- Andrea Feb 10, 2004 03:29 PM
Has anyone been here? Whats good? Is it expensive?
It's good, but a little expensive.Very fresh, but portions are on the small side. Nice atmosphere. I usually stop at Cha Liu if I'm having a dim sum craving and I don't feel like heading to Hwy 7 or Chinatown. Each time I have gone, I've chosen 4 or 5 different dim sum, and it costs just over $20 with tip(for one).
Yes...I actually like Cha Liu because they are used to people dining solo. It is a cozy space, so the dim sum is ordered from a menu, rather than from a cart. The atmosphere is nice for people dining alone or in couples. There are 3 small tables located near some windows overlooking Yonge..each time I've been I've been seated at one of these tables so you can people watch as you eat.
This place is great if you want to dine alone and take your time ordering and enjoying the dim sum. I have had better dim sum in Chinatown. But I like this restaurant because it is on Yonge St and the window seats are great. I went once for a long lunch - 2 hours - and enjoyed it. I thought it was expensive as I am used to Chinatown prices. But it is great for a quiet lunch, snack or dinner.
I've been there a few times since it opened. Though it is a bit pricey, some of the items are interesting and well prepared with some finesse. All items are ordered à la carte, and are not mushy or withered from sitting on a trolley for an extended period. Any of the seafood dumplings are delicate parcels generously filled with large chunks of scallop or shrimp (for instance: shrimp, scallop and asparagus dumpling or scallop, celery and mushroom dumpling). Deep fried chicken wings are large, boneless wings stuffed with sticky rice. Deep fried taro cake is actually baked pastry balls stuffed with chicken and taro my friend called them Chinese knishes. Though I havent tried everything yet, the only thing I found real fault with was the Spare Ribs. Though the garlic and black bean sauce was wonderful, the ribs were fatty, fibrous gristle.
They also supply a homemade sauce consisting of mild chilies in oil with fragrant dried shrimp very tasty. As well, conventional sauces are supplied to complement particular dishes, for instance, hoisin, oyster sauce, or red rice vinegar.
Though they have been adding to the menu, I would say the steamed dumplings are the best choice. The chiang fun are rather paltry in size for the price. The baked puff pastry items are okay but again tiny.
A word of advice if you are there for lunch stick to the dim sum menu and dont go for the lunch special. On that particular day they offered: five dumplings (veggie roll; supreme shrimp dumpling; shredded pork, scallop and shrimp dumpling; diced pork and veggie dumpling; scallop, celery and mushroom dumpling), steamed veggie (gai lan that day), and stir fried noodles with beef and green beans. It sounds tempting but the experience is not worth it. The dumplings were of different sizes and ingredients but they were all steamed together and the more delicate ones fell apart from overcooking. The noodles were a hopeless soggy mass combined with miniscule bits of minced meat and three pieces of green beans. The special changes daily but dont do it.
I went by today and it seems they are offering a couple of dim sum classes with Evelyn Chau, who wrote the book, Have Some Dim Sum. The cost is $50 for 2 hours and you get to eat the fruits of your labour afterwards. The first class was yesterday but they are also offering another one on Feb. 29.
I stopped by last night for a quick bite to eat. I was on my own and felt very comfortable. I agree with the advice on the steamed dishes.
I had the shrimp, scallop and asparagus dumpling, the chicken and chive dumpling, the bbq pork bun and they were all very delish. My fave by far was the chicken and chive.
The only disappointment was a fried dish. The shrimp and mango roll was loaded with mayo on the inside and I could not distinguish the flavours.
I will definitely return.