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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

Bustling hole-in-the-wall 2nd floor resto in Chinatown. Some might think the Cantonese food is too greasy, since most things seem to be stir fried with a thickened glaze. There is a sufficient Asian-to-Caucasian ratio to warrant it attention. It’s politically incorrect, but realistically a good gauge of Chinese restaurant quality if there are more Asians to Caucasians diners. Lots of large tables with lazy susans and lots of slurping. Yes, there is General Tao’s chicken and Kung Pao chicken, too. The soups seemed to be popular – perhaps one day I’ll get my husband to try the shark fin soup or one of the various squid and seafood dishes with me. The chowmein is tasty, but needs to be eaten quickly before the sauce soaks into it. The mushrooms, bamboo and bokchoy were ok, too. Two main dishes is sufficient for two people. Many specials are written on the walls in Chinese.

70 Rue de la Gauchetiere O. at Rue St. Urbain

metro: Place d’Armes

See my September 2009 review here.

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Dynasty is easy to spot on Route-22 thanks to its tall sign with lobsters on it and the stone lions guarding the doors. The best to go is right when the restaurant opens at 11am to get a table for dimsum on the weekend, because this is a popular dimsum place with long waiting lines during peak hours. Newly renovated a couple of years ago, it now has a bar and a nicer, slightly more open dining area. Gone (unfortunately) are the big fish tanks by the door and the paper parasols that used to decorate the ceiling, but now part of the kitchen is visible through glass, which adds some entertainment value.

Carts are pushed around the dining area, but also sometimes waiters with trays of dishes will pass by. Service is usually quick, though during peak times it can be hard to get immediate attention. But the dishes are excellent. There’s hot and tender taro cake, plump chive dumplings, steaming and fragrant lotus rice, tender tripe, and those long steamed noodles wrapped around shrimp and basted with soy sauce. When we accidentally ordered a dish, thinking it was something else, they immediately took it back and crossed it off our bill without blinking. There’s a good variety of foods and they’re always hot and fresh.

100 U.S. 22  Green Brook, NJ 08812, USA

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Don’t let the shady exterior fool you (entrance in an alley, rundown look, rusty gate half-pulled over door, walking up creaking stairs to the 2nd floor dining room). It’s also just outside of Chinatown. Actually, the interior looks a little shady, too – plastic over the tables, rundown look, etc..

This hole in the wall is one of the better, authentic Chinese restos in Montreal, though food is variable. Round tables are big enough for large parties, lazy susans are propped up against the wall, a/c during the summer, and never more than 1 or 2 other diners when we’ve been here. Food is brought up from the 1st floor kitchen using a dumb-waiter. I loved their crispy salt and pepper beef, stir fried green beans with salty ground pork, spicy garlic eggplant and crispy shrimp (with the heads still attached), sizzling beef, and even the Kung Po Chicken. This is not a tourist trap – the prices are very reasonable and you’ll often see the servers busy making fresh little dumplings in the middle of the restaurant.

Service is a little spotty, sometimes due to language difficulties. I discussed language issues in Chinatown restaurants with one mainland Chinese server (who no longer works there) who said that at some places they require English (for customers), French (for customers), Cantonese (for the chef), and Vietnamese (for the chef and other servers). This particular restaurant seems to be primarily Chinese with a bit of English and French. I overheard some diners callously trying to play word games with the servers in an attempt to prove their intellectual superiority, and winced at hearing the servers try to earnestly answer the lateral questions (the diners thought that 20 dumplings for ~$5 had to be a typo on the menu; it wasn’t, but they insisted that there must be a translation error and refused to accept the server’s assurances that there were indeed 20 dumplings per plate).

Food quality can also be variable – 1st time willowy beef was phenomenal, but 2nd and 3rd time it was harsher and lacking in something. I don’t think they offer willowy beef anymore – the boiled spicy beef is similar without the tofu. Just don’t eat one of the dried red peppers or you’ll be very sorry.

