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Peking Duck for TWO - Emperor, Brilliant, Other?

TorontoTips Apr 6, 2012 10:17 AM

Hey Kids!
Got my brother's birthday coming-up and he's a HUGE Peking Duck fan, but rarely gets it because of the cost and the fact that he's single.

SO, I'm proposing an outing just for the two of us for PekingDuck. I typically just get my duck-fix at Peak-Top or other good BBQ joints, but I want to get him the whole hoisin-pancake routine.

So based on my reading so far, I've narrowed it down to either Emperor for the Monday night Peking Duck special, plus maybe an order of those Honey-Fried oysters that Charles has sold me on, or possibly Brilliant Chinese (which I understand is better, but also $10 more) plus perhaps the Scallops with premium top soy.

Yes, it'll be a lot of food, but we're both big boys and can handle it :-)

Recommendations? Other suggestions?

Cheers,
.James.

  1. c
    ctl98 Apr 6, 2012 12:38 PM

    I love Peking duck too! I think the duck at Brilliant is marginally better (and bigger) but the service and ambience are much better at Emperor.

    1. Charles Yu Apr 6, 2012 12:57 PM

      Brilliant's pancake wrapper is more authentic. However, for consistency and value for money, Emperor's Monday special is second to none! Do call ahead and reserve a bird, just in case!! BTW, given a choice, I would pick the oysters over the scallops any day!!
      Enjoy!!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu
        w
        Wil Apr 8, 2012 04:40 AM

        How much is their Monday special?

        1. re: Wil
          Charles Yu Apr 8, 2012 04:14 PM

          Regular $39, two ways.
          Monday special - half price. However, I would recommend spending an extra $5 for the stirred fry minced meat & veggie lettuce wrap. Still a bargain at that price!

          1. re: Charles Yu
            w
            Wil Apr 9, 2012 05:30 AM

            Wow! That is dirt cheap for quality peking duck, must give it a try!

      2. jinxie Apr 9, 2012 02:59 PM

        I have yet to try Emperor, but I'll vouch for Brilliant. I'm a BIG fan of their service- and the portion size is really quite generous. Every time we go- our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we attempt to order something additional- only to be soundly defeated. but man that minced duck makes excellent leftovers.

        I really want to try Emperor's monday special- but alas I'm in London Mon-Fri....

        1. elvisahmed Apr 9, 2012 04:41 PM

          I would recommend Chung King Garden Restaurant for Peking Duck as its one of the best in the city. The ambiance and service are not comparable to the other options you mentioned here.
          Emperor is a very good value on Monday.

          4 Replies
          1. re: elvisahmed
            Charles Yu Apr 9, 2012 05:31 PM

            The thing about Chung King Garden is that, apart from the duck, other dishes on the menu are relatively mediocre! A place like Brilliant or Emperor can offer the patrons many more tasty dishes on top!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              TorontoTips Apr 10, 2012 10:45 AM

              I went to CKG about 6 months ago with a small group from work, and the duck was good, but not great, but the other dishes were quite poor, and the service was weak, with one dish not arriving at all, until the bill was presented.
              Overall, it was decent, but nothing special.

            2. re: elvisahmed
              Royaljelly Apr 9, 2012 08:54 PM

              I went to Chung King 2 weeks ago and Emperor tonight, both meals for Peking Duck. The CK one was horrible, skin was listless and not crispy (and had a strange glowing red color to it), meat was dry and flavourless, and sauce was runny as well (I hate runny sauce). The one tonight at Emperor was not only a great deal at $20 (yes Charles, we did get the added $5 veggie wrap like you suggested and loved it), but their ducks skins are very light and crispy, meat was juicy, tender and flavourful, and the sauce was fantastic. The wrapper skins were a bit thick, compared to Brilliant's which has probably has the best wrapper skins in town. Always trying to re-live the great Peking duck meals I had when I visited Beijing awhile back.

              1. re: Royaljelly
                elvisahmed Apr 10, 2012 10:37 AM

                Must have been an off night as friends went last week and say the quality hasn't wavered.
                I agree the other items I tried there were forgetful.

            3. AzulH Apr 10, 2012 06:45 AM

              Several friends and I have always enjoyed the Peking Duck at "House of Gourmet" on the North side of Dundas, just East of Spadina. After the skin/meat course with pancakes + cucumber+green onions & Hoisan sauce there are two options for the second course. One with bones one without.

              1. n
                natmo14 Apr 10, 2012 05:37 PM

                Another suggestion I would recommend would be Lai Wah Heen near Dundas and University in the Metropolitan hotel. Along with this (although is it a lot of food for two), you have a wide range of choices for accompaniments. This place is very delicious, and I also highly recommend their Hot & Sour soup.

