Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hoping for an Epic Meal in Yorba Linda

Epic Noodle
17401 Bastanchury Road
Yorba Linda, CA 92886

It's May, so it must be time for another family celebration. I am always interested to see where my family picks to eat for dinner for these things. There are three nieces in my family to consider, ages 12, 10 and 7, so you have to factor them into the decision making. This time it was my sister's turn to pick, since it was her birthday. She decided on a place close to their house, Epic Noodle in Yorba Linda.

The rest of my family had been to Epic Noodle before, and all really liked it. This would be my first visit here. Epic Noodle is a Mongolian BBQ place located at the intersection of Bastanchury and Imperial Highway. Kind of in an awkward shopping center, with no direct access from Imperial Highway. If you are coming north on Imperial, then you'll have to make a right on Los Angeles Street, and work your way back to the restaurant.

Epic Noodle has been around for three yeas, and has had one ownership change that I know of. According to Yelp reviews, it seems that people are more partial to the last owners than the current owners, but that's only if you choose to believe the people on Yelp, (which I usually don't).

At Epic Noodle the barbecue buffet is located in the front of the restaurant. As with many all you can eat places there are some rules you need to follow. Every glass partition above the food asks that you not smash down the food in your bowl. Not sure why this is a big deal, so I smashed all of my stuff down. It is all you can eat, but once you get your second plate, you are not allowed to take leftovers home with you. You then take it to the guy, who grills it on the heated circular table. Here's a few shots of the process.

Okay that was way more than a few pictures, but this way you get the process. For the less adventurous, they had some suggested bowls you could make. They offer four kinds of meat at Epic Noodle; beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. The meat comes curled and frozen, maybe to prevent you from overfilling your bowl. Their menu states that they have 24 veggies to fill your bowl with, and I'll have to take their word for it, because I was not going to bother counting vegetables. They did have more sauce options than other Mongolian BBQ restaurants I have been to. I spotted twelve kinds of sauces that could be mixed and matched to create your desired flavor for your bowl. Lastly, you have the option of topping your bowl with the neon orange noodles provided. At this point, getting all the noodles to stay in my bowl, was like me trying to play Jenga after a few cocktails. I managed to get it over to the guy without dropping too much on the floor. From there it is dumped on the steam table, doused with water and oil, then placed on your plate with your choice of rice.

My first plate ($12.95 for all you can eat) was made up of all the items that would make it spicy. I started with lamb and pork, then added jalapenos, onions, peppers, fire sauce and hot sauce. When I first got back to the table, I noticed this was not nearly as spicy as I would have hoped. It only got a little spicy with the addition of the Sriracha that was provided on each table. I think the amount of oil and water added during cooking kind of diluted the sauces. The lamb and pork were not very tender here either. Really tough to get through, and they were in too big of pieces. I went with their famous bacon rice, which was cooked fine, but the bacon really did not come through for me here. Tasted just like fried rice from other places.

Soup and Bread is also included in the cost, maybe from keeping you from making too many trips through the buffet line. The soup here is kind of like a vegetable chicken soup. There were some big hunks of chicken in here, along with the lots of veggies. It had a decent flavor to it. I'm used to having pocket bread with Mongolian BBQ, but with this bread you could not make a pocket out of it. I took one bite of this bread, and that was it for me. Not very fresh, and not worth filling up on.

Since my niece's were here, and they are not too fond of Mongolian BBQ, they opted for the Chicken Nuggets with Fries ($6.95) instead. Lillie and Gracie were not too fond of these, and they did look like they were over cooked a bit. They even had a hard time getting through the frozen fries here, which is surprising since they are french fry fiends.

Yes I had one other plate before I left Epic Noodle. This time I went with chicken and beef as my proteins, then added white and green onions, noodles, and a ton of their garlic based sauce. Again the sauce was kind of bland, and I had to add Sriracha to bring my plate alive. At least the beef and chicken were easier to get through, than the pork and lamb. These meats are a much better choice here. I did not finish my plate, but made a pretty good dent in it. I felt bad about leaving food, but they were pretty stringent about not giving me a to go container for this second plate of mine.

I left Epic Noodle kind of feeling like I knew I would when I walked in. I know that does not sound like I had an open mind coming here, but we all have preconceived notions walking into a restaurant, and it's up to the restaurant to change our minds. Epic Noodle did not do that for me on this trip. The food was all fresh, but kind of lacked flavor. We have definitely been to better Mongolian restaurants than Epic Noodle. The service that we had on this night was pretty good. The employees working the table were all very nice, and the wait staff were all very friendly. Glad we made it through another family get together, looking forward to seeing where our next one will be.

Out of five maple leafs, (because the longest spaghetti noodle ever created was 503 epic feet long, and created in Toronto, which is also home to the Maple Leafs), five being best to zero being worst, Epic Noodle gets 2 maple leafs.

For more information about Epic Noodle, go to their web site here: http://www.epicnoodle.com/index.php

 Epic Noodle on Urbanspoon

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