1163 Rue Clark at Boulevard Rene Levesque Ouest

metro: Place d’Armes, Saint-Laurent, or Place des Arts

See my September 2009 review here.

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One of our favourite Chinese restos in Montreal is going away at the end of the month. The owners of Baguette d’Ivoire are retiring and have sold the resto to someone else. So there will still be a restaurant there, but it won’t ever be the same. We’ve been trying to go more frequently since we heard.

Western (pink) décor belies good Chinese food, and not cheap takeout, either. Real Chinese food, resulting from decades of culinary experience. They even have a big gold fish tank. Some spicy Thai options on the menu as well. Kudos regarding the crispy taro birds nest mango chicken and the juicy and tender basil beef is the most popular dish on the menu. While the food is great, the best part of dinner is the feisty server/co-owner. Resto always deserted when we’ve dined, but the waiter assures us it fills up unexpectedly. Interior is better kept than those in Chinatown.

1242 Rue Mackay at Rue St. Catherine O.

Metro: Guy-Concordia (also Lucien L’Allier, if you’re on the orange line)

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Buried on the second floor of an unassuming little mall in Chinatown lies a bustling, no-frills dimsum resto. Dimsum is served everyday. The rapid turnover is impressive, even at 1pm on a Sunday with a crowded waiting area, and once seated it is easy to get a cart server’s attention. Dish selection is decent, and our favourite is the fragrant lotus-wrapped sticky rice.  The quality of the food is fine, but nothing special. It’s best to get a table close to where the carts are coming out, or you might get cold food; we were once served cold deep fried taro-wrapped pork. When you want to pay, you have to wave down a waiter – clad in black – and they calculate your bill.  The tab for 5 dimsum dishes was an astonishingly cheap $18, sans tip (it would have been a few bucks more had they had chive dumplings).

1111 Rue St. Urbain, Unit M05 (2nd floor) at Blvd. Rene Levesque O.

metro: Place d’Armes

 

See November 2009 review here.

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I’m happy to report that after multiple satisfying exploratory visits, this little dumpling joint is one of the hidden gems of Chinatown. Watch your dumplings being made one by one through the open kitchen, as you watch the looped opening floor show from the 2008 Beijing Olympics played on the overhead tv set. The interior is clean but small, but we’ve never yet had trouble getting a table. The inexpensive dumplings are boiled or fried and come 15 to a plate – 2-3 plates are sufficient for two hungry people. One downside with sharing is that empty plates have to be requested and barely fit on the table. To avoid spurting hot dumpling soup all over the table – and one’s dining partner – I recommend taking a small bite from the top of a hot dumpling, sucking out the broth, and then eating the rest as a whole… unless you’re the sort of person who can guzzle steaming coffee straight from the carafe. All of the selections have been great, except perhaps the curry dumpling, which when fried turned out just a bit too oily.

Metro: Place d’Armes

1084 boulevard Saint-Laurent and boulevard Rene-Levesque

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If you like handmade Chinese dumplings, and only handmade Chinese dumplings, then this is your hole-in-the-wall. If you want anything else, like egg rolls or General Tso’s Chicken or fortune cookies, this is not the place for you. The dumplings here are small, tasty, and so juicy that you have to either stick a whole dumpling in your mouth to prevent squirting liquid across the table, or bite a tiny bit from the top and suck out a little bit of the broth before eating the rest of it (both options impossible while the little silk purses are still scalding hot from the kitchen).

Service and decor is minimal, but one doesn’t require much service or decor to enjoy a platter of dumplings. I recommend the fried option instead of steaming, since it isn’t oily at all and leaves the dumpling slightly chewy. The price might not be as cheap as one would expect from a hole-in-the-wall, but dumplings like this can’t be found just anywhere in Montreal.

Metro: Guy-Concordia

1676 Avenue Lincoln at Rue Guy

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