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O'Mei - 'Giant Lobster (11lbs) 4 ways' and more ( with photos )

This iconic dish has been mentioned numerous times on this board. However, I did not recall a single write-up of the four components, let alone with photo illustrations. Yesterday, treating newly wed cousins from overseas to dinner provided me with an opportunity to record and report on this mouth watering event!

Our party of eight selected and devoured an eleven pounder. FYI, this lobster was dissected using hand held Chinese cleavers only, including chopping up those massive thick shelled claws! No electrical/mechanical 'saws' was needed! Talk about 'Kung-Fu' cooking!!

The 4 courses were:

Course#1 - Steamed claws with minced fried garlic and scallions on a bed of Chinese rice vermicelli.
Perfectly timed, the meat was sweet and not overly chewy.

Course#2 - Stirred fry tail with Maggi and Premium top soy based 'house special ' sauce and
Impressive tasting sauce! No one in town does it better! Unlike other rendition which
involved starchy sauce, O'Mei's was a dryish finish with just the right amount of glaze
covering the morsels. Best tasting part was actually not the lobster meat but those
shredded onions! Soooo good!

Course#3 - Deep fry body and head with spiced peppered salt and minced chili garlic.
Absolutely greaseless! Salty and spicy, this dish is a perfect accompaniment with

Course#4 - Braised E-Fu noodles with lobster tamale, straw mushrooms and yellowing chives.
Given an option of either fried rice with tamale or noodles, we picked the latter for a
change. Benign looking but packed with cholesterol, this was our only 'carbs'
for the evening.

On top, our meal also has Roasted pigeons ( savoury, crispy and crunchy ), Stirred fry King Mushrooms with snow pea shoot and Braised eggplants with Enoki mushrooms and dried scallops in a hot pot.

Total bill for the eight of us came to $410 all inclusive of tips and tax and well worth it!! BTW, no corkage fee for BYOB.
For a Thursday night, the restaurant was packed!!! with people waiting outside!! Unbelievable!

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  1. That's great CY. You're right, there hasn't been a stand-alone write-up. Way overdue.

    You said BYOB, but did the price include anything drinks from the restaurant? Either way, $50 a head for that kind of feast is a pretty good deal.

    I've only been once. Need to go again.

    1 Reply
    1. re: grandgourmand

      Only tea ( pretty good quality by Chinese restaurant standard ). 3 different desserts were complimentary include a great tasting 'Fresh Mango Mochi"

    2. What, no pictures or reviews of the 3-4 freebie desserts? Those mango coconut pods and mini black sesame rice balls are just to die for.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Royaljelly

        Photos of the desserts?! That, I'll leave them to you and Iron Buddha to provide!! Ha!! How many pounds can your kids devour now??!! Growing like weeds??!!

      2. I thought it's usually 5 ways? Don't they have the steamed egg with lobster juice anymore?

        7 Replies
        1. re: chutchut

          My experience was similar to what CY has explained here last month a very good way to experience this delicacy. We had the Lobster 5 ways option so 2 of the courses were different.
          We had 2 lobster weighing 8 lbs each and we ordered some extra dishes to balance things out.
          1st course was steamed with scallions and garlic. A somewhat purist approach to Lobster as you get enjoy the succulent meat in its pure form.
          2nd course was Lobster with Maggi Sauce. Pan fried well with onions. A nice sweet finish that went well with the main attraction.
          3rd course was fried lobster legs. The batter was nice and topped with a spice that brought bit of heat to the course.
          4th course was lobster innards with rice. A gourmet dish that I enjoyed.
          5th course was a steamed egg with lobster meat (I haven't had this dish before) reminded me of Chawanmushi. The lobster taste was less pronounced in this course.

          The service was excellent as well provided by the chairman himself Ringo!

          1. re: elvisahmed

            Did Ringo sing a 'Bee Gee's' song for you folks as well??!!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              Yeah absolutely. Started out in Cantonese and then the last part was switched to English with the lyrics being peppered with the dishes names. Quite a show that impressed everyone at the table :)

            2. re: elvisahmed

              Never even knew there was a 5th way. Do you have to ask for that? Does it cost more?

              1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                Well I didn't know that either as I had just the 4 ways before. The friend who organised the event asked for it 5 ways and there was no extra charge for it.

                1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                  I just checked with the restaurant and was told that when you order 2 lobsters (each 6lbs+), you get the 5th dish (steamed egg) for free. The reason is that one lobster's tomalley/brain will be used for the fried rice/noodle, while the other one's will be used in the steamed egg.

                  1. re: chutchut

                    'Double Death by Cholesterol'!! Enjoy, have fun and bring along Crestor for your guests!!

