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Move over 'Yang's' - Here comes the 'Emperor'!

Ever since its opening a few months ago, Yang's in Richmond Hill has been my preferred destination for high end Chinese cuisine. Though the food and service still remain consistently good, however its getting a bit monotonous. As such, for a change, we decided to give the relatively new 'Emperor Fine Chinese Cuisine' further down the road a try tonight. ( corner of Bayview and Blackmoor in Richmond Hill ).

The chefs, I was told were ex-chefs from Scarborough's Sam Woo Seafood and Markham's Casa Imperial. Both having good reputations for great Cantonese food.

Service was very attentive and friendly. Definitely one of the better breed in town.

Since it is a Sunday, the first thing we ordered was the lobster special ( regular $22 per lb, today price only $12 per lb ). The 6 of us settled for a 4 pounder. Method of preparation was per the recommendation of the head waiter - Wok fried with spicy salt garlic chips. Great choice! The cut up lobster pieces, encased in a light crispy non greasy mildly spicy batter was perfectly cooked, with the meat succulent and moist . The dish was smothered with a mixture of very addictive fried shallots and garlic chips. The latter must be the end product of at least 30 cloves of garlic!!

Other dishes we ordered included:

- Sauteed filet mignon cubes with crispy honey roasted walnuts and sweet snapper peas in a honey teriyaki glaze. The beef seared crispy on the outside, was very tender and juicy and tasted wonderful.

- Rose essence soya marinated free range chicken. It was well executed. However, IMO the sauce could take a little bit more sweetness. Texture and taste of the chicken was very good though.

- Sauteed filet of yellow fin garoupa with Chinese broccoli ( Gai Lan ) shoots. Lots of wok -hay, the fish again was cooked perfectly. Slightly chewy and moist. The diced yellowing chives and shrimp eggs provided a nice aromatic and tasty accompaniment.

- Braised eggplant and enoki mushrooms with shredded dried scallops and oyster sauce. IMO, this was the weakest dish of the night. A touch under seasoned, the O Mei version was definitely more delicious.

Dessert, comprising of a trio of red bean soup, almond jello and Chinese seasame brownies was complimentary.

We bought our own bottle of wine which they actually decanted for us and provided us with Ridel size and quality wine glasses! No corkage was charged!

Total bill for this surprisingly enjoyable and tasty meal comes to $156, inclusive of tax and tips. Not bad, not bad at all!! By the way, the portions were huge!

Definitely a new ' favourite' entry to my food journal!

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  1. $156 for 6 people? Bargain... I love that this is considered high end. These prices are very recession-friendly.

    Thanks for all your great reports! They are greatly appreciated.

    1. Hello Charles,

      I was there a few Sunday ago too ! That night was busy with Wedding banquet and a "mah jong" competition night ! But the food was very good which is inline with your review.

      We also had the recommended spicy salt garlic chips lobster and honey rasted walnut beef. They charged me $3 additional for the lobster because they said there are conpoy in that dish, which I found strand of it, but I am not sure if it enhanced the taste of the dish. We also had the honey glazed eel, which is very good too !

      We also tried the roasted pigeon there, with $22 a head. It is good, but found it not as good as Regal Palace's. The one at Regal Palace is better in seasoning and more juicy.

      2 Replies
      1. re: skylineR33

        Hello skylineR33!
        You should try the pigeon on Tuesday! Their daily special at only $13.88 each! I was told by one my friend ( we bumped into 3 tables of friends! Small world! ) the Peking duck is very good. May be I'll give it a try next Monday?! They have it as a half price special!

        Went grocery shopping tonight. Walked by Yogi Noodles ( opposite Bamburgh circle ) and saw a photo of a bowl of Won Ton noodle on their bill board that looks like Hong Kong Tasty's version! - with yellowing chives, ultra thin noodles and all! What a total disaster!! Nooles were thin alright but way overcooked. Borderline mushy! Soup was diluted. Portion was huge making the sight of it totally unappertizing! The lo Mien with penny hot sauce was equally bad. The sauce was spicy and salty instead of the traditional spicy and sweet. Tasted so weird!

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Yes, you are right. It just that we got some friend from NYC and they want pigeon so badly ! Actually, I have not tried the "special" price pigeon, but my mother told me it is the same quality as the regular one.

          The wonton broth at Yogi was ok, when I tried it like half a year ago ! I can actually found dried shrimp roe in there...oh well, what a shame, we just keep on disappointed by wonton noodle in Toronto !

      2. Would you recommend Emperor for a lobster dinner on a Sat. night? Have a birthday to celebrate and want a nice place with good lobster tonight for 2.

        8 Replies
        1. re: snowbirdy

          I replied on another thread that we had a 2 1/2 pound lobster there this week.
          It was very good, ..
          However it was $55.00 slightly more than most.
          We also raved about the Hot and Sour Soup, which I am not terribly fond of, but this one was delicious, and very delicate.
          Excellent service, and smiling servers,

          1. re: erly

            Thanks, erly...am going tonight and wil post results.

