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Dragon House restaurant (long gone) - chefs still around?

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Apple IIGS Apr 15, 2011 09:47 PM

Does anyone here remember The Dragon House (Maison du Dragon) restaurant?

It was a Chinese food restaurant that had been around probably close to 40 years when it closed for good in the early 2000's. It was located in Cartierville, in a small strip mall on De Salaberry, not far from where Belmont Park was. Here's where they were on Google maps:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&s...

Throughout my childhood my family and I would eat there regularly or order take-out from them (late 70's through late 80's). One thing I specifically remember was their pineapple chicken. It was crunchy, with red sauce and this tangy taste, which to this day, I've yet to find anything close to matching. Also loved their egg rolls, plum sauce and chicken-fried rice, also pretty unique tasting.

Now this has been on my mind ever since they closed.....is it possible their chef(s) or recipes have lived on at another Montreal restaurant? Anyone even remember this restaurant besides me? :)

  1. a
    Apple IIGS May 5, 2011 09:55 PM

    So, I finally made the trek down to Dragon Loon Wah and had dinner at the restaurant with my family this Saturday. Here's how it turned out...

    First the good news: We spoke briefly with the owners and yes, they confirmed they are indeed the same owners of the now defunct Dragon House restaurant formerly in Cartierville! Their take-out menu even proudly proclaims "since 1967", and judging by the outdated decor inside the restaurant, along with the worn booth seats, it looks about as old. Very retro...a good thing in my book! When asked about their menu though, we were told they've kept the same dishes from years ago but "enhanced" the flavor of some (uh-oh).

    Now the not-so-good news: The food is not at all the same. Completely different taste and presentation. I was very disappointed about that, I so much wanted to taste their old recipes but it wasn't to be. Which leave me still wondering...are those recipes lost forever?

    The won-ton soup was similar but not quite the same (though as a nice bonus the bowls they're served in are the same China originally used at the Cartierville location!). Egg-rolls, now that hadn't changed, same taste...however the plum sauce is no longer their own unique recipe, it's just generic factory bought stuff (they used to have a thick, dark brown sauce; sweet tasting). Pineapple chicken? Sadly just those standard generic balls of breaded chicken with cherry sauce lightly drizzled on top, same as any other Chinese restaurant. Ditto for the chicken fried rice, chicken chow mein, and garlic spare ribs. And instead of their those yellow almond cookies served on a plate I remember when I was a kid, we got some plastic bagged fortune cookies.

    I will say the food, different as it was, was still quite good and very tasty! Far better than The Yangtze on Van Horne, and more affordable too. Only apart from the egg-rolls, it was just generic Chinese food you can get just about anywhere (albeit on the high end of the scale in terms of quality and taste).

    It was pretty quiet when we arrived, only one other party seated and eating. When we left (around 7 pm) there was no one else there, totally dead. Surprising for a Saturday night.

    So there you have it. My quest to find The Dragon House restaurant, or rather it's original Chinese food recipes, still unfulfilled. Will I ever get to taste them again? Unlikely at this point. Well, if they ever bring back their old recipes, or sold them to another restaurant, I'd love to find out...

    -----
    Dragon Loon Wah
    645 Rue Notre-Dame, Lachine, QC H8S2B4, CA

    3 Replies
    1. re: Apple IIGS
      anachemia May 10, 2011 07:50 PM

      Hey, thanks for reporting back (even if you were a bit disappointed in the food). I'll try to do the same once I have a chance to make the trek out there.

      About the comparison to Yangtze, I'm curious to know when was the last time you went? They did have a bit of a dark period a few years ago, but based on recent visits, they have turned things around and the food is good again (IMHO). I'll be curious to see how the new/old Dragon compares. (If only these guys delivered, I could do a full-on taste test...heh)

      1. re: anachemia
        c
        celfie May 10, 2011 08:55 PM

        my family said the same thing about yangtze the other day

        1. re: anachemia
          a
          Apple IIGS May 12, 2011 02:37 PM

          I think had it been a nameless Chinese restaurant I happened to drop into at random, I would be reporting back that I was pleased with the food (and from that perspective, I was!). I was only disappointed because I expected THE Dragon House from Cartierville...and it wasn't.

          Hmm, I had been to the Yangtze a few times over the past two years. And it wasn't bad at all. It was only when I went back late last year that I was disappointed. They recently renovated the inside of the restaurant, raised their prices and lessened the portions then. Seemed the quality of the food went down around that time too, or maybe they were having an off night? Then again, a few weeks later I had take-out delivery and thought it was even worse and been hesitant to go back. If they've back on track I'd be interested to know though!

      2. c
        celfie Apr 16, 2011 10:46 AM

        I used to go as a kid all the time --- not to the one in lachine

        8 Replies
        1. re: celfie
          a
          Apple IIGS Apr 17, 2011 08:06 PM

          My family used to dine at the Dragon House in Cartierville, almost religiously, every Sunday night when I was growing up. Or at the very least, order and pick it up their take-out. That restaurant was a huge part of my childhood! :) I still remember the bright red and green containers the food came in, or their yellow almond cookies in came in a waxed-paper bag!

          Thanks for pointing out this "Dragon Loon Wah" in Lachine. I just did a Google Map street view search and did a double-take looking at their logo! Could it be...could this actually be the long lost Dragon House Chinese restaurant? Not only is the logo 100% identical, but even the Chinese word/lettering matches!

          I have an old take-out menu from the defunct Dragon House restaurant that was in Cartierville. Here's a side by side look with the restaurant sign in Lachine! (I feel like I discovered the lost city of Atlantis!). :D Well....I'll definitely have to drop by and try them out, even if just for the slightest possibility they're linked to the original Dragon House!