            3. If Omei were to market their lobster special dishes as "Kick-ass Lobster 4 or 5 ways", they would make more top 50 in Canada lists for sure. Or maybe it is just as well a Toronto area secret as the lineups are already too long!

              1. Thanks for the tip many a month ago!

                Really enjoyed my visit last year to sample this unique sequence of dishes.

                1. Thanks Charles, but note #4 is spelt "tomalley".

                  1. What's the price per lb? Would there be enough lobster in something smaller (like 6lbs) to prepare 4 ways for a smaller group?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jl_1978

                      If I recall correctly it was 19$/lb. 6 lbs should be OK for a 4 ways lobster.

                      1. re: jl_1978

                        everytime i've gone the smallest lobster they had was 7lbs +

                      2. Just personal preference but I could eat that first course 4 times.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                          Totally agree. I love that dish. It's also the first dish so you're primed for it and it's meatier than the last two.

                        2. breaking out of a long phase of not posting (and limited board reading) to say thanks Charles! i'm usually a lobster purist (steamed, maybe grilled, with a bit of lemon and butter only) but was curious enough to finally try this lobster 4 ways at O Mei recently. i'm not a tamale fan, so that was easily my least favourite course. the others were all good in their own ways, i did like the simplicity of the steamed claws, how the sweetness of the sauce brought out great lobster flavour in the second course, and the flavours in the third course. though the meat was often a bit hard/awkward to get out of the deep fried pieces.

                          dessert included this red bean-black rice type soup, some sort of chewy mango jelly like squares lightly coated in shredded coconut (mango part good, i'm not a fan of the texture of shredded dried coconut) and these little chewy glutinous rice balls with black sesame filling with a bit of a simple syrup type sauce (tasty and just the right size).

                          for a change from just pure lobster, i would definitely recommend trying the giant lobster at O Mei! ours was just under 9 lbs, but saw other tables with 10 lb + orders!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: auberginegal

                            You are most welcome, auberginegal! Glad you enjoyed most of the courses. Once in a while, nice to have something different for a change.

                          2. Needed a place to take out of town visitors for a special dinner. Based on Yelp and Chowhound reviews, decided on Omei. Had the Lobster 5 ways, yellow-fin grouper 4 ways, a geoduck sashimi dish, plus S&S pork. Some of the Lobster dishes were excellent as was the fish soup. Some of the other dishes just OK and the S&S pork was mediocre. Service was friendly, but spotty. Seating was crowded and uncomfortable. Price was just over $50 per person tax & tips incl which was expected and reasonable. Glad we went, and would return but overall was not blown away.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: T Long

                              What are the 4 ways of the grouper?

                              1. re: Teep

                                Hi Teep: One was the soup/broth which I liked a lot. They brought out the ingredients which included veggies and fresh bean curd which went untouched. A second course was fillets sauteed with snow peas. The third was steamed with something tasting like spicy black beans. The fourth was braised with shiitake mushrooms and dried bean curd (not sure what part of the fish as I don't recall having any).

                            2. What non-seafood dishes would you recommend to go along with the lobster ?
                              Any chicken dish in particular?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: minto

                                Depending on the patrons!! If they have an 'oriental' palette then I would suggest the ' Steamed minced pork pattie with water chestnut, dried squid and Chinese mushrooms". Their 'fried free range chicken' is pretty good. Surprisingly, they also do a more than decent rendition of the 'sweet and sour pork'!!! A bit on the expensive side but their 'steamed live French Turbot with ginger, scallions and premium top soy' is fine too!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  Thanks Charles. I was hoping you'd reply.
                                  About how much does the turbot dish cost?
                                  Any recommendation for a vegetable dish? Any thoughts on minced pork with eggplant?

                                  1. re: minto

                                    You are most welcome!
                                    For the live fish, you'll be looking at at least $50.! Better to ask since its 'market price'!
                                    My two favorite veggie dishes are the 'Sauteed Gai Lan with dried Tile fish ' and the ' Braised eggplant with conpoy and Innochi mushrooms in a clay pot' ( this version IMO tasted better than your suggestion).
                                    Have a great time! And don't be pressured into anything by the bossy manager/owner.

                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                      Took my western friends for the lobster meal last night at O'Mei.
                                      They enjoyed it immensely and was a wonderful experience for them.
                                      The 4 lobster dishes were delicious and perfectly cooked. Can't say we enjoyed one of the courses more than another as it was all excellent.

                                      We also had the fried free range chicken, s+s pork, sautéed guy lon with dried tilefish, and the eggplant dish with mince pork in hot pot (no conpoy or mushrooms due to diet restrictions).
                                      All were good and was a nice accompaniment to the lobster.

                                      Another plus is the free corkage BYOB.

