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Northeast Chinese Restaurant in downtown chinatown - anyone been?

hello everyone - I've been a lurker for some time and have enjoyed many of the discussions and recs on the board. I stumbled onto this restaurant tonight and am quite curious as to whether anyone else has been. I'm particularly intrigued by many of the street eats type offerings, which I've only seen so far in scarborough chinese restaurants.

my girlfriend and I had what I think is jian bing. it came as a chinese pancake smeared with bean sauce, topped with a fried egg, and wrapped around a crispy flat cruller. except that the pancake was greenish, due to green (mung?) beans in the batter. I loved the contrasting textures and the funk of the bean sauce.

we also had a chinese pancake rolled around smoked pork, cumin beef in bread, and homestyle tofu. the smoked pork pancake is awesome: crispy with a bit of chew, and the pork had a pleasant smokiness to it. I found the cumin beef dish to be a bit too salty and the bread too soft, but liked the liberal use of cumin and the crunchy green beans mixed in with the beef. the homestyle tofu was fried with black fungus mushrooms, pork, and carrots. it would go really great with rice, if we weren't already so stuffed. food for two hungry people, plus leftovers, tax and tips = $21! am planning to go back to explore the rest of the extensive and cheap menu. there's an assortment of dumplings (15 for $5), steamed buns, noodles, and protein dishes meant to be shared and eaten with rice. lots of variety meats too, which is always for me a sign of an authentic chinese restaurant.

if you've been and have recommendations on what to order, I'd love to hear them. this place is an exciting divergence from the usual spadina chinese fare!

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Northeast Chinese Restaurant
476 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1G9, CA

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  1. We stumbled in there a few weeks ago. Really liked it. Not sure about many of the dishes names, as I'm not too familiar with this cuisine, but it was all really tasty, well presented andgood value. The staff were more keen than competent, but that should improve. There were several tables full of Mandarin speakers enjoying themselves, which is a good sign. I particularly liked a soup I had with noodles, cabbage and pickled pork. It was a wonderful winter treat. We're probably going there tonight again, so I'll pay attention to the names of the dishes and make some recommendations. I think this place is really worth checking out.

    1. I decided to go there for lunch today. I looked for the jian bing that mapotofu mentioned, but couldn't find it on the regular menu. I think it's one of the options posted on the wall, which are all written in Chinese. Unfortunately the Canadian-born Chinese that is me can't read all the characters. I settled on the handmade noodles with pork, preserved vegetable, and greens (#29). Definitely warmed me up on a blustery day, and the noodles had a good chew to them.

      The chef was on his own, as he took everyone's order, brought the dishes out, and processed payment. I was concerned he had to do all of this during dinner service, but it sounds like he has staff helping him.

      I'd definitely go back and try the other dishes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lavender07

        heh my chinese is pretty abysmal and the scrawled menus on chinese restaurant walls are familiarly vexing = ). the what I think is jian bing is on the front page of the menu, under appetizers, and described something like crisp wrapped with green bean pancake.

      2. Just came back from our second meal here. Completely empty tonight. I hope they get more business, or they might go under, which would be a great shame. It is thoroughly worth trying. We were in the mood for some heat tonight and Northeast delivered in spades! Started with some excellent, tender lamb skewers, which had a real kick. Antother excellent appetizer was the pancake with smoked pork. It was crispy and really tasty. The Szechuan style chicken was fiery and authentic, with lots of hot, dry chillies and very crispy skin. Long beans with pork was a different preparation to the Cantonese style, salty with lots of crispy garlic and pepper. Very nice. My favourite was the fresh fish slices in a spicy broth. It was superb. Lovely firm, white fish fillets in a bubbling broth full of chillies, peppercorns, ginger and spring onions on top of a layer of bean sprouts and baby bok choy. Really spicy, but not to cover up lack of flavour or depth. A beautifully executed dish, I thought. My daughter agreed on that one, which is a rare thing indeed.
        The room is simple, the service unpolished, but friendly and the price reasonable for the quality and quantity, Ingredients were fresh and presentation was good. The menu is quite extensive and I have only scratched the surface. I'm going to take some friends next week. I really recommend this palce for some serious Northern Chinese cuisine. I hope they stay in business long enough for word to spread.

        1. I know this is a long shot, but do they have any vegetarian dishes?

          2 Replies
          1. re: piccola

            I went there yesterday, and I had their vegetable dumplings. Handmade wrappers filled with shredded seasoned tofu and zucchini of all things. A dip in black vinegar and they really hit the spot.

            They have a "Vegetable Dishes" section where they have several stir fries and tofu based dishes, and most of their appetizers and cold dishes don't have meat, so there are definitely vegetarian options. You can also order the handmade noodles with just vegetables, but I believe it's a meat-based broth.

          2. Sad news. I was intending to have lunch here today, but it's closed. I couldn't see inside, but there are "For Lease" signs put up.

            5 Replies
            1. re: lavender07

              You might be looking at their old location, which is right next to Asian Legend. That spot has been empty for years! Their current location is much closer to Spadina but it's still in the basement.

              I have been visiting this place for years. Food has always been consistent. The restaurant really only has one server, a woman with insanely bright red lips and raucous voice. However, the sweetest lady for sure!

              The woman is from shandong, if i remember correctly. I asked her and she said the restaurant specializes in noodle and dumplings. I can't really complain about the food since it's so cheap. It's great to see that people are discovering this lovely place.

              1. re: oohlala

                Woops. Now that I think of it, the closed location was closer to Huron than Spadina. I was in a rush to get my lunch, so it didn't occur to me to check the address number.

                Anyways, I can get the handmade noodles again. Yay!

                1. re: oohlala

                  I think we might be talking about two different restaurants here. The one the OP and I have been discussing is a new place. It is not in a basement, it is at street level and is closer to Asian Legend than Spadina. I know it opened very recently, because the opening bouquets are still in the window. I am sure we are discussing the same restaurant because of the smoked pork pancakes the OP mentioned. This place is called Northeast Chinese Cuisine, I think.

                  1. re: munchieHK

                    Well the restaurant at 476 Dundas Street West is definitely called Northeast Chinese Restaurant, and it is at basement level. This would be the place that oohlala and I have been talking about.

                    Looks like mapotofu posted the wrong address for the place he visited. The place that he and munchieHK have been talking about is at 428 Dundas Street West, and DineSafe lists it as "Phoenix Restaurant". When I passed by yesterday I saw the signs "Northeast Chinese Cuisine" and "Ten Mile Aroma" as well.

                    1. re: lavender07

                      Based on the C'Hound recs, I tried this place today and it totally sucked. It was in the basement, just east of spadina on the S. side. I ordered pork wonton noodle soup. The "soup" was dark coloured water. No flavour whatsover. Just water. And the noodles, which didn't arrive until I reminded the guy that he forgot to put them in, were mushy and also flavourless, despite looking handmade. Several of the wonton has chuncks of gristle. The place was empty and dirty. I was on my way to King's (or maybe Swatow - I hadn't decided) but I thought I would check this place out. I usually walk away when I see a place is empty. Based on the recs, I figured it must be a slow day. I decided to stay. Sorry I did. Totaly waste of 8 bucks. Worst lunch ever.