Kalvin's(with a "K") is, from outside appearances, a fairly unassuming Asian Restaurant on Victoria Drive in Vancouver. This belies the fact that the inside is actually very small - the restaurant seats a maximum of 7 tables. Reservations are mandatory or you'll be waiting inside the cramped mini-hallway, or worst case, outside. Tables are seated very close together - keep the claustrophobic at home. You won't be stretching out arms here.
However the inside decor is clean, neat, and distinctly Asian. Don't go in here expecting extravagance because you're here for one reason only - the food. The type of service is on par with many other family-owned Asian places where your order is taken with friendliness with no over-the-top cheerfulness or nonsense. Waters were refilled without prompting, though tea refills were prompted for, but only once.
A definite highlight is the hand-made noodles. The one we ordered was excellent quality, tasted just right for noodles, and had us reaching for more. Other dishes such as the pepper beef were very saucy, and certainly strong on the peppery side. Deep-fried Tofu was on-par with many other Asian restaurants(that's a hard dish to screw up, honestly, unless you seriously scrimp on just about everything), average yet not unpleasant. Balanced tea strength - a small detail, but one nonetheless. Beef-friend rice was a surprise - well tasting for what is normally unremarkable.
The key question to ask is - with an almost guaranteed line-up(if you didn't make reservations) during dinner time - is Kalvin's worth the wait? Especially when the comparable Nancy's Wonton house is literally, only a few steps away?
Kalvin's vs Nancy's
Restaurant appearance and cleanliness: Kalvin's, no contest
Service: Neither side wins
Food Taste: Extremely close one here. Kalvin's has far superior noodles, while Nancy's has the edge on other dishes.
Appeal to non-Asians: Upon seeing the inside decor, Kalvin's wins
Accommodations for larger parties: Nancy's with it's fairly sizable space and comparitively spacious number of tables
Verdict: The average "3" review doesn't tell the whole story. Kalvin's has the appeal, competitive pricing, and fair portion size to warrant many a return to. Just make sure you've made reservations, or you'll be in for a long wait.