                5 Replies
                1. re: natmo14
                  Charles Yu Apr 10, 2012 06:41 PM

                  When great quality Peking Duck can be had for $39, why go for something similar but at a whopping $56 at LWH??!! ( Unless one lives downtown?!) And this does not even take into account of Emperor's $19.98 Monday special!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu
                    n
                    natmo14 Apr 10, 2012 06:53 PM

                    It was a suggestion that no one had mentioned thus far. Obviously not in the cheaper price range but for someone like me who lives downtown and also enjoys many other dishes at this restaurant, I thought I would mention it. Although he may choose somewhere else to take his brother, it is good to know of other places as well. The food quality is excellent at LWH.

                    1. re: Charles Yu
                      c
                      ctl98 Apr 10, 2012 06:55 PM

                      I agree. Downtown, my choice would be Crown Princess. Although after having had the Monday special at Emperor, I've stopped eating anywhere else!

                      1. re: ctl98
                        elvisahmed Apr 10, 2012 07:02 PM

                        ctl98 how is the Peking duck at Crown Princess? Being a downtown dweller myself that's my go to spot for dim sum now but I haven't tried any other stuff from them.

                        1. re: elvisahmed
                          c
                          ctl98 Apr 10, 2012 09:26 PM

                          I like it much better than chung king, peking man, and the now defunct bright pearl. The skin was crisp and light (if you could duck skin that) and the pancakes were not too thick nor too thin. Try it and let me know what you think!

                  2. TorontoTips Apr 18, 2012 01:34 PM

                    OK, just wanted to update...

                    Monday was our duck outing and we opted to follow suggestions and go to Emperor for the duck special and the honey-fried oysters..

                    Honestly, we couldn't have been more pleased! The food was outstanding, service was terrific, server and managers friendly and sweet, the Monday night special price is insane, and it was just a really great meal.

                    My brother LOVED the fried oysters, and I thought they were great and huge and delicious, but I found the honey-garlic sauce overwhelmed the oysters a little and I think I would have loved them even better just fried with a squeeze of lemon. but that's just nit-picking, they were gooood.

                    As for the duck, I can't imagine how it could have been any better, and definitely not an extra $20 worth of better! Minor issues with the pancakes sticking together and tearing, but that's all part of the adventure, and this is definitely now my fave duck joint, for sure.

                    Thanks to Charles, et al, it was a huge 'brotherly' success, and I shall be back!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: TorontoTips
                      Charles Yu Apr 18, 2012 03:56 PM

                      Glad you liked it!
                      Nice time, may I suggest the Sunday Lobster special and the Sauteed Filet Mignon cubes with walnuts presented in a bird's nest!

                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        Royaljelly Apr 18, 2012 04:09 PM

                        Charles, have you tried their friday night roast suckling pork yet? We're thinking of going back for it once before my parents leave.

                        1. re: Royaljelly
                          Charles Yu Apr 18, 2012 05:44 PM

                          Yes! Not too bad. IMO. a close second behind Dragon Dynasty.

                        2. re: Charles Yu
                          TorontoTips Apr 18, 2012 04:15 PM

                          Sounds fantastic! Here's some photos, unfortunately they were iPhone pics and didn't turn out as well as hoped:

                           
                           
                           
                          1. re: TorontoTips
                            TorontoTips Apr 18, 2012 04:24 PM

                            Omei has been on my list to try for a while now, but Emperor impressed me, so I'd definitely give them a shot.

                            Question - How is the Lobster special prepared? Light and gingery, I hope!

                            I make annual east-coast trips for lobster - steamed whole, lobster rolls, lobster stew, etc. but my only asian lobster experience was weak, prepared in a heavy black-bean-type sauce that completely overwhelmed the lobster, so the flavour wasn't worth the slippery-coated-shell juggling and the work to dig it out in tiny pieces:-)

                            1. re: TorontoTips
                              Charles Yu Apr 18, 2012 05:54 PM

                              Right now O' Mei will charge you around $14.99+ per pound whilst the Emperor's special is only $9.99!!
                              Not a fan of the gingery starchy sauce version. Emperor's Sauteed with shallots and garlic chips is unique to the GTA and very tasty. However, their wok-fried with Maggie sauce is pretty good too! However, if you like, you can still opt for the ginger and scallions version! One of their repertoire!
                              IMO. any seafood with black bean sauce is a waste of the main ingredients Usually, the pungent taste and smell of the fermentated beans and minced garlic will mask the sweetness of the seafood!

                              1. re: Charles Yu
                                w
                                wano Apr 21, 2012 05:55 AM

                                would that include clams in black bean sauce?

                                The PK duck at Peak Top is great. Although I wish they would serve the pancakes in a steamer to keep them warm. They are also the only place that slices the cucumber realitvely thin, other joints are so thick making it hard to wrap.

                      2. c
                        childofthestorm May 28, 2012 07:08 PM

                        Re: the Emperor Peking duck special, what time does it start? Is it after 5pm, or can one order it during the day? My family is heading out to the zoo on Monday, and a Peking duck craving has been in effect for some time now...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: childofthestorm
                          s
                          szw Dec 9, 2012 02:35 AM

                          Is this Monday special still on? Are reservations recommend?

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