Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Famously Cheap Yet Delicious – The Famous Warehouse

on August 23, 2012

ImageAugust 21, 2012
The Famous Warehouse, Vancouver BC
Union Street Noodle Salad
Sweet Chipotle Chili Chicken
Mama T’s Crunchy Mac and Cheese
Yam Fries
Chiang Mai Bowl

Even early on a Tuesday evening, the line was never-ending for a table at The Famous Warehouse. I met up with two buddies, Jason and Rachael, both of whom I have not seen for over a year. At least we were busy exchanging stories while we waited. Even as we ate, people were constantly lining up. That just goes to show how popular $4.95 for decent sized entrees really are.

First up was one of their specialties, the Union Street Noodle Salad. It came in a decent sized bowl with lots of chow mein noodles. They were cooked with a soy sauce of sorts and while al dente and chewy, were extremely salty. At least the texture was good. The noodles were topped with a spring mix tossed in a sweet soy and ginger dressing. It did not have a strong acidic or tangy taste to it, which I was wishing for to balance out the saltiness of the noodles. The cucumber slices and pea shoots were refreshing at least and the avocado was creamy and smooth, offering the bland flavour I needed. The almonds I missed but the sesame seeds gave a nice aroma. The diced, marinated grilled chicken on top were nicely seasoned on the outside but way too dry and gritty. However, for $4.95, it was quite a good deal.

The Sweet Chipotle Chili Chicken were served on a bed of tortilla strips and jasmine rice. The few pieces of chicken had a good batter coating, not too deep fried but still crispy and soaked up the sauce nicely. The sesame seeds on top added that extra aroma to the delicious sweet and tangy sauce. It was not as spicy as I would have liked but the flavour was still great. The cucumbers were again very refreshing. I also enjoyed the tortilla strips and rice since they were coated with the sauce and thus became very tasty. This was by far the smallest plate of the evening but the flavour was spot on so no one minded. Image

I heard rave reviews of Mama T’s Crunchy Mac and Cheese so it was a must try for us. It came piping hot and creamy. The macaroni was cooked al dente and coated completely with the gooey cheese sauce that was a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and alfredo. It was a mild but rich and creamy cheese so while not the strongest of flavours, it was not bland. The smooth texture was great when mixed with the parmesan crust topping and the somewhat hidden crispy cornflakes. It was slightly seasoned from the thyme, which certainly made it better. I like my mac and cheese with ketchup so I added that to my plate. However, even without the ketchup, I did enjoy the simple cheese and pasta dish. The green onion garnish on top seemed a little out of place with a flavour so much stronger and incompatible with the dish. The cheesy pasta itself, though, was economic comfort food at its best; it was quite a large portion so we were satisfied.Image

We were not full after three plates, so we went ahead and got an order of Yam Fries. These were not the best that I have had. While each fry was large and thick, they were also slightly soggy by the time the bowl of them arrived at the table. I missed that delicious crunch, which is the defining factor in yam fries. I did appreciate that they were not overly oily but I would have liked them to be crispier. They were served with macho sauce, which is pretty much just chipotle mayo. I enjoyed the kick from the heat mixed with the tangy and creamy mayonnaise was quite a contrast with the sweet aroma of the yam. This is when two very different flavours work harmoniously together. If only they were brought out right after being fried, I would have been satisfied. There are certainly times when the food should not be brought out at the same time if they were not finished together.

ImageFinally, we also got the Chiang Mai Bowl. The ingredients were plentiful but simple: fat hoikken noodles, red and green bell peppers, onions, carrots, celery, pea sprouts, and broccoli. The dish was made with quite a lot of sesame oil, stir fried in a wok, and served in a metal wok-like bowl with handles. It looked quite cool and the colours were vibrant. The spicy soy chili sauce, in addition to the sesame oil taste, was tangy, spicy, and slightly sweet. Clearly, it was a pub’s version of Asian stir fry noodles. I did like the flavour though, and the noodles and vegetables were all coated in more than enough of the sauce. I found it to be slightly on the greasy side, so perhaps less sesame oil will have been better. I loved the extra crunch from the almond slivers. The vegetables were refreshing and not mushy; the noodles were chewy and al dente. This was another of my favourites of the night and while it is not a big portion, it would be enough for me.

Overall, considering the $4.95 pricing, I was extremely pleased with our meal. The flavours were not outstanding but they were still mostly very decent for comfort food. It is so much better than fast food, which nowadays is roughly the same price, if not more expensive. For $10 per person, this was such a good deal of cheap yet still good-tasting food. They have quite an extensive menu for such a small place, and there are certainly more dishes I could have tried. The ambiance was extremely casual, quite noisy as it was a pub. The servers were friendly but I found them to be quite underdressed. It is certainly not a place for anything close to fine dining in a quiet restaurant with elegant decor but rather a rowdy place to catch up over cheap and tasty food.

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