'Chinese Dumpling House', Commerce Gate - More misses than hits!
After debating for over 20 minutes, we finally decided to head over to Commerce Gate for some dumplings and Northern style Chinese food this lunch time.
Haven't been there for a few months, I was stunned to find, in addition to Asian Legend, at least 4 other establishments serving the same type of ' Dumpling-Szechuan-Northern ' style Chinese food in the same plaza!! What is happening??! A Pro-Northern Chinese food landlord offering special deals to dumpling specialist tenants?!
Anyways, with so many similar choices confronting us, we at randomly picked ' Chinese Dumpling House ' and hope for the best?!
Our party of four ordered:
- Steamed pork and cabbage dumplings
- Pork pot-stickers
- Leek and egg pancake
- Sliced leg of pork with garlic sauce
- Stirred fry veggie trio - potatoes, eggplant and green peppers
- Deep fry pork tenderloin with brown sauce
- Stirred fry sweet pea shoot with minced garlic
- Toffee Apples
Most of the dishes were acceptable but no one single dish stood out.
Pot stickers and dumplings both have an abundant of broth in the fillings. Seasoning lacked the taste and aroma of Chinese rice wine, wrapper thickness was middle-of-the-road.
Stirred fry dishes have lots of 'wok-hay' but the sauces were bland and one-dimensional The pea shoot was nicely cooked but the fresh sweet flavour was overwhelmed by the over use of minced garlic.
The caramelized toffee apple was 'self service' with insufficient ice-water provided! The result - A confused mess!!!
Northern Dumpling Kitchen across the road in Time Square or the Old House in Scarborough both offered much much better products!!
re: Charles Yu
We went to Old House today. Did not order a lot. But the charcoal cumin lamb skewers were good - a little oversalted but still tasty.
The dumplings - we've had better. We like the dumpling skin at Yummy Dumplings in Chinatown.
The minced meat noodle was good - noodles were chewy - similar to Sun Noodle at PMall.
Customers mostly spoke Mandarin so we knew we were in the right place.
Next time, we will order the water cooked fish, ma po tofu, spicy eggplant and the spicy tendon/tripe dish.
Once again, great recommendation since we do not usually venture south of Steeles. My daughter (a pre-teen foodie) really enjoyed this place.
We know the lady who owns Old House, she tells us that they brought in another chef from China and are doing a ton of take out and deliveries lately (aside from their regular diners that eat in). We went there tonight to try out some new menu items. She started us off with some fresh rice roll with sweet red bean paste, one of the best I've ever had, such soft melt in your mouth goodness (probably not even on the menu).
As for the mains, it was reassuring that the old dishes that we liked have not changed one bit (fish slices and veggie in bowl of hot oil w/ chillies, meat pancakes are some of the best in town, a pickled veggie noodle dish that my wife loves). The lamb skewers were quite good too, meat wasn't overly dried out like some places. Pretty tasty spicy "organ parts" soup. She had to put 2 tables together for us so that we could fit all the dishes.
Here's a photo of the new menu (flickr account has better photo resolution), don't ask me to translate though, I can't read chinese either! :)
The xian place is great as well. I think it's a second location. When we went for lunch, they do a sesame spicy hotpot lunch (a la carte or buffet) that was very popular.
Comes with sliced meats such as beef, lamb, vegetables and noodles.
It also has lots of lunch specials as well. Definitely worth a try.
We went back to Commerce Gate yesterday, in the hope of giving the 'X'ian' place a try. Unfortunately, the place was packed, so we ended up at the relatively new ' Sichuan Cuisine' instead. Man! Was the food bad!!
Apart from a few passable b-b-q skewers and a decent rendition of pork pot-sticker, the rest of the food though decent 'looking', were just plain mediocre and deceivingly 'awful'!
Kun Pao Chicken was overly starchy. Totally lacking wok-hay and a gluey mess!
Mushrooms medley used in the sauteed dish were actually 'canned' products!! Tasted funny due to, I suspect, the nasty packing liquid has not been properly rinsed away!!
Dan Dan noodles must be the worse in town! Ultra diluted and bland broth that was totally void of peanut/sesame taste. Over use of chili oil made the noodle almost inedible!
Garlic leg of pork was huge!!! At least twice the quantity of Northern Dumpling Kitchen's version across the road. Unfortunately apart from the taste of raw garlic, the rest of the seasoning was non-existence! Left half untouched, I took it home and kicked it up a notch today by adding, garlic chili oil, sesame oil, soya sauce, cilantro...etc!!
Do not be deceive by plate presentation!!
With so many decent choice nearby. Never again!!!!
re: Charles Yu
Went back again to old house for dinner.
Charles, my daughter lovedddd the eggplant potato dish. Great wokhay.
Beef pancakes were piping hot. Water cooked beef went great with rice.
We already liked the lamb skewers. But the charcoal lamb 'rack' was even better. Great deal for eleven dollars (?).
Will have to try the mochi next time. What # is it on menu? Thx guys.
Can't believe you're comparing these new restaurants to Asian Legend. Now I like Asian Legend but they are not Northern Chinese -- at most they are quasi-Shanghainese. I eat out with my Chinese friends and they seldom choose Asian Legend for the authentic taste. Asian Legend is good when we have some Gui-Los in the group that wants something more suited to the Canadian palate.
I see this is your first posting! So, welcome to the Chowhound fraternity!!
I don't believe I made any direct ' comparison ' to Asian Legend as such?! I only mentioned my surprise of finding the sudden emergence of at least 3-4 restaurants in a plaza serving the same type of 'dumplings...etc cuisine! ( comparison is amongst the group not with Asian Legend )
FYI, Asian legend on their official website actually claim themselves to serve 'Northern' Cuisine, even though most seasoned chowhounders all realize they are just one glorified outfit serving a mix-mash of all types Chinese dishes!!! BTW, almost all the dishes we ordered above were available at Asian Legend!!
So, who's following whose footsteps?! Who cares?! We chowhounders only search for great food and if by chance encountered mediocre ones - post warnings!