Mmm, Big Beef Bowl (大牛碗). This was an amazing lunch of northern-style (Lan zhou style) Chinese noodles!! Ken and I headed here on a Saturday around 1 p.m. Big Beef Bowl is located on 1 Byng Street (tucked away from Yonge Street south of Finch) in North York. Look out for Byng Street when you are looking for it otherwise you might miss it like we did. It’s a very simple restaurant storefront with tiny letters even for their signage. After dining here though, I knew that they didn’t need any flashy signs or logos to proclaim their spot because their noodles will bring you back time and time again after you’ve had it once. Word of mouth about this wonderful restaurant has also ensured that they are busy all the time!
Walking in, it was a very small restaurant that used up every single part of its space efficiently. This could have been a Japanese ramen house too as the tightness of the space reminded me of it. There were only three tables inside with two bar tables. A lot of their orders seemed to be take-out orders too for the neighbouring condos. This was the perfect thing to have on a freezing cold windy day that felt like it was minus 20 degrees outside.
Their menu was concise and simple. Their main draw are the hand pulled noodles, of which you can select your desired noodle thickness. You could customize each bowl too with added meat if you preferred. They had four major types of noodles to choose from though: Classic Beef, Braised Beef Brisket, Beef with Pickled Mustard and Shitake Mushrooms, and Meat Sauce. They also had various skewers, dumplings, and cold dishes too. The included beverage were either hot tea or cold water.
After placing our order with one of two servers, our spot allowed us to see the noodle chef in action. He would pull apart the flour and then smack it on the table to separate the noodle into the desired thickness before placing it into the hot broth. I liked how all the noodles were freshly made and the open kitchen made it easy to see how the process worked. The other two servers were responsible for adding the condiments and other ingredients into each bowl. The noodle chef was also the one responsible for firing up the skewers too. There was another staff working behind the scenes too. What an efficient small team!
The Chili Cumin Lamb BBQ skewer came in two skewers which was perfect for us. We both enjoy cumin on lamb and thought this was quite tasty. We could choose between spicy or non-spicy and we chose the latter version for this visit. The lamb was gamey and tasted good. I think the spicy version would have tasted even better too.
Very quickly after that, our two big bowls of beef noodles arrived. I selected the small size bowl of the Beef with Pickled Mustard and Shitake Mushrooms with flat thick noodles. This was a steaming hot bowl of noodles with slices of beef on top and the picked mustard pieces to the side. I actually didn’t see any shitake mushrooms in my bowl… hmm. Nevertheless, the soup was really fresh and simple. The pickled mustard had a bit of spice and contributed it to the flavour of the soup. It was seriously the best comfort food to be enjoying on such a cold day.
I was impressed with the quality of the hand pulled flat thick noodles. I had a tiny fear that they would have been hard and chewy since they were thicker noodles, but these were so soft and smooth. The noodles submerged in the beef broth made it even more tasty with each slurp. The thin slices of beef were perfect too. If this bowl had too much beef, it would have made it too heavy to eat. The bowl was mostly of noodles, which I liked. There were actually a lot of noodles in the bowl too; it was filled up all the way from the bottom of the bowl to the top. For the price of $7.99, I thought this was a very good deal!
Ken chose the large size of the Classic Beef also with flat thick noodles. His soup both was more clear than mine since it only had the beef and noodles. Since the noodles were all made to order and by hand, the thickness and quality of the noodles differed from bowl to bowl. I say this because the flat thick noodles in Ken’s bowl were more ‘flat’ than mine were. Mine actually resembled more of the flat regular since some of the noodles were more twisted up. He really enjoyed the noodles, as did I. 😀
There were a lot of people at one point in the restaurant during our stay. A lot of people were here for lunch or here to buy take-out.
They also have a signature spicy oil that is available on the table to each guest. They also have this in containers for sale too!
Again, I was really impressed with Big Beef Bowl and was so content to be able to try this great noodle place out. ^_^ #noodlelove