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Gia Ba has arrived. Go there now.

Ever since the original chef (Andy) left Cuisine Szechuan, I've been patiently waiting for his spectacular food to resurface... lo and behold, it now has.

From what I can gather, Andy and his wife Debby have poured their hearts into Gia Ba, their new spot on Monkland in NDG. He's still serving all his CS specialties (green beans with minced pork, chillie beef, twice cooked fish, chicken and tofu flower in spicy broth, etc etc etc) but also offering some new interesting dishes.

When you go - and you will - please, please trust me and order chillie chicken. The dish essentially consists of sliced chicken bones which have been generously spiced and then slowly deep fried to absolute perfection - we were told it's Chinese bar food, to be enjoyed with beer. (Which they now have, by the way). The night we went, they were also doing a special of szechuan-style crawfish - and I have a feeling they'll be regularly supplementing the menu with fun stuff to keep us coming back.

Prices are very reasonable - comparable to CS, even though this new space is much more inviting. Fewer greasy students, no grime, no bright yellow walls randomly festooned with travel posters.

We should all go support this talented chef and his labour of love!

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  1. I am so looking forward to trying this place! The last time I was at Cuisine Szechuan, about a month ago, the food was very disappointing, and I'd heard the chef had left. I'm glad to hear he's resurfaced! I intend to be a regular customer...

    1 Reply
    1. re: cherylmtl

      Me too! I went back to CS once or twice in a futile attempt to get my fix, but it was just never the same without this guy.

    2. Wow - thanks for the report, I was so hoping to finally have non-Westernized Chinese food in NDG... have my wishes been answered? Can't wait to check it out!

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Restau...

      5766 Monkland Avenue
      (514) 564-7698

      4 Replies
      1. re: kpzoo

        Oh, they have. Let us know what you think!!

        1. re: kpzoo

          kpzoo, were you by any chance there this evening?

          1. re: cherylmtl

            I was! Were you too? I didn't recognize you! (I know it's been ages...)

            1. re: kpzoo

              I thought that was you, but it has been ages, so I wasn't sure...we were sitting near the at the very back, near the kitchen.

        2. cool im going there this saturday!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Crispyporkbelly

            Their FB page says something about not serving their regular menu this Fri-Sun due to the Monkland street festival -not quite sure what that means but just a heads-up.

          2. It was sooo good. We had twice-cooked fish, cumin braised chicken, and dan dan noodles, which are vegetarian with homemade noodles.

             
             
             
            1 Reply
            1. re: kpzoo

              thanks for the tip!!! looks really good

              1. re: Arktik

                I asked the same thing! They don't right now... they do seem to do a brisk take-out business!

              2. We passed by this place last weekend during the street festival. They had a few dishes outside to choose from, I think general tao, spring rolls, a salad, and a couple other things I can't recall. Everything looked good and taste great. We will be back for a sit down dinner and if they start delivering, we would make it our go-to place for Chinese.

                1. I love my Szechuan food! Glad we have another option, and another part of town.

                  We went 2 days ago after getting off the airport. Only had 2 dishes. Stir fried green beans with chilis and ground pork, and deep fried chicken with spicy cumin seeds. Although both were packed with flavours, found the green bean almost had no minced pork at all. I did find the past few times I went to Cuisine Szechuan, the spicy cumin fried chicken did get smaller in portion, and at Gia Ba, it was even smaller in portion. I counted 8 pieces at most. I know it's not always about quanity, but compared to their other meat dishes that hovers around the 8-12$ range, I felt that this dish at 17$ doesn't feel as worth it.

                  But will be back to try the other dishes. Especially looking forward to try the chili chicken with bones.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Jaetee

                    That's what happens when greasy students are no longer part of their customer base.

                      1. re: kpaxonite

                        was just poking at nochainsplease's OP

                  2. Not only a talented chef, but a very nice guy. He came out and chatted with all the customers to make sure everyone was happy and to see if anything should be tweaked.

                    He seems especially proud of even his General Tao (panko-breaded, so that it stays crispy) and all the dishes we tried were delicious (Yu Xiang eggplant, green beans, the spicy fish hot pot and some dumplings.)

                    Very happy to have a decent Szechuan restaurant in NDG.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: afoodyear

                      > Very happy to have a decent Szechuan restaurant in NDG.

                      Hear, hear!

                      I too tried the Yu Xiang eggplant and fish in chili broth on a recent visit. The eggplant was some of the best I've ever had, with such an interesting flavour. Both were very oily - I kind of tried to pluck the contents out of the pools of oil - and the hot pot is full of fiery chilis so not for the faint of heart. I liked the twice-cooked fish better and that'll definitely be our go-to fish dish there.

                      Here's a couple of pics.

                       
                       
                    2. Tried out Gia Ba recently.

                      Dan dan noodles were really good not groundbreaking but like the kick, slice pork appetizer also was excellent. Dumplings in chili sauce also a standout.

                      Unfortunately I tried the sliced chicken bones and I wish I would have asked how the plate was prepared as I would not have ordered it.

                      You could tell me it's as authentic as it comes, that it's bar food, etc... but I couldn't care less. They are charging $12 for pieces of bones from the neck and back of the chicken with no meat on it minus a piece here and there. You end up chewing on bone which isn't my cup of tea.

                      I would definitely go back though as the food is fresh and the place is really really clean, I've stopped going to a lot of Chinese places as so many of them are filthy and have been even been shut down temporarily and/or fined by city inspections for horrid conditions. This ban of mine extends to a lot of other places too not just Chinese restos. I know we're not supposed to talk about inspections in here but I'm not calling out any specific establishment.

                      Looking forward to trying some of their westernized plates too.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JerkPork

                        Wow. I went there last week, and was very pleased. I haven't been to Cuisine Szechuan in a long time and was hoping that this place would Knock my socks off, and it did. The kids started with a won ton soup and a vegetable soup and they were both great. The broth was fantastic and gave the adults time to try some good spicy food without interruptions.

                        We had the cucumber salad with cashews and it was really tasty. I missed not having the white bean noodles that come at the original resto but this was great anyways. The mushroom salad was equally good with a nice kick. We had cumin beef, chili chicken and mapo tofu...all were as delicious and tangy and were full of those prickly and numbing flower peppers as at Cuizine Szechuan but we would of liked it to be a little more spicy. I think next time we will ask to speak to the chef since he has told me his tolerance for spice was ''unlimited''.....

                        1. re: JerkPork

                          Hey JerkPork! Just about the chicken bones... I agree not everyone's cup of tea but I know it takes a long time to cook and involves a certain degree of expertise... hence the $12 for bones. But I see what you mean!

                        2. I've been twice. Both times, the food was fantastic. Service was great. Yu Xiang eggplant, Braised Chicken with 13 spices, General Tao Chicken and Dan Dan noodles are some of my faves. Softshell crab special was superb. The second time, I was fortunate to go with a large group, so got to try many of the appetizers too. Cold fungus and a cold cucumber dish were dynamite! The chef Andy is stellar! Prices are reasonable and portions are tremendous! GO!

                          1. After a recent meal there, I spoke to the chef and asked what should I order the next time. Obviously, everything is good he said...With further prodding though, he mentionned cumin beef & chicken, twice cooked fish and a sometimes available special, clams (with garlic, ginger and thai basil). This one seems more Taiwanese in genre than Szechuan per se. (Chef is of Taiwainese origin).