Chinese dinner for two -- Where?
I want to be able to go as a couple fo one of the more decent and authentic Chinese restaurants in the city and have a great meal.
This means just two of us and not a family of ten, and no, I rarely order the 'Special Combo dinners' at our fine Chinese Canadian establishments. Okay with taking home a significant doggie bag of yummy leftovers.
If price is not a concern, LWH may be a good choice. There are new set dinner at LWH featuring dried Yoshihama abalone. If you like abalone and want a nice environment for the occasion, this is the place to go. The price starts from $108 to something around $250 per person, depending on the grade of abalone. They just got a new chef and abalone is his specialty as he has been working with the world famous abalone specialist "Ah Yat" of HK in the past. I have not tried the abalone there but have tried some other dishes of the new chef and find it pretty good, the food is more conservative than what it is before.
LWH is indeed very good. But if you're not prepared to pay the price there, let me recommend a place I'd never heard of till a friend took me last month: Ba Shu Ren Jin, a Szechuan spot on Steeles Ave. East, almost at the corner of Midland Ave. Medium-priced, and outstanding, and I've been to just about every Szechuan resto in Toronto. I've since been back twice, and loved it. The difficulty is that with just two of you, you don't get to try many different dishes without exploding. Still, the lamb in pot (a stew/soup, in effect), the tea prawns and, especially, the pork in a spicy sauce, are very tasty, and not overpoweringly spicy. The place is strong on veggie dishes as well. Given where it is, though, you'll have one helluva drive if you're coming from anywhere near downtown Toronto. The place is always busy, it seems, with the local Asian community. Enough English spoken that you'll have no trouble making yourself understood. It was only after I'd been there three times that I discovered that the resto reviewer for the Globe and Mail, Joanne Kates - know knows Chinese cooking - had reviewed it favorably earlier this year.
Aside from that place, Chinese cuisine reviews are one of the stronger points of this board, so do some research (always being aware that chefs in Chinese restos seem to change from one week to the next). Be alert for any thread triggered by Charles Yu, who certainly knows his stuff as well. He has tipped us off to numerous spots around Toronto, mostly northeast of downtown, including my current favorite - when I have the patience to drive up that way - Yang's, on north Bayview Ave., which, in my view is in the LWH class (in price as well). For value, though, if you like Szechuan, I don't think you can beat Ba Shu Ren Jin.
Thanks skylineR33 and juno.
Yes, beyond the budget scale at LWH, there is just something not quite authentic about the experience they provide.
I do lurk here and Charles is one of the contributors who I follow.
Will read up on BSRJ. I believe they made the list on Toronto Life's restaurant guide, not that they are always up to date, but since you are making the rec... and it does sound far. As I am eating with someone with 'safe' tastes and this is one occasion I get to make the choice, it may work out to be different (to us-- going out with family is always to Cantonese), great, and memorable.
I am not sure what is not authentic about LWH, there are traditional "authentic" as well as newer HK style cantonese "authentic" cuisine at LWH, it is just as authentic as any top class restaurant you can get up in Richmond Hill and Markham, unless you think those are not authentic as well.