A Delicious Experience
Leon’s Wonton and Noodle House
10634 – 97 Street
“The more people there are, the more delicious it is!” was once told to me by an Asian friend. The adage proved true at Leon’s Wonton and Noodle House, an unpretentious little place on 97 Street. I went for lunch, eyed the goldfish aquarium at the entrance, noticed that almost all eleven tables were full, and grabbed a spot near the window. Leon’s is simple, neat, and cozy, nothing to distract one from the main purpose of the place: good food.
The menu was placed under the plastic table covering, so no need to wait for service. It wouldn’t have mattered, as a server came by almost immediately with tea and a place setting. The tea came in the ubiquitous white pot with the small cup and the chopsticks were real ones, not those break apart wooden ones in paper sleeves. Since I’m a tea snob, the tea seemed over-steeped, but this wasn’t English high tea. I was there for food.
And food there was! About 125 items made up the tabletop menu, mostly between eight and ten dollars. The restaurant’s namesakes seemed appealing, so I ordered a bowl of shrimp wonton soup and a plate of vermicelli noodles with homemade XO sauce. (“Homemade” gets me every time, whether it’s true or not.) The server, though busy, was friendly enough to explain that the noodle dish consisted of pork, shrimp, green onions, carrot, bean sprouts, and eggs.
The soup came very quickly and was exactly how it should be: a rich, flavourful broth filled with plenty of wontons (ten!) that were more than just “shrimp-flavoured.” The taste and texture of baby shrimp was the primary ingredient, wrapped in a smooth and tender wonton. Shortly thereafter, a mound of noodles arrived. Steaming hot as well as piled high, it pulled me away from the delectable soup so I could dive into it. The dish was prepared with the perfect blend of flavours in the exact right combinations. While there was a “hot” pepper on the menu, I wondered why…until a little later when the chili snuck up on me. But it was the flavour, more than just spiciness, that was bold and complemented the vegetables, meat, noodles, and sauce. The soup and noodles were, like the place itself, genuine and satisfying.
At the end of the meal (or I should say after half a meal), the bill arrived on simple adding machine tape. I knew the place only took cash and I didn’t even need to spend an entire twenty for enough food for at least two days. Open from 10-8 daily (except Wednesdays), Leon’s epitomizes what’s best in a restaurant: delicious food, friendly servers, sturdy portions, modest prices, and a comfortable place. It clearly demonstrates why the adage is true: many people are attracted to great food.