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Sep 17, 2009 11:37 AM

liberty noodle review

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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  1. funny, i wasn't keen on going either after reading all of the other posts re: service and not so good food. we were hungry, wanted noodle soup and didn't want to cook - we were at liberty village to return a movie and didn't want to walk all the way down to pho 21 in the cold last night so we ended up at liberty noodle. we walked in at about 8pm, only a few tables, maybe 5? waited at the front desk for almost 5 minutes, too long if the restaurant wasn't busy! just about to walk out, the manager, or who i think was the manager walked over to show us a table. he takes us to a table that wasn't even ready to be seated yet - barely wiped down and not set, only chopsticks. for an establishment who's owners are also responsible for blowfish i'm appalled that the chopsticks were set upside down at the table - it's like throwing forks and knives randomly at the table! No asian restaurants would ever place chopsticks with the eating end closest to the edge of the table! the service was a bit too slow for my liking considering it was slow for what's supposed to be prime dinner hour on a friday night.. about 10 minutes to take our drink orders. we had already had enough time to read the menu and decide on what we want and still sat around waiting for our server to greet us. i ordered the spicy beef ramen and my husband ordered the garlic chili chicken rice. my ramen was ok at best, broth was spicy but no flavour, very little beef and mushrooms and too much soup to hide the fact that portions were too small. the portion for my husbands dish was also really small, luckily he's recovering from an accident and doesn't eat a lot. before our meal i was scanning the entire menu and noticed they had mochi's so i decided i'll try it at the end of our meal to see just how much r&d they did. sadly the mochi was beyond edible. the ice cream inside was ok, but the glutinous rice outer layer was hard and stale! so i ate the ice cream and left the outer layer in the bowl... when the server came to clear our plates and saw the remains in the bowl gave me a questioning look as if "what you didn't like it?" i explained that i was used to the softer texture of real mochi and this was much too hard to eat. the server didn't offer an apology nor to take it off our bill. since my back was towards the rest of the dinning room, my husband noticed that the server mentioned something to the manager regarding the mochi, but nothing came out of it, he only came back with the bill. so we paid and left the minimal tip required and left. even as we were leaving the dinning room wasn't even full. sadly i think they spent too much money on decor, not enough on r&d, service and quality. i don't think we'll see them around for much longer unless someone from the establishment reads reviews and posts re: their resto.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jeannieh20

      I have spoken to many locals in the area who have tried it and the reviews all seem to be the same. Poor service, long waits, unexciting food, and too expensive given that it is just normal, not special, grub.

      Not one person has suggested that we try it.

      I agree that if they don't make some extreme changes soon, even the cold winter won't help them attract business.

      1. re: jeannieh20

        I had a similiar experience or I rather say much worse. At the beginning the staff would act all sincere but then they do nothing about it. I mean if you don't care and don't change, why ask? It seems like they don't understand the true meaning of hospitality. A true shame!!!!

        1. re: jeannieh20

          Spring Rolls for ramen, as expected. The owner did post a comment prior to them opening, I think, so maybe he's taking notes? Or not.

          1. Dare I say, I enjoyed this place. I had the curry beef ramen and it totally hit the spot. I can't compare it to any other ramen experience that Ive had (because I haven't had any) but I thought the flavor was there. The service was very fast ,not overly friendly, and the price reflected the amount of meat I had in my bowl (not much). Although I can't say if they worked out kinks they had when they opened, I can say I will return because its in my neighborhood.

            1. anyone been to this place recently?

              3 Replies
              1. re: chalenegirl

                I haven't been yet but it is on today's teambuy...

                $30 of food for $15

       (can only buy up to 11:59pm March 8th


                I have been meaning to try it even though some reviews have said it is cafeteria quality food...

                1. re: ylsf

                  Score, thanks for the link. It is a regular fave of mine, but I hope this doesn't mean its struggling. They got slammed by the critics their first couple of months. Possibly well deserved, but I would never compare one of my experiences to a cafeteria.

                2. re: chalenegirl

                  I went a few days ago (not my choice). Service was ok, we went for dinner and the place was almost entirely empty. Had the chicken ginger ramen and the broth was completely bland. I had extremely low expectations going into dinner and got what I expected. Nothing terrible but nothing which makes me want to return. Umm but the benches are nice - there's space for storage under them.

                3. Hi I went there with my SO when it first opened and we were really disappointed. We live in the neighbourhood and had high hopes for this place. We went later in the evening and the place was pretty much empty except for a hug party of about 20. They were super loud and the acoustics of the place didn't help. Anyway we had the gyoza dumlings to star which were ok. Then we both had the noodle bowls. I has the Salmon Sashimi one whihc was SO BAD. It was really fishy and I couldnt eat it. MY SO had the spicy beef which was pretty good but nothing special. We havent been back, and I don't think we will.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MJMac

                    they seem to be building a huge patio, i don't know if they actually need to extra seating space....

                    has anyone been to their new venture-chuck & co. for burgers yet?