Fredericton, New Brunswick has a deservedly dismal dining repulation so I thought I should let fellow Chow Hounds know that things have improved just a bit. Mostly of the improvement can be attributed to the advent of Panda, the first decent Chinese restaurant I have tried since moving here from Toronto in 2002. Panda is located at the corner of Regent and Prospect in the City Motel. (Panda Chinese Restaurant, 1216 Regent St, Fredericton, NB E3B3Z4 Tel: (506) 455-5050). It has been open for about a year. I have dined there numerous times. They seem to have a mediocre chef on Monday nights but other nights have been good. The dishes are not consistently exactly the same but they are done well. The seafood is nice. I don't eat meat but my friends have praised the duck. This restaurant has a two-part menu. The front section has the more conventional Chinese cuisine (still authentic but in a more popular style), the rear section (wtih green pages) feature what I believe to be more traditional fare. I am not sure what region the food is from. There are some dishes I never saw in Toronto and others which I have seen only rarely. For example, stir-fried potato shreds with chili, which I have had in Toronto at Chinese Traditional Buns and in Halifax at the Hungry Chili. There is also a terrific raw cucumber and garlic salad which I always order when cucumber is in season. All in all a real asset in our restaurant-poor town.
I have been to some of the high-end places lately. I continue to dislike the Blue Door. Good apps and cocktails but the mains do not seem to gel, although I understand they do a good steak. Racine's was expensive and disppointing: a bit over the top but not as much flavour as the hype would warrant. However, I was pleasantly surprised by a recent dinner at the Palate. I had the Tofu Meatloaf and my partner had something with Pernod-flambe