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Anyone know anything about Liberty Noodle?

acd123 May 20, 2009 12:02 PM

It is supposed to open at the end of May. My office is in the area.

I have been craving a ramen fix since iNoodle went under. If it's good, I will have a regular lunch spot. Awesome.

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  1. Baelsette RE: acd123 May 20, 2009 12:51 PM

    Walked by it today, looks like they are working away! Looking forward to a new addition to the neighbourhood!

    1. aser RE: acd123 May 20, 2009 01:32 PM


      "Having traveled extensively around the world looking for the next concept, we fell in love with the idea of Japanese Ramen Houses and thus set out to create a modern and more westernized version, of this centuries old tradition. "

      Westernized ramen, no thanks....

      11 Replies
      1. re: aser
        acd123 RE: aser May 20, 2009 01:35 PM

        Yeah, I didn't read that. They should have substituted the word authentic for westernized.

        I'll definitely give it a try though.

        1. re: acd123
          piccola RE: acd123 May 20, 2009 08:29 PM

          Just because it's not authentic doesn't mean it won't be good. And at least they're being honest.
          I'll give it a try before writing it off.

          1. re: piccola
            JonasBrand RE: piccola Jul 7, 2009 04:15 AM

            if Liberty Noodle it is anything like Momofuku Noodle Bar, Toronto is in for a treat :D

        2. re: aser
          amerali RE: aser May 22, 2009 05:19 AM

          Hi, my name is Arshad Merali and I am the owner of Liberty Noodle. I wanted to respond to your comment as I think you raise a good point.

          Our intent of the term 'westernized version' was to suggest a more modern decor and approach to service. I'm not sure if you've been to a "typical" Ramen House in Japan, but they tend to be small and crowded. As well, the decor is very traditional and the service, for the most part, is below what we're accustomed to here in Toronto.

          So... what we want to do is focus on the experience as a whole, which obviously has to include food, but also incorporates the design, music, service, people, etc. Our goal is to elevate Ramen to a new level, which is very much along the lines of what we did with sushi when we built Blowfish almost 6 years ago.

          I hope this clarifies things for you and I look forward to seeing you at Liberty Noodle.

          If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at 416-588-4100.

          1. re: amerali
            acd123 RE: amerali May 22, 2009 05:44 AM

            For me, the food is by far and away the most important issue. I would go to a small, noisy and crowded noodle house with delicious ramen before a design focused noodle shop with music, wifi and flavourless ramen.

            I agree that having both would be great. If I have to choose, the food trumps every time.

            I am very much looking forward to trying your place. I have a thing for noodle soup for lunch. Two or three times a week I go to Ossington for pho, Chinatown for wonton noodle, or the not-very-good Japanese place at the head of Atlantic for udon.

            If the broth, noodles and toppings are delicious at Liberty Noodle, you will have a loyal customer. I'll be there regularly for as long as you or I are around.

            Thanks for your post.

            1. re: amerali
              HarryLloyd RE: amerali May 22, 2009 06:45 AM

              I like what you did for sushi, I hope you can replicate it with ramen!


              1. re: amerali
                tjr RE: amerali May 22, 2009 01:31 PM

                For me the food is the most important part. It's a shame you didn't mention it. Your denigration of the atmosphere and service of a "typical" ramen shop shows that you don't really understand what ramen is about anyways. The service you receive at most ramen shops is warm, speedy, and authentic, something that many Toronto restaurants do not get (including your other endeavor). They're supposed to be small and crowded, for very good reasons (which I'll go into below).

                If Liberty Noodle intends to do for ramen what Blowfish did for sushi, I'm not sure there's any reason to doubt what had been said in the thread previously, which is sort of depressing. Unless the "new level" was mediocre quality, mostly inauthentic, sushi for a "specific clientele" at a higher price point than necessary. Please also note that Blowfish is yet another place serving mislabeled food products ("Kobe" beef).

                Understand that, if your product is good, I would be a repeat customer, even though you've shown that you really don't know anything about ramen. In Japan, ramen, like sushi, is something that the chef/owners have dedicated their lives to doing. Despite many of them probably having very high rent due to location, they keep overhead low so they can deliver the best possible product at a reasonable price. They are proud of the food they make, and are extraordinarily dedicated. Now I understand why you assume people will be excited to hear that what should be a $20 bowl of ramen is only $10 at Liberty Noodle, or that you've decided to make ramen healthy, or that people will really love being able to use wifi at your restaurant.

                It may seem like some of us are picky, but that's because we are. This is a board about food, not business concepts. "Elevating," for many of us, means using the best possible ingredients and technique to make the best possible food, something with which you do not appear to be concerned.

                Maybe you should have told us about the food you intend to serve; you know, because this is a board about food.

                1. re: tjr
                  acd123 RE: tjr May 22, 2009 06:32 PM

                  Excellent post. I agree with every word. But I'm still looking forward to trying it.

