Chinese Dinner Tasting Menus?
I'm looking to take my SO out for her birthday. She loves Chinese food but sometimes it's a little difficult to order a variety of dishes at a Chinese restaurant. I was wondering if anyone knows of a place that can possibly do a Chinese tasting menu? Price and location is of no concern.
Thanks for the help in advance.
Here in the GTA. I don't think you are in luck!
Availability has nothing to do with price or location but rather 'quantity of people' required!!
My suggestion is either for you to find more people to attend so that more dishes can be ordered and share or, for the two of you, just settle for a limited number of dishes ( like 3-4 ) from the a la carte menu and doggy bag the excess home!!
In the downtown area, both Dynasty and Crown Princess offer set menus for two.
I am sure if you call ahead and tell them you are willing to pay more to "amp up" the experience, they'd be happy to accomodate. Of the two, I prefer Dynasty for their traditional dishes and CP for their northern dim sums.
How much "fusion" can you tolerate? The obvious ones are Lee, Bent, and Momofuku Daisho. I still love the Singapore slaw and the cod served at Lee's; definitely fusioned, but unmistakably Cantonese influenced.
In the burbs, the "finer" ones I have experienced is Pearl at Bayview Village. It is on par with Asian Legend in my opinion - ie far from fine dining, but still finer than most in the category.
Consider trying John's BBQ up in Richmond Hill. They're the only decent chinese place I know of that serves tapas sizes dishes, so you can try many dishes without breaking the bank. Not sure if they have an english translated menu though, or if there's a specific time of day when they do the smaller dishes (for sure they had it in the afternoons). Don't forget to order the king of roast pork "cha shiu" dish, takes about 10 mins and is probably the best in town.
You can find a few posts on chowhound if you do a quick search. Don't expect great ambiance at this place though (for her birthday meal).
If my memory serves me right, Crown Princess only have set dinner menus for 4, 8 or 10 people!
Dynasty does have set menu for 2, but IMHO, the dishes are 'Pseudo Westernized Chinese'!! " Sweet and sour chicken ", "Won Ton or egg drop Soup", "Stir fried prawns with mixed Veggies" - give me a break!! These sounded more like 'Ho-Lee-Chow's take-out offerings!!!
Here are examples of Dynasty's menu:
Set Dinner (A) (minimum for 2) $24.95/Person
Minced beef egg drop soup
Sweet & sour chicken
Stir-fried shrimp with mixed vegetables
Minced beef tenderloin fried rice
Chilled coconut milky cake with jello
Deluxe Set Dinner (B) (minimum for 2) $39.95/Person
Fresh shrimp wonton soup
Honey walnut tender chicken
Deep fried lobster with spicy sauce
BBQ pork fried rice
Deep fried banana with icing sugar
If you decide to stay downtown, I would chose Crown Princess over Dynasty any day!!
'Pearl' inside Bayview Village, unlike its predecessor, serves Cantonese Cuisine whilst 'Asian Legend' offers mediocre Northern/Shanghainese style cooking. Comparing their food to the Yang's, Emperor, Casa Imperials or Victoria, Fisherman's Clubhouse, O Mei, Judy's Cuisine etc. Its like comparing burger made by Burger King to those of Burger Priests!!!
I still think careful 'a la carte' selection is the way to go for 2 people!!
re: Charles Yu
I distinctly remember seeing a "menu for two" at Crown Princess - one of those printed leaflets.
I agree with you Charles, the calibre/adventurous level of these "fix menus" in chinese restaurants cannot compare to a group menu for 10.
My point, however, is that with establishments like Crown Princess and Dynasty, they will be able to cater to special occasions.
I think Asian Legend still does a good job at their Sheppard and North York locations.