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Aug 20, 2004 12:04 AM

House of Chan: best steaks in TO

  • j

A delicious dinner tonight - filet prime as always: 3 of the 14 oz to split between two of us - plus those crispy onion straws. No frills. Just great beef. And prompt service. A winner.

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  1. f
    Frederic Tutundjian

    Can i ask how much did the bill come up to?

    9 Replies
    1. re: Frederic Tutundjian

      2 martinis, sliced pork app, 3 large filets with accompanishments including salads, 4 diet cokes - $220 + tip

      1. re: John
        Frederic Tutundjian

        Isn't this quite expensive.... and you didn't even have any wine or dessert??????

        1. re: Frederic Tutundjian

          House of Chan isn't cheap, but it is pretty good. What's best is the weird retro-Chinese decour. It looks like a stereo-typical 1970s Chinese restaurant (The kind that used to have a sign out front saying, "Serving Chinese and Canadian Food") except done with Hollywood production values.

          I went for the Porterhouse (I think it as around $40) when I went there, and it was good.

          This place has long been regarded as one of the better Steak Houses, as well as a neighbourhood secret.

          1. re: Alan
            Frederic Tutundjian

            I see what you mean. However, I have a hard time imagining that I could pay 40 dollars and up for a piece of grilled meat, no matter how fine or tender (and I love beef). I have no problems paying 35-40 dollars for a dish, if it is something that has lots of preparation and/or special ingredients in it.
            But it's only my opinion...

            1. re: Frederic Tutundjian

              All the more reason to splurge and go to Ruth Chris' or Tom Jones !

              1. re: 2Saltyknees

                Went to Ruth's Chris once, never again. Really didn't care for it at all, give me Barberians any day.

        2. re: John

          You ordered THREE 14-ounce filets for TWO people?

          That's one major reason your bill was so high.

          1. re: John

            For two people? Wow. That's a lot of beef.

          2. HOC is a special sort of Steak house. Cheap Red Vinly booths and dark atmosphere that I hope are never replaced. Not the biggest or even best steaks but a great evening everytime I go. I save it for special occasions. Sorry but a Ruth Chris or even a Morton's chain is like eating at Walmart compared to HOC.

            1 Reply
            1. re: justlogic

              Barberians isnt like walmart and its WAY better.

            2. H of C is definitely unique and may evoke strong emotions of a lost time and place. It certainly isn't a chain and it has personality in spades. You may love the dark, seedy atmosphere and fantasize about what the guy at the next table might do for a living. But great steaks?

              They have had this steak & lobster rep for a very long time, but I always found it to be outrageously expensive, mediocre food. Perhaps the steaks live up to their reputation if they know and like you. But I've had better steaks from Loblaws.

              At least nobody is singing the praises of their Chinese food.

              5 Replies
              1. re: embee

                They do have great lobsters though. Always tender and sweet. Perfectly prepared. I think they do lobster best and steaks get to tag along...oh and the fried onion "rings"!

                So true about the seedy atmosphere and the mysterious patrons!!! LOL

                1. re: deelicious

                  Wah Sing's lobsters are a lot cheaper and, I'd contend, a lot tastier.

                  1. re: embee

                    I'm sure you're talking about Wah Sang, which is the brother downstairs' restaurant. It was sliding about 5 years ago, and my family has not returned since. How is the food today?

                    1. re: dlw88

                      Wah Sing but, to be fair, I haven't been to the place in quite a while and I haven't been to House of Chan since about 1985.

                      1. re: embee

                        I get to HoC at least once a year and I have to say that the lobster is really great and they stock from small to very large.

                        The steak may not be the best in TO but it is still better than the keg. Problem is that it is all at premium prices.

              2. I still don't get House of Chan. Moving into the neighbourhood ten years ago, we gave it a try. We weren't impressed with the food (including iceberg lettuce salads with bottled dressings), and found the place dark and "triste."

                We seem to give House of Chan a try every three to four years, just to try to get a handle on what native Torontonians are still raving about.

                We still don't get it. What really annoys me, though, is the closed-up storefront. I think that a huge picture window replacing those awful green boards would do wonders to the space. Just my opinion. I'll probably get blasted by born-and-raised Forest Hillers for dissing House of Chan.

                2 Replies
                1. re: FlavoursGal

                  The closed up storefront and triste darkness are key elements of their ambiance. So are the iceberg, the unripe tomatoes, the bottled dressings, etc. So is the "Chinese" food. I assume that seeing people order it would be a source of giggles to the regulars. I'd be dumbfounded to see them change anything. I think a reno (of food or atmosphere) would be their death knell.

                  1. re: embee

                    You're probably right. Re the Chinese food, I remember that, a few years ago, while working with a neighbourhood architect, he told me had to get to House of Chan for his fix of egg rolls, "the best in the city." Naturally, I had to go to check them out. I still don't get it.

                2. If you want a steak that's truly great, go directly to the Tulip. If you want a steak that's got a reputation, go to House Of Chan.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: sweetspotlee

                    Funny. I would say the EXACT opposite!

                    1. re: deelicious

                      Hey, it's all one's own opinion!... I should clarify one thing - in particular, it's Tulip's beef tenderloin steak that's outstanding. I can't comment on any other cuts. And I've been a vegetarian for five years, so I can't double check anymore. lol.

                      1. re: sweetspotlee

                        The porterhouse at Tulip is still pretty darn good. And the steak & eggs breakie is one of the best deals in the city.