Dim Sum @ 4040 Finch East
I've been a devotee of dim sum since the days of the Hong King Bakery on Dundas in the 70s. I love the flavours and style of this meal and seek it out wherever I go. Downtown, I usually go to Sky Dragon because the food is good and reasonably priced. However, the one nagging deficiency of most dim sum spots is the service. Even if its not obvious or overt (the Pacific Restaurant in Scarborough was brutal) I usually get the feeling the staff would prefer if I wasn't there.
I'm excited to report an exception to this rule. A friend and I recently at the massive seafood dim sum spot at 4040 Finch East and we were both struck by how the service matched the incredible food. Let me be specific: lobster bones were cleared three times during the meal, water was refilled without request, specials were offered with recommendations (lobster noodles for $12 was incredible) and every cart stopped to show us their wares without any need to wave someone to stop. The dishes we had were among the finest examples of their kind and many were new to me.
One of the cart ladies offered us what sounded like "chicken face". The quizzical expression on my face led her to show me the dish - it was chicken feet (which I love). She asked me to say the name and I explained the difference between chicken feet and chicken face. Every time she passed us she'd ask pronunciation questions in the most charming way.
At the end of the meal I sought out the Manager and let him know how fantastic our experience was. He seemed surprised which says it all: when the people in charge set high service expectations its not surprising when the staff delivers.
I'm not sure of the name of the place but you can't possibly miss it. The dim sum and service was THE BEST I've ever had.
I think the place is called "Very Fair Seafood Cuisine", at 17 Milliken Blvd off Finch, 1 Block E. of Kennedy. 4040 Finch E. is the address of the medical bldg at the SW corner of the mall.
I also think its located where "City Chinese Restaurant" used to be. I remember that restaurant advertised a capacity of 400 seats.
I went yesterday with my wife - Wow! I will definitely be going back!
Unfortunately, with only 2 of us, we couldn't sample a lot, but everything was excellent. Dishes we've had elsewhere were a cut above - for example, the eggplant with minced shrimp inside (with the brown sauce - no idea what it's called) is something my wife always likes to order. Here, it was fresher, with the eggplant more tender, and huge balls of shrimp stuff inside. There were also lots of items I haven't seen at other dim sum places. For example, we had shrimp dumplings that were like har gow, but the wrapper was open, and it appeared to have shrimp and scallop (and perhaps other seafood) - it was very good. My favorite pork and chive pan fried dumplings were also a little more special, not only in taste, but in pieces of shrimp in it as well.
The only complaint was that some of the dishes were lukewarm (almost room temperature). I'm not sure if that is just the way they are served, though.
The place was packed with tons of carts going by all the time. Although some cart ladies just went right past us - not sure if they thought non-Chinese wouldn't eat some things? Also, a lot of the cart ladies spoke no english, so there was a lot of guess work, but I kind of see that as part of the fun. I noticed we were the only caucasians there, in a huge almost full place - I take that as a good sign, that it must be good if everyone in the Scarborough chinese community seems to know about it.
Also, we were shocked by the price, in a good way. We were very full, and had enough leftovers for a third person to have a meal, and our bill was $21 (before tax).
I will certainly be going back. Anyone else been there? I wish I could read the specials list on cards on the table - I bet there's some good stuff!
Thanks for the recc Zane! BTW, when are you moving your place to your new digs?