                  1. re: tjr
                    pinstripeprincess RE: tjr May 23, 2009 07:50 AM

                    have you been to one of those wagamama chain restos? looking at the website for liberty noodle i immediately felt as if they were modeling it with wagamama in mind.

                    i happened upon one in amsterdam, not sure if that location would have affected the quality of the product, but after hearing so many good things about them on the american boards i found them not very good and would eat toronto ramen over those bowls in a second.

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess
                      tjr RE: pinstripeprincess May 23, 2009 09:57 AM

                      Yeah, you're definitely right about that. I've eaten there in London, and it was okay. Their ramen wasn't fantastic, and pretty inauthentic, but some of the other items were pretty good. I'd rather eat there than Spring Rolls, but it isn't really ramen.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess
                        Sandybandy RE: pinstripeprincess Aug 27, 2009 08:20 PM

                        I've been to a Wagamama in Cork, Ireland...I agree that the concept was pretty good but we found that the food lacked the deep flavours that I think Torontonians would want to see in that style of food. I'm absolutely looking forward to Liberty Noodle opening up though and will definitely check it out.

                2. The Chowhound Team RE: acd123 May 21, 2009 06:24 PM

                  Folks, please keeps posts on this thread limited to known facts about Liberty Noodle. Speculation isn't help anyone eat better. A discussion about the merits of authentic vs. Westernized ramen has been split to the General Chowhounding Topics board, and can be found at this link:


                  1. Davedigger RE: acd123 Jun 6, 2009 02:51 PM

                    Any updates on this? Have they opened yet?

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Davedigger
                      robgm RE: Davedigger Jun 7, 2009 03:59 AM

                      i walked by it on my way to mildred's last night and it still isn't open

                      1. re: Davedigger
                        pinstripeprincess RE: Davedigger Jun 7, 2009 04:20 PM

                        give it another month at least.... construction woes i hear.

                        1. re: pinstripeprincess
                          acd123 RE: pinstripeprincess Jun 24, 2009 01:42 PM

                          Based on my peek in the window today, it looks like it is still at least a month away.

                          1. re: acd123
                            robgm RE: acd123 Jun 24, 2009 03:18 PM

                            i peeked too and still much, much work to be done....i wonder if they will take part of the parking for a patio?

                            1. re: robgm
                              robgm RE: robgm Jun 25, 2009 01:50 PM

                              i kind of am answering my own question....i noticed today when walking by that they have stands up now saying that the parking for the 6 spots is for their customers only between 7am and 6pm...i'm thinking patio as opposed to drive up breakfast, lunch and happy hour business....

                              1. re: robgm
                                OnDaGo RE: robgm Jun 25, 2009 03:02 PM

                                same signs are on all parking spaces in front of all liberty village businesses.. so it does not mean much

                                1. re: OnDaGo
                                  robgm RE: OnDaGo Jun 26, 2009 03:16 AM

                                  these ones specifically say for 'liberty noodle customers' and i hadn't noticed the other businesses of 171 liberty street with the same signs

                                  1. re: robgm
                                    OnDaGo RE: robgm Jun 26, 2009 05:07 AM

                                    In front of Brazen Head, in front of Casa Life every occupied store front has reserved parking for thier customers.. unfortunately for some like Atelier there is no parking in front ttheir reserved parking sign is by thier back door...

                                    1. re: OnDaGo
                                      robgm RE: OnDaGo Jun 26, 2009 01:24 PM

                                      thanks, i hadn't noticed, i thought like merci mon ami that they might put a patio there....

                      2. a
                        acd123 RE: acd123 Jul 6, 2009 10:08 AM

                        I just went to their website and it appears that there is a menu available on the "Order Online" link.

                        The online menu does not appear to be fully populated yet, but I think it gives a flavour of what will be available when the place opens, which is soon I hope. When I passed by the other day it looked like they have lots more work to do.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: acd123
                          Davedigger RE: acd123 Jul 7, 2009 07:38 AM

                          From the look of the website menu, I don't think I'll be trying this place. I was really hoping for traditional style ramen. Especially tonkotsu... :(

                          1. re: Davedigger
                            acd123 RE: Davedigger Jul 7, 2009 07:55 AM

                            You might as well try it. Who knows, they may surprise you. All it will take is one visit to know if it sucks or not.

                            1. re: acd123
                              tjr RE: acd123 Jul 7, 2009 09:44 AM

                              Their menu certainly isn't inspiring. I'll try it whenever they open, but if you're looking for authentic Japanese you won't find it here.

                              1. re: acd123
                                Davedigger RE: acd123 Jul 8, 2009 08:02 AM


                                Must. Embrace. Change.

                              2. re: Davedigger
                                skylineR33 RE: Davedigger Jul 7, 2009 10:09 AM

                                The menu looks fine to me, hot and sour chicken ramen.....it certainly looks westernized and from the look of it, they are doing the job right to deliver what it says. Eventhough they are going to put up a tonkotsu, you won't like it anyway if it is made in a healthy and nutritious way as what it says. So why bother looking for it ?

                                1. re: skylineR33
                                  acd123 RE: skylineR33 Jul 7, 2009 10:11 AM

                                  As long as the food is great, I don't care if it is authentic or not.

