Inspired by Buzzfeed’s Worth It series, for this article, two Smokies set out to try three different noodle dishes at three different price points. Follow along as writers visit three different restaurants and film videos at each location describing the taste, service, etc. and rate their top picks at the end.
Restaurant: Ranch 99 food court
Noodle Dish: Mi Feng noodles (~$6)
Dry and somehow still unusually oily, Mi Feng noodles from Ranch 99 reflects its cheap price of $6 per serving. The dish is visually unappealing, with only a sparse amount of carrot and cabbage pieces in an otherwise bland and colorless dish. The thin vermicelli noodles were coarse, spongy, and chewy, leaving an unappetizing aftertaste. To make matters worse, the dish significantly lacked flavor and ultimately, all that could be tasted was the excessive amounts of grease and oil. The only saving grace of the dish and restaurant is the environment of the food court. The self-service style allows for a quick and affordable meal and the candescent lighting brightened up the food court ambiance.
Restaurant: Amazing Basil
Noodle Dish: Bun bo hue(~$16)
Colorful in taste and appearance, the Bun Bo Hue from Amazing Basil was the favorite among the three dishes. The dish is served in two separate containers, separating the soup from the rest of the dish and preventing the noodles from becoming soggy. The dish consisted of round rice noodles topped with purple cabbage, brisket, tendon, tripe, and more. With so many components to the dish, everything is tied together with a slightly sour and spicy beef soup. The noodles absorbed the soup, making every bite as flavorful as the last. The refreshing purple cabbage was light and refreshing after enjoying hearty meats and soup. Sadly, the noodles were overcooked, and the soup was saltier than expected. Additionally, a thick layer of oil covered the soup’s surface, leaving both containers slick. However, the service was relatively quick, and the restaurant is aesthetically pleasing with many decorations including hanging string lights, plants, and lush green walls adorned with fake leaves.
Restaurant: Giorgio’s Italian Food
Noodle Dish: Linguini Cacciucco (~$25)
Giorgio’s Linguini Cacciucco will leave no one hungry with its family-style dish served in a large, platter-sized tray. The pasta noodles were cooked al dente, slightly chewy, while not too hard or too soggy. Though the noodles were cooked well, the sauce and seafood fell short. The tomato sauce is relatively thin and oily, sliding right off the noodles, making the dish appear unappetizing. The seafood left a prominent smell, yet added little to no discernable taste to the overall dish, prompting eaters to wonder whether the chefs simply added it to make the dish seem more luxurious on the menu. Unfortunately, the interior of the restaurant is slightly dirty and empty, with dark lighting at all hours of the day. Thus, the ambiance of the restaurant appears gloomy and unwelcoming.
Edited by Web Editor Tanisha Srivatsa