            1. re: erly

              It might be useful to check out their daily special first before going! They have lobster on special every Sundays.! From $22 per pound to $12.88 per pound!! Their Peking duck special on Monday is only $19 compare to the normal $38!!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                Went Sat. nite anyways (birthday). They were extremely nice, had the "special" lobster (i.e. with the garlic, etc.), excellent, and were given a 'long life' steamed lotus bun for good luck. Will go back for the Sunday special. Also,in spite of the price for the duck it was 'flying' out of the kitchen. Almost every big table had it. Thanks all for all your good advice.

                1. re: snowbirdy

                  I am salivating, and completely excited at the prospect of new, well-executed chinese cuisine with the prospect of Peking Duck specials!
                  Curious to know if anyone knows the preparation of the duck courses: how is the preparation of the wrappers/skin for the first course? Chewy, flat, round, powdery, tender....And is the second course accompanied by lettuce leaf wrap? Or a different preparation?
                  I have to make a special trip in to the city, and my partner's favorite dish is Peking Duck....so monday nights might become duck night in Richmond Hill...I feel the promise of greatness here!

                  1. re: unturtlesoup

                    Just had the duck special last night and it was totally worth the drive from midtown! The first course was the skin and a bit of flesh served with round, thin, non-chewy, tender pancakes. The pancakes had some black sesame seeds baked into them, which I didn't think made a difference one way or the other. The second way was minced meat served with lettuce cups (extra $5). Also very good. The service was great (as it was the first time we went).

                    We think every Monday night might be duck night!

                2. re: Charles Yu

                  Thanks for the tip Charles.
                  I am overseas at the moment, but upon returning Emperor will be the top of my list once again.
                  Are they crowded on Sundays?
                  I tend to avoid Chinese restaurants for dinner on the Weekends.

                  1. re: erly

                    You know ... these places such as Emperor, Diamond, Golden Court ... which has a decent size and good decor (as in Toronto) are all crowded on Sat and Sun, even Friday sometimes in the "whole" Summer because they are popular choice for chinese wedding.

            2. Tried this place last night based on the recs. It was an excellent meal!! We had the lobster with garlic, the tenderloin, and shrimp and scallops with gailan. I also had a bowl of hot and sour soup. We were the only non-Chinese people in the room (which is always a good sign!). The service was excellent despite the two weddings going on. Our plates were changed frquently, the place was clean and the staff were friendly and always smiling. We are definitely hooked on the lobster! Deciding on going back tonight for the duck :-)

              1. I went to Emperor's last night and had a terrible experience. I can't comment on the food because I didn't get that far: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1062...

                7 Replies
                1. re: ellesie

                  Do they have a wedding going on that night ? Are you in the main dining room ?

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    It was busy, but not packed. And it didn't seem like there was a special event going on since there were quite a few empty tables. We were in the room off to the side, but there were plenty of waiters coming in and out of our area. They just didn't pay any attention to us.

                    The thing that frustrated me the most is that we were ready to leave and come back another time, but it was their staff person who insisted we stay saying that he could accommodate us.

                    1. re: ellesie

                      Wow, I've been there 4-5 times and have never had that experience. The first time we went they had 2 functions and the service was still better than your run of the mill Chinese resto. Last Sunday, they must have changed our plates 4 times. Our tea was refilled promptly and when they saw that it was getting too strong, they added hot water to our pot without us even asking. It's too bad that you had such a negative experience. I'll be careful about going on "duck special" nights then.

                      1. re: ellesie

                        We've been to the Emperor a couple of times, for dim sum and dinner. The food is OK (but not that special and the odd dish was off...eg very dry Chicken). My observation about service staff is mixed. At dim sum, the particular person looking after us could not have been more attentive, however at our dinner, our waiter seemed inexperienced or absent-minded. He may have been well intentioned but definitely needed more training! For example, he served half the table the dessert, and then left without an explanation. We had to ask the Captain what was going on after about 10 minutes...the rest was then brought. It was not that busy, so no excuses there. Nothing like your experience, but we can confirm they need to work some bugs out of their service.

                        1. re: T Long

                          Is there somewhere you would recommend for dim sum or dinner, T Long? Seeing as Emperor is off my list, I'd love to find another option!

                          1. re: ellesie

                            Of the places I've been in the last year, top of list for me for return visits are Legend on Glen Cameron in Thornhill for dim sum and Maple Yip in Scarborough for dinner. I haven't tried Yang's yet for dim sum, but hope to soon given the hype here on Chowhound.

                  2. Charles, is this a place you would suggest for a dinner for two? My SO is not big on 'ethnic' food but as I have a birthday coming up and can pic ANYWHERE to go I would consider a CH-worthy authentic Chinese establishment.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: neighborguy

                      Would probably work better with 4 people at least, can order more dishes for sharing.