Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Delicious! Dragon Dynasty Dinner

Restaurant Review #2 Dragon Dynasty (Chartwell Plaza @ Brimley & Huntingwood in Scarborough).  Great time and food.

I've been told by a few people (not too many -- only a few) that I'd make a good food restaurant reviewer.  Don't worry, I won't let it get to my head, only my stomache.  I'll wrap flavours, dishes, price and value altogether and share the experience.  Let's see.

Here's the setup:  a special b'day party for one-year old Abigail who ate none of the delicious food (poor little one).  3 tables.  Banquet meal.  More background:  I've probably eaten around 100 Chinese banquet meals in my life.  Enough to understand what 'standard' is (~10 courses, soup, fish, seafood, vegetable, chicken, cold appetizer plate, fried rice and noodles), and how 'novel' may emerge from this.  So the prospect of a banquet meal brought both familiarity AND curiosity.  It would be an above average Chinese food meal.  Not something I would order at Asian Legend (rice with dishes like 'fish-fragrant' shredded pork and dian xin (dim sum) offerings like soup-filled dumplings or nicely layered beef pancakes...which are great)...or Noble House on Dundas, or New Sky Cantonese food on Spadina.  So my expectations vs. regular Chinese food is already heightened.

First -- I wasn't expecting anything 'novel'.  No expectations.  I'd eat whatever.  Then the first surprise when I arrived:  there were red-dyed boiled eggs on the table.  Sign of a b'day, I thought.  My mom tells me it's a Fukienese/Fujianese tradition, but I'm thinking it could be Cantonese as well.  Different.  In a neutral, different, kind of way.  This was probably a special add-on.  Not something you'd normally order.  Most of the table refused to eat this saying didn't want to stuff themselves on a chicken egg when better foods were coming just around the corner.  My appetite was whetted.

Then first comes the appetizer dish.  Usually a mixed cold meat dish with various elements.  But this was different.  One type of meat only.  Postive different:  roast pork with crispy skin.   I've had this lots of times and many places, and I have to say, this was one of the best crispy roast pork appetizers I've had in the city ever.  Flavourful.  To the point.  With lots of meat.  And the server placed the right combination of meat and crispy skin on each person's plate so that nearly every bite would create the perfect texture to complement the great flavour (chewy, crispy and flavourful all at once).  Joy #1.

Next surprise (and the nicest, biggest surprise) would probably be the soup (see the picture):  crab meat with shark's fin in a base that wasn't the regular thickened soup...this was based on a squash-esque flavour with some unexpected and slightly exotic (maybe a hint of curry) flavour.  Lots of crab; lots of shark's fin.  This was luxurious.  Absolutely awesome.  And different.  Joy #2.

Then dish after dish came out, each one conquered with the same great service:  every plate cleared before and after so flavours wouldn't mix.  Each dish finished so that the space was set and cleared.  We ate.  And talked.  And made jokes.  While we enjoyed dish after dish.  Novel and good.  Vegetable with delicious shrimp/scallop seafood.  Delicious crab.  Good fish.  Joy #3.  #4.  #5.  2nd picture is shanghai bok choy with mushrooms and well-flavoured chicken.  Good.

And just when I was expecting to have the 'traditional fried rice and e-fu noodles' to signify the end of the meal, they bring out a fried 'glutionous' rice dish.  Big joy #6.  Great texture (chewy), and flavour (soaks in the chicken and nicely textured pieces) to create a nice ending to the meal.  I took a lot of pics of the food, but alas, I will share only one.  The crab/shark's fin soup with squash-esque base (I don't know what the base was -- and there wasn't consensus on what it was).  Delicious.

Now -- this isn't to say if you go to this restaurant and order normal food of the menu it'll be this extravant and delicious, but it does show that creativity with fresh ingredients, recipes and attention to service detail can create a magical evening.  Excellent meal.

Link to random site with other reviews on this restaurant:



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