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Congee Queen - What are their best dishes AND are they licensed?

While we're at it, how's the service and decor?

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Congee Queen
895 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M3C3L2, CA

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  1. Yes, it's licensed. Not much of a wine list, though (like most Chinese joints). But you can bring your own, if I recall, for $10 corkage.

    Congee Queen is a solid mid-range Chinese resto in my end of town. I've been going for years. Prices have risen about 10-15% the past little while, and quality has dipped slightly, but it's still pretty good. Still good value, too. There are dozens upon dozens of menu items, some of which seem better than others. Servings are substantial, so try not to over-order (which I invariably do). Almost every table seems to leave with doggie bags. Insanely popular. There's often a wait for tables, but things move along quickly.

    My favourite dish is K19 on the menu, braised bean curd and minced pork with spicy sauce. Consistently good, which not all menu items are. Fried chili turnip patties (K43), is usually good, sometimes just average. Most of the dishes listed under Gourmet Dish and Side Order are worth trying. K28, Chinese broccoli with garlic sauce (K28) is usually solid. Some dishes listed on special cards on the table are quite tasty. There's one card entry, chicken in a black bean sauce on a sizzling plate, that"s delicious. I used to be partial to the hot and sour soup, but the last time I ordered it, the recipe had changed completely. Overly sweet, and an ugly pink colour. Had to send it back (they charged me anyway - service is swift, but not particularly solicitous). Next time I go in, I'll insist on a free sample in a teacup to decide if the joint is back to the original recipe. The small size of hot and sour is enough for four feeders. Most of the Thai-Vietnamese fusion dishes aren't up to much.

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    Congee Queen
    895 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M3C3L2, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: juno

      That's extremely helpful. Thanks. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at Congee Queen while at Shops at Don Mills and recalled the favourable reviews here. For the life of me, I don't understand how I couldn't have gone in by now.

      All I really ask from wine is that, if you can't for whatever reason have a solid wine list, then please get a Bring Your Own Wine endorsement from the AGCO. It's very considerate and savvy of them to have done so.

      I would never order Thai or Vietnamese dishes anywhere other than a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant, but thanks just the same. That may save a friend or two.

      The dishes you describe sound terrific. I can't wait to try it now. Especially the chicken and black bean sizzling plate. Oh and yeah, you never know about hot & sour soup. There are so many elements to it it's a wonder it isn't messed up more often. It's highly likely they just had an off day, but again, I'll keep that in mind.

      Thanks again.

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      Congee Queen
      895 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M3C3L2, CA

    2. Try the soft shell crab fried rice. It's slightly spicy but incredibly flavourful.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Big Kahuna 1

        Do they have that year-round or only when ss crab is in season?

        1. re: Googs

          The type of imported Asian SSC used in most economically-priced Chinese, Korean and Japanese restaurants in TO is always in season (at its source), and available frozen.That way, all us Torontonians can enjoy spider rolls year-round.

          If a SSC dish is costing less than $15/pair, and it's being served in Toronto outside of May or June, it's most likely Asian SSC, and it probably was previously frozen.NTTAWWT.

          The handful of restaurants that serve the seasonal East Coast SSC in May and June are pretty excited about that, and are always going to let everyone know where they're sourcing their precious crabs. I got a kick out of one restauranteur telling me not to bother with the Floridian SSC offered by some of his competition early in the season (early May), because the Chesapeake Bay SSC season was about to open (late May), and he thought why bother with the Floridians if the Virginians were almost ready. Real pecking order in the world of molting crabs, I guess.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/496803

      2. curry beef brisket w/ rice (its very different than the curry beef w/ rice) also iirc the eggplant is excellent.

        1 Reply
        1. re: KhaoSanRoad

          if you can handle spicy, fried rice noodle with beef in XO sauce is good. It's the white flat rice noodle stir-fried in soya sauce and XO sauce. So it comes brown with beef and onions.

          Deep fried calamari (with salt and pepper) is also good.

        2. Decor is not as nice but for this type of restaurant I prefer Congee Wong at Leslie/Finch. Nothing wrong with Congee Queen really, but I just think the food is a little bit better at CW. Nothing really spectacular about either of them but good go-to places for a hearty dinner.

          One dish I always get at either restaurant is the singapore fried turnip cake...I love this...but this is one of the dishes that is better at congee wong...i guess this is probably the dish that tips the favour for CW for me)

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          Congee Queen
          895 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M3C3L2, CA

          4 Replies
          1. re: szw

            Even at 6:22 a.m. it all sounds incredibly wonderful. Must make my way there one of these days soon. Heard lots about it but have never been. That will change.

            1. re: millygirl

              Late flash: the hot and sour soup at Congee Queen is back tasting as it always has (though maybe just a touch sweeter). When I enquired about my last dreary experience with the hot and sour about a month ago, I was informed: "Oh, that chef? We fired that chef." Who knows if they were just bullshitting me? The important thing is, the good hot and sour is back, back, back.

              Note: the chicken in a black bean sauce on a sizzling plate is no longer listed on the specials card. But it's on the menu just the same. CQ21, if I recall, is its listing.

              1. re: juno

                Hi juno, have you ordered the hot & sour at Congee Queen lately?

                1. re: prima

                  Indeed, I have. I now order it just about every time I get there - last time about two weeks ago. And it's back to where it was, tasty, zingy, full-bodied, one of the best half dozen or so in town (that I've tried). I get the hot and sour, usually the chicken in black bean sauce on a sizzling plate (listed once again on a specials card alongside the main menu), maybe one other dish, and a bowl or two of steamed rice, and you've got a banquet for two for $35-$40. all in.

          2. With so many choices, it takes a reminder that the place is named after rice porridge.

            I like their congee. I find it flavorful without too much msg or other additions to boost the taste. I used to order all the time their Super(Duper or Supreme or something) delux seafood bowl and now that we've moved onto the rest of the menu I'll just have the single bowl of sliced fish congee. I believe Jan Wong mentioned it (the fish congee) long ago in the G+M which the restaurant posted in their vestibule when they first opened and I get cravings for it again and again. Definitely a take-out order when feeling under the weather.