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Nov 9, 2011 12:09 PM

Restaurant "Har Gow" on Danforth

I think this is in the spot of that Indian place that opened and then closed, around Donlands/Danforth. Brave of them to name their place after one of the defining dim sum dishes...

I looked in and saw they had furnishings in place. I don't have high hopes for a dim sum place on the Danforth, but plan to go check it out. Stupid me forgot to check for times on the door, I was pretty tired last night by the time I was walking past it.

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  1. At least when it closes for good we can say "Har Gone", har har

    I think a dim sum place could do well on Danforth, but I don't think they will have the right customers in that part of town

    17 Replies
    1. re: foodyDudey

      Bamboo is still open and getting good reviews.

        1. re: Herne

          Where are these good reviews of Bamboo?

          1. re: iMarilyn

            Here a couple. I have a couple of friends who consider themselves gourmets and they will be there this weekend. Only 1 Greek restaurant on the Danforth is good enough for them.

            1. re: Herne

              "Terrible Dim Sum and really pricey. There are much better options in Toronto"

              Thanks but I'll take my chances finding good Greek on Spadina.

                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                  Spelling is probably approximate: Avali

                  1. re: Herne

                    Well if they think AVLI is the best, they don't know Greek food, that's all I can say.

                    It was one of the best till 2001 but something has not been right there after that. And yes I tried it again a few months ago after many years.

            2. re: Herne

              I know they have been open for a few years, but I like the dim sum that rolls around on carts, and they don't have that. Bamboo's location is much better than the new place at Donlands and Danforth, where 75% of the people walking by that corner don't even eat pork, and that is a common ingredient in Chinese food. The link to the reviews you posted only has 2 positive reviews but not much detail. When Bamboo opened I checked out the menu and found the prices on the high side.

              1. re: foodyDudey

                It's an excellent point about the pork, but as someone who lives a five minutes walk from Donlands and Danforth, it's encouraging to see these kinds of restaurants creeping our way, if only for gentrification purposes.

                    1. re: foodyDudey

                      Well as we see almost every day here restaurants are going under daily so lasting 5 years says quite a lot.

                  1. re: foodyDudey

                    while carts are a fun novelty, the food that comes straight out of a kitchen is better because they are more fresh. with carts, your dumplings may have sat around for awhile on the cart.

                    1. re: helenhelen

                      I understand it is possible for food to be not as fresh from the carts , but I used to go to a place where the carts would be empty within 5 minutes , which was about 1 or 2 trips around the room. I didn't consider the carts a novelty, but a way to try a wide variety of dishes if I saw something rolling by that looked interesting.

                      1. re: foodyDudey

                        I think dim sum carts are neat, but I prefer ordering off a menu. The description on the dim sum menus can be a bit of a mystery, especially if one is not familiar with the English descriptions and/or can't read Chinese characters. At least with carts you can see what you are ordering! So carts can be less intimidating (more inviting) to non dim sum nerdies...which is a good thing. My preference for menu though has nothing to do with perceived freshness, rather that the more popular items are sometimes taken before a cart gets around to my table....with a menu I can be assured to get my favorites.

                1. re: foodyDudey

                  When it closes for good, I'd rather call it "Har Tsow".

                  eh? eh? Anyone?

                2. You should be aware that any place that is not large enough to hire a dedicated dim sum chef is probably using frozen dim sum. I would suggest staying away from any small boutique operation or any that serves it all day long.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sbug206

                    Yeah. From what I saw, the kitchen looked like an open space and a decent size, but it doesn't mean they have good chefs.

                    Still, I'm going for at least one visit just to experience first-hand.

                    1. re: Pincus

                      Hope you report back after your visit. I would not expect it to be a destination spot, but it would be nice to have an option when in that area.

                  2. They have a sign up saying they are open November 15 for take out and delivery, dining in to follow. I'm no Dim Sum expert but I think of it as eat-in food. I am wondering if they will have
                    a non-dim sum menu. Also can't help but wonder if it's the same people as Taco Time taking our advice to do something a little closer to their heritage...

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: julesrules

                      So I went to Bamboo this noon along with 5 other people

                      We found the food to be just great, the service polite and prompt. The place is small. No sign of any frozen food as was suggested and the noise level was just fine.

                      Since the place has been open for more than 5 years I don't know what the opening Nov 15 sign could be about and didn't see it either.The one person of Chinese background proclaimed the food to be a cut above the average you expect at Dundas and Spadina both in quality and quantity.

                      So contrary to the critics some of whom admit they have never been there my experience was just great. I probably will start going there once a month and add the visit to my Danforth shopping.

                      1. re: Herne

                        What other dim sum restaurants have you tried and enjoyed?