                                  1. re: acd123
                                    skylineR33 RE: acd123 Jul 7, 2009 10:18 AM

                                    That's right, looking forward for your report on the sweet and sour chicken ramen. Thanks.

                            2. Davedigger RE: acd123 Aug 5, 2009 11:15 AM

                              Any new news?

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Davedigger
                                acd123 RE: Davedigger Aug 5, 2009 12:45 PM

                                I drove by 7 minutes ago on my way back to the office from a meeting. Paper still on the windows. I drive by at least once a day. Seems like it's taking an awfully long time. Maybe they're trying to perfect their stock or their handmade noodles but I'm too pessimistic to think that. If they've been making us wait all this time, building anticipation, and then is SUCKS, I'll be super pissed.

                                ll keep you posted...

                                1. re: acd123
                                  Davedigger RE: acd123 Aug 5, 2009 01:13 PM


                                  1. re: acd123
                                    OnDaGo RE: acd123 Aug 5, 2009 01:26 PM

                                    that whole area is dead.. heard Raaw did not have more then a couple of customers all weekend and Oro is not much better... Liberty Village is not a destination place like distillery and it seems the locals are not being supportive...

                                    1. re: OnDaGo
                                      acd123 RE: OnDaGo Aug 5, 2009 01:36 PM

                                      Oro is pretty bad (although I have not had everything on their menu) and Raaw seems to be a plain vanilla, TO sushi joint. Nothing special.

                                      If there is a top notch noodle house in Liberty Village I'll guarantee you it won't be dead. Walk by School (old Warehouse Grill space) during lunchtime and then tell me if you think the area is dead.

                                      1. re: OnDaGo
                                        robgm RE: OnDaGo Aug 6, 2009 04:19 AM

                                        the whole area isn't dead, Raaw is not the standard for the hood. As much as I hate the Brazenhead-it does well, Mildred's is doing well, Carole's Kitchen is doing well, School is packed on the weekends, Liberty Cafe, Merci Mon Ami...all very consistent with business levels and the whole area is packed when the Toronto FC play.

                                  2. gregclow RE: acd123 Aug 25, 2009 07:45 AM

                                    Liberty Noodle is apparently open for lunch this week, with full hours to start next week.

                                    Still no menu on the website, though.

                                    1. Davedigger RE: acd123 Aug 31, 2009 07:31 AM

                                      A colleague and I went on Friday. The place was a little less than half full. Our waiter arrived quickly with our menus and took our drink orders. The menu was nothing like I expected. Very nouvelle Japanese I guess I'd describe it. They had a Tom Yam Ramen, a Spicy Beef Ramen, and a Chicken Ginger Ramen among others. They had starters that included Curry Gyoza, and Yakitori. Also on the menu were rice dishes and desserts.

                                      Alas, our waiter never returned. After 20 minutes of waiting for our drinks to be delivered and our orders taken, we gave up and left.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Davedigger
                                        robopope RE: Davedigger Aug 31, 2009 09:37 AM

                                        I was also there this past friday and had a similar experience. About 40 minutes into waiting we were asked by our waitress whether we 'had been told about the hour plus wait'? The answer was definitely no...as we would have never been cool with a hour long wait for soup.

                                        In the end our curiosity kept us there and we waited for the ramen (an hour and twenty minutes all in all). I had the Spicy Beef Ramen, which was a braised beef in a curry based sauce with a huge helping of fried noodles on top. Ignoring all claims to authenticity, i liked the flavor of the broth. The ramen noodles themselves were not nearly as chewy as i would have hoped. They were actually closer to mushy.

                                        Service, though, was just abysmal. Our waters ran empty about 40 minutes into waiting and never got refilled. I hope this is just a matter of getting the kinks out.

                                        With most of the menu being priced around or over $10--higher than most places in the neighborhood--it'll be awhile before I try round two.

                                        1. re: robopope
                                          Kasia RE: robopope Aug 31, 2009 10:05 AM

                                          i have to say that's the most ridiculous thing i have read about - 1.5 hour wait for noodles!?!? i'm selfishly glad you waited, just because your report has spared the experience of waiting myself (i was thinking to trying them for lunch this week):)

                                          last week i passed by the place and so peeked in to look at the menu and their hours. the place had no more than 8 people in there - how can they be so swamped? a couple of waiters and the people who were in the open kitchen clearly looked at me but no one acknowledged me, much less walked up to see if i want a seat or perhaps place an order. this all seems so odd - this isn't a novice restauranteur nor is the place dealing with a mad rush of people.if they're banking on the lunch crowd, shouldn't efficient and quick service be at the top of their priorities?

                                          1. re: Kasia
                                            acd123 RE: Kasia Aug 31, 2009 11:48 AM

                                            My office is around the corner. I've been waiting for it to open for months. I have noodle soup for lunch at various places about 2 times a week. If I have to wait over an hour, forget it. I can have pho at Rua Vang, wonton noodle at King's, or Ramen at Kenzo in about half that time, including a drive to get to those places.

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