                              2. I love O'Mei but I feel Fisherman's Clubhouse fried garlic lobster dish trumps O'mei's

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Bobby Wham

                                  Although Fisherman's version is good, but I don't think one is actually comparing apples with apples?! O'Mei's giant lobster involves three ways of preparation. The tastiest, IMO, is the sauteed version with their house secret sauce - which has a 'wet' finish rather than the dry finish of Fisherman's.
                                  BTW, for a dry finish, have you tried Emperor's ' Fried garlic & Shallots ' version? In your opinion, how does that compares with Fisherman's?!

                                  1. re: Charles Yu

                                    What's the business hours for O'Mei?

                                2. This looks great and Omei is right across from my condo.

                                  I went to Da Fu Seafood Restaurant at Middlefield/Steeles last night and had a pretty good meal there. We got a 4.3 lbs lobster and it was fried with garlic and salted egg yolks.

                                  It was $9.99 a lb, used to be $6.99 I believe but prices went up. Nearly every table ordered one. There's 4 or 5 different preparations available, the "Golden Sand" preparation that we got was had a $5 surcharge. So our lobster was under $50 total.

                                  My question is, if any of you have been to Da Fu and Omei, how do they compare? Omei is charging $19 bucks a lb which is twice as much. I've been salivating over Charles pictures and review of Omei, but want to know whether it's worth it.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ragged25

                                    For the novelty and uniqueness, O Mei's 4-6 ways is great and hard to beat, especially for entertaining out-of-towners.

                                    However for a one or two ways preparation, there are equally tasty execution and better value elsewhere.
                                    A few examples that come to mind are the 'Typhoon Shelter version of Fisherman Clubhouse', 'Rum cream sauce version of Fung Lum Court', ' Wok Fried with spiced chili salt, crispy garlic and shallot chips',' Stirred fry with Maggi sauce of Maple Yip'...etc

                                    If one does the math. For another restaurant to generate a similar 4 courses of O'Mei, one would need at least a 7-8 pounder. Using your ' hard to find, Scarborough' $9.99 per pound reference, that would come to around $80. How much will the surcharge be for all the extra efforts and additional ingredients. Who knows? $15-20?!. So for an apple/apple comparison, its O Mei's $160 vs $100 for Da Fu ( assuming the kitchen has the skill to execute O'Mei's yummy preparation? Which I doubt! )

                                    Analyzing the scenario further. Based on my current knowledge of the above captioned restaurants, they are all offering giant lobster between $13,99 - $16.99+. So a more realistic price for a 4 ways preparation will be more like $144 ( average $15.5 per pound and $20 surcharge )
                                    IMO, when one takes into account of the 3-4 different types of 'complimentary' yummy desserts offered by O Mei at the end of the Lobster meal, value wise, its a pretty close toss up.

                                    BTW, what else did you have at Da Fu. How's the cooking and 'wok-hay'?! Restaurants on my above list are all known for their consistency and quality.

                                  2. I've dined there a couple of times and their other dishes were pretty good too. I've had their house special fried spare ribs with taro in sweet sauce that was pretty addictive and pork neck meat with peppers was good too, slightly greasy though. I would say its comparable to Maple Yip and other Scarborough restos. Portions are massive and I think it's reasonably priced given the portion.

                                    Dinner for 4 with the lobster, 2 other dishes, rice with free soup and green bean soup and goji berry/lychee jelly was 80 bucks after tax before tips and we ended up with 3 boxes of leftovers.

                                    I would definitely agree with your comment regarding O'mei being a more of a special occasion place and its at a different 'class' and a higer end place thus the price premium.
                                    I'm not certain whether they would be able to replicate all the dishes O'mei offers or taste as good, hence my initial question.

                                    Perhaps you can take the plunge and do a report back Charles lol?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ragged25

                                      I would like to take up on your offer if I have time. However, for next week, I have already penciled in 'Fisherman Clubhouse' to try out their 'Lobster Tower' with my kids and the week after, 'The Emperor' for the Garlic Shallot crisp and Maggi sauce version ( part of a dinner gathering ).
                                      Saw a giant banner outside of the premise advertising the lobster, so not sure how long Da Fu's lobster special going to last?
                                      However, to tell you the truth, I am a bit skeptical after reading 'Yelpers' giving it 5 one star, 3 two stars and 5 three stars in their 'out of 5' rating system! May be that's the reason why you ask me to take the plunge with a 'LOL'!! Ha!!

                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                        There was a pretty big lineup last night during dinner and it was a Wednesday night. Most folks working their way through the big lobsters do not seem like Yelpers lol.

                                        They seem to specialize in seafood - Alaskan king crab, clams, turbot fish, stone fish, clams, BC crabs etc...

                                        Most of the Yelp reviews were either old or for dim sum. I think if you focus on the right things you should be fine.

                                        Like I said, please take the plunge and report back lol.