          Is it just coincidence their logo and lettering are the same, or is this the same restaurant?

           
          1. re: Apple IIGS
            hungryann Apr 17, 2011 08:56 PM

            I'm so excited for you! Love that feeling of finding something you thought was lost forever. Let us know how it turns out.Let us know how it turns out.

            1. re: hungryann
              a
              Apple IIGS Apr 17, 2011 09:53 PM

              Thanks! Yep, I have to say I'm pretty ecstatic about this....you don't know how many random Chinese restaurants I've visited over the years to try and find something that is even remotely similar to Dragon House. Their pineapple chicken was like nothing else I've ever tasted!

              You know what, I just noticed something else. The old Cartierville menu says "Maison du Dragon (nord)" -- Dragon House North. That implies there's a Dragon House South! (and sure enough, on a map Cartierville is north, and Lachine is south!).

              Definitely will report back my findings as soon as I get a chance to visit!

              1. re: Apple IIGS
                Haggisboy Apr 18, 2011 05:16 AM

                I think that pretty much cements it. It's not uncommon for a family run restaurant to have a couple of locations. Just look at how the Arahova's have grown.

                1. re: Apple IIGS
                  anachemia Apr 18, 2011 10:43 AM

                  Right on! When you go, try to grab a menu to share with us...

                  1. re: anachemia
                    a
                    Apple IIGS Apr 18, 2011 09:26 PM

                    I found a menu online, through Yellow Pages. Here's a link:
                    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

                    (if you want to see it full size, hit the "x" to close the image, then go the "menu" tab and then click the enlarge button).

                    I'll still try and grab an expanded menu after I drop by and share it here.. I'm pretty psyched about it! So is the rest of my family.....first thing I want to taste is their pineapple chicken! :)

                    1. re: Apple IIGS
                      Haggisboy Apr 19, 2011 07:23 AM

                      Nice find. I wish more resto menus were available online - especially with prices. Curious to see by their hours that they aren't open for the weekday lunch trade, only opening at 2:30 each day.

                      1. re: Haggisboy
                        s
                        saltnpepperwhat Apr 19, 2011 12:45 PM

                        I think 2:30 is when they start doing deliveries... probably don't have enough employees to do both deliveries and waitressing?

          2. Haggisboy Apr 16, 2011 03:40 AM

            There's been a Dragon House restaurant in Lachine for as long as I can remember. They used to be located on the waterfront on Lakeshore road, but when the city started buying up the property there to convert into a park and bike path, they relocated to rue Notre Dame around 6th Ave. I know people who drive from all over the island to get take out from that place. I haven't had their food for several years, but when I did, it was seriously good. There's a possibility that they were connected, somehow, with the one in Cartierville.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Haggisboy
              porker Apr 16, 2011 02:55 PM

              As a kid, we used to go to the one in Lachine (my sister still talks about how I accidently locked myself in the bathroom for 40 minutes...). I may be wrong, (I was only 8) but I remember it being called Dragon Inn.
              The reincarnation on Notre Dame (Dragon Loon Wah) is not great. Plenty cheap, but lacklustre.
              Does anyone remember the South Seas on Upper Lachine Road?

              1. re: porker
                Haggisboy Apr 16, 2011 06:02 PM

                Hey Porker, I consider this a bit of a throwdown? My ex and I both hail from Lachine and even after we migrated to Pierrefonds, whenever she got the Chinese food craving she would make me drive to Lachine's Dragon House. As a kid, my sister, who is eleven years my senior, wouldn't eat Chinese anywhere else. Admittedly, I haven't ordered from there in several years, but given your dissing of the joint, I'm mulling paying them a takeout visit to see how, or if, my memory has changed.

                1. re: Haggisboy
                  porker Apr 17, 2011 08:59 AM

                  Hehe, no insult intended Hagisboy, I hail from just over the black bridge (in the J0L 1B0 zip code Just Over Lachine 1 Bridge Over...). As a kid, my parents would drag me to Chinatown at any and all hours. They'd make a bed out of three chairs so I could sleep while they nibbled on egg rolls and soup at 3 in the morning in a restaurant also long gone called Sun Sun (its a coiffure on Clark nowadays).
                  To avoid a long ride they'd often go to Dragon House (Inn?) But now that I think about it, maybe they'd go to Chinatown after hours BECAUSE Dragon House was closed? So I ate there all the time as a kid.
                  We picked up some Chinese from Dragon Loon Wah after sopping up libations at Bar Deco maybe just last year. Again, no affront intended, but we found the food, ahhh, not bad, but as I said, perhaps lacklustre.
                  But yeah, maybe make a drive and lets hear what you think!
                  {;-/)

                  -----
                  Dragon Loon Wah
                  645 Rue Notre-Dame, Lachine, QC H8S2B4, CA

                  1. re: porker
                    c
                    celfie Apr 17, 2011 09:04 AM

                    i don't think this thread was intended to be about chinese restaurants with dragon in the name. the op mentioned a specific establishment that i am sure we will find is well known - especially amongst west island anglo jews hehe

                    1. re: porker
                      Haggisboy Apr 19, 2011 04:51 PM

                      After following this thread, I'm now really curious to find out if this resto has one of those "secret" menus that so many Chinese food place apparently have. The typical scenario is that they have their standard commercial menu for the masses, but for their hardcore, ethnic, or in-the-know crowd they have a much more edgy old world asian menu. I kind of doubt it in the case of the Dragon House, but you never know.

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