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Congee Queen - 1st timer

Any standout dishes I need to know about?

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  1. The fried chili turnip patties and the spice and pepper salt squid (Asian style calamari) are really good

    1. I've had the best luck with the deep fried pork chop, spicy turnip cake, e-fu noodles and the rice noodles with beef and XO sauce. I try to stay away from dishes with shrimp because they tend to be bland and mushy and the chicken can have an off-taste to it. The noodles in soup tend to be poor due to the bland, less-than-al dente noodles. The wontons are perpetually overseasoned and taste like they've been sitting in a brine solution. The congee is OK and the fried noodles are OK.

      Which location? It's a pretty mediocre chain overall. The quality can be maddeningly inconsistent from visit to visit with surprisingly high highs interspersed with the occasional borderline inedible low. It's the convenient location and the prospect of catching them on a good night that keeps me going back for more. Good luck!

      1. Agree with tygrr - the salt and pepper squid is spectacular and the fried turnip patties are good. I've heard that the deep fried crab (claw?) is great but haven't tried it.

        1. I assume you read this thread:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8107...

          I read through that before my first trip there and it was useful/good suggestions there. Particularly like the turnip patties. The beef curry was very fatty but tasty as well.

          1. Just wanted to re-iterate my previous comment about their 'more than decent' Cantonese BBQ and Roasted Meats.

            1. I'm with everyone else- the turnip cakes!

              Also, my favourite accompaniment to the BBQ pork is k28- Chinese broccoli with garlic sauce.

              The bf also loves the deep fried pork chop with salt and pepper.

              1. We really like (K26) minced pork, dry fish with olive & green bean. Agree that the turnip patties are usually good, though occasionally mediocre. I like the Cantonese chow mein, but I am a sucker for really crispy noodles. We have worked our way through a lot of the menu by asking what is popular. It's been an interesting approach and certainly exposed us to some new items. Mango chicken and shrimp is very sweet. Agree with Charles that the BBQ is surprisingly good.

                1. Thanks everyone. We had a delicious meal there.

                  The highlights -

                  Congee - who knew. I loved it!!! Very comforting, would make an excellent 'sick' soup.
                  Turnips cakes - addictive. Couldn't. Stop. Eating.
                  BBQ pork - very nice, moist and delicious
                  Lobster with ginger - excellent but damn, never enough lobster and so difficult to eat.
                  Beef and broccoli - as expected, but very tender

                  We had a really enjoyable time. The place was PACKED!!! Is it always like that?

                  We'd definitely go back. The price was incredibly cheap. The four of us were stuffed and it came to $70 total.

                  In turns of atmosphere, very cafeteria-ish with the bright lights and all, but the place was hopping and it was perfect for last night.

                  Oh, and the service and our waiter was excellent.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: millygirl

                    Ooh, your first time with congee? Delicious, comforting stuff. If you're ever at Chantecler, order their congee. It may very well be the most perfect bowl of congee I've ever had. I also dream of Chantecler's turnip cakes -- totally different than Congee Queen's, though: very creamy instead of toothsome. Both styles are delicious.

                    1. re: millygirl

                      To which CQ , and what time did you go millygirl? i find a big difference between the don mills/lawrence location and the don mills/steeles location, much preferring the later. i haven't tried the one in markham or scarborough

                      that said, when it's packed and there's a line up at the steeles location they tend to rush you out ...last time, as soon as they dropped the change, a group of servers swarmed our table and had it bussed and reset before we stood up and put our coats on lol

                      two of my favourites are G5, two choices of meat, i usually order the bbq and the roast pork and K52 spice and pepper salt bean curd

                        1. re: magic

                          We were at the Don Mills and Lawrence locale.

                          Not rushed at all. Our server was great and although it was packed, we were very relaxed.

                          One small item that could have gone south but luckily didn't - a visually impaired woman arrived with her guide dog, and party of 6. The staff were quite taken aback about the dog and told the couple they had to leave. Naturally the husband spoke up and told them it was the law, etc etc. Finally the employee came back to apologize and welcome them properly.

                          We have a friend who is in similar situation and this type of thing happens more than you think. I find it terribly upsetting that this type of thing still happens but again, thankfully they realized their mistake and corrected it. But again, it's too bad that a little scene was caused over it.

                          1. re: millygirl

                            Hmm, ok. Well, thanks for relaying your experience. Good to know :)

                      1. I'd read about the salt and pepper squid for a long time but when I tried it I found it to just be deep fried rubber. Maybe an off day in the kitchen?

                        Not liking CQ. Rushed and very curt service. Turnip cakes just okay.

                        For my preference, I'd much rather return to Congee Star down the street on Don Mills. Spicier and crisper turnip cakes and the staff is always friendly, even when it's busy.

                        I'll get back on their S+P squid, tho it may be a while as I'm rubber-shy now. Make sure to order Cantonese Chow Mein -- noodles crispy.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: neighborguy

                          I was just there today and we felt the same way about their curt service. We were halfway done our meal when one of the waiters asked if we wanted take out boxes. I know there was a lineup out there and it felt like they were rushing us. I think they've gotten too big for their britches.

                          1. re: punkyhunky

                            Phenomenon happens on an Easter Sunday holiday long week-end?!! All Chinese places are like that!!!

                            1. re: punkyhunky

                              Which location was this? I find that usually I have to flag them down to get anything. Surprised they came up to you to offer take out boxes....

                              We used to be regulars there..but when the manager went to another location the service went with him. Even though one of the main mgr's came over to introduce us to the new mgr so she could take care of us...nope...previous visits she completely forgot about us....we went from regular customers (getting the free dessert) to nobody....

                              1. re: flonie

                                Lawrence and Don Mills.

                                So it's a few days later and although I can forgive food arriving late and in a funny order (squid arriving at the end of the meal) and food getting dropped by the server (piece of said rubber squid fell off the plate to the floor) I can't let go of the mean waitress. Yeah, I've been to many Chinese (and non Chinese) restaurants with busy and short service but I won't be returning somewhere I'm not wanted.

                                1. re: neighborguy

                                  I understand how you feel. I think they get too big for their britches sometimes.