                        1. re: Herne

                          Forgot to mention that they do have a menu of non Dim Sum dishes. Not as extensive as the late Diamond on Dundas or Congee Queen on Lawrence.
                          The place is too small for a cart so it looses a bit to those who like such features.

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

                          1. re: Herne

                            Well it's either frozen or they have a dim sum chef. Do you really think a small place has the resources to hire a dim sum chef? It's like a small restaurant having a pastry chef on hand for the desserts.

                            1. re: Herne

                              I was posting about the new place Har Gow, it is (was) the subject of this thread.

                              1. re: julesrules

                                Sorry to possibly get off topic but I don't believe any of the Dim Sum was previously frozen. Perhaps you could try it for yourself

                                1. re: julesrules

                                  Sorry julesrules/pincus. Although the topic was related as Bamboo has Har Gow on the menu::)). I'm done with the topic I believe so I doubt I will be back to discuss it further.

                                  1. re: Herne

                                    Went back to Bamboo this afternoon. Ordered sumai, Har gow, tofu stuffed eggplant and it was great. Place wasn't noisy and the staff were polite and helpful as before. No sign of frozen food. Did see the cook/chef going to the prep kitchen in the basement for veggies. I'd like to avoid alerting more potential customers if possible but I don't want them to succumb to the high Danforth rents like so many food places have.

                                    1. re: Herne

                                      I'm not sure why you want to avoild telling people about it if it is actually a good place to go. I don't go there because it looks so empty and I can't imagine a dim sum place that is any good operating like that. Wouldn't it be better if it had more customers? I'm confused....

                                      1. re: foodyDudey

                                        I have told my friends but I don't want to help create a waiting line problem--it is a small place. Despite all the negativity this CH has produced with no knowledge of the food I'm happy if it stays that way but I think I should add my opinion anyway.

                                        1. re: Herne

                                          If Bamboo is actually good I would imagine you'd want other people to find out so it stays open.

                                          1. re: neighborguy

                                            It is good and has been for over 5 years so I don't see any reason for it to close. Except of course the high rents that are driving merchants elsewhere all over the Danforth.

                                        2. re: foodyDudey

                                          Bamboo does a fair amount of take-out (for standard Chinese Cdn food, also on their menu), afaik. I'm not so worried about lack of dine-in customers when a restaurant has a steady take-out business.

                                  2. re: Herne

                                    I've been to Bamboo 6 or 7 times since it opened. It's decent for the Danforth, and for East York, and I've found the food to taste fresher than some dim sum experiences in Chinatown East, but I prefer the dim sum at Cha Liu, Dynasty and Crown Princess. The har gow, nor mai gai, char siu bao are on the big side, rather than the dainty side. In comparison, the dim sum at Cha Liu and Dynasty tend to be on the dainty side.

                                    Bamboo costs more than a place like Rol San, but the food is roughly the same quality level, although Bamboo serves their dim sum on fancier, more colourful dishes. Dim sum always seems to cost around $20/person at Bamboo, whereas it's usually closer to $12-$15pp at Rol San, which I would expect considering rents are much higher on the Danforth than in Chinatown or in the 'burbs, but if I'm only indulging in dim sum a few times a year, I'd rather trek up to Yang's and spend my $20-$25/pp there.

                                    Haven't tried the non-dim sum at Bamboo, but some friends who own a coffee shop a couple blocks away get frequent take-out from Bamboo.

                                    Rol San
                                    323 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

                                    Cha Liu
                                    2352 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P2E6, CA

                                    Crown Princess
                                    1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                                    1. re: prima

                                      Not sure if you heard, but Cha Liu closed.

                                      1. re: magic

                                        Thanks, magic. Hadn't been for a while, but I guess that's obvious now. ;-)

                                        Looks like Cha Liu plans to re-open once they've secured a new location:

                                        1. re: prima

                                          Oh good, I did not know this! Thanks for passing that info on.

                                  3. re: julesrules

                                    I agree, dim sum would not travel well. Cold dumplings...yuk!

                                    1. re: Pincus

                                      Dim sum travels fine, and it's possible to reheat dumplings (gently). Or panfry previously steamed dumplings. I love leftover dim sum.

                                      Most restaurants serving dim sum offer take-out, if you want it.

                                      1. re: prima

                                        I agree with prima. Nothing beats fresh, but and especially if it's just the two of us, we will order more than we can eat-in with the intent to take left-overs home. We bring our own take-out containers. It works for some items better than others. Just did this today!

                                    2. re: julesrules

                                      So I could read a bit of the (hand-written) menu board from outside yesterday. It features Lunch Specials such as Shangai Noodles that come with a spring roll and pop. I think this bodes well fore their actual survival (the student lunch crowd seems to carry those restaurants that do survive the strip), but maybe not their chow value as a Dim Sum place.

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