission to take pictures scared us then because we were such noobs then. Today, we have thicker skin.
The Legendary Noodle location we went to was the one located on Main Street at the intersection with King Edward.
The decor in Legendary Noodle can be described as tacky … especially the beaded curtains and the wooden paper lantern. It is obvious that they are trying to portray themselves as Oriental in the eyes of the western world. It doesn’t really bother me but it is really in your face.
What really spoil our experience in Legendary Noodle is the service. Mind you, Suanne and I are not demanding customers. I must say that we interact with restaurant staff really well and we are respectful people. Well, the moment we sat down, the young waitress had the sour face like we had just offended her by coming into the restaurant. OK, we shrugged it off while we looked at the menu. When she came back, the same sour face came along. Suanne described her as being very “fu hei” (in Cantonese). We would have understood if the waitress did not smile but giving us that irritated look is what I could not have understood.
OK, to put things in proper perspective, there could be a reason behind this and might not be the same to other customers. But really, I was quite annoyed. No, we did not leave then and there. It is because we were not used to storming out to make a point.
Service aside, the tables are small. It is sized for bowls of noodles and nothing more. It is just that we had to keep the camera and notebook on our lap. We do realize that restaurants are not designed for bloggers. That is beside the point in case someone wants to rebut me on this point for thrashing Legendary Noodle for the rude service. :-) Bottom line, the tables were not big.
You may click on the menu above to show a larger image. They use Mandarin names like Dao Xiao Mian, Gan Ban Mian, Tang Mian, etc. A lot of the items are vegetarian and they are clearly marked on the menu.
The menu is just a 1-pager. The prices were cheap with the noodles costing $7 – $8.
The gold award winning dish is known as the Lamb Shanks Noodle Soup on their menu. It came in two sizes — small for $7 and just $1 more for the large one. We opted for the small bowl even though we were tempted to get more value with the bigger serving. No, we had been eating way too much already and decided that discipline is in order.
The serving is small. For us who just wanted to taste it, it is just right. If you are hungry, you’ll need the larger serving.
The broth is not bad actually. It is on the light side but sufficiently … flavoured with lamb that it is unmistakably lamb. We like that they sprinkled a lot of garlic and cilantro in the bowl.
If there is one thing they do well, it is most definitely the noodles. They are hand pulled and it is evidenced by the inconsistent thickness. The noodles are chewy and starchy as one would expect from good quality noodles. The texture … perfect.
They are stingy with the lamb shanks. They are so small … too small. Any smaller, it could have been called minced meat. LOL! OK, I exaggerated but I think you can see for yourself how small it is.
The appetizer we got was not on the menu but written on a piece of paper. The above is Beef Tendon ($5.50). It is good that they thinly shredded this up and mix in some cilantro.
This is a common appetizer dish which is served cold. It has a bit of saltiness and as expected, it is chewy to the bite.
We also ordered the Ground Pork & Black Bean Sauce with Minced Mushroom on Noodle ($7). Like the Lamb Noodle Soup, this is also a rather small serving. You can see better from the picture above how small the serving is. Just see the size of the soup spoon against the bowl.
The sauce did not taste like the black bean sauce we expected. I am not sure what it is but it sure wasn’t the savoury type. So, the sauce which is supposed to define this dish does not do much for it.
The only good part is the minced meat which sort of rescued this noodle somewhat.
What I would like to learn is how Legendary Noodle won the gold award when there are so many more restaurants who are more than capable in at least equally good noodles.
I need not add anymore as to the reason why I was quite underwhelmed by Legendary Noodle. Maybe it is just us who just did not click with the waitress. But I still maintain that we were quite pleasant people who do not go around being mean to people for no reason. That unfortunate service slip-up spoils it all for Suanne and I.
One more point … Legendary Noodle accepts cash only. Am not surprised since their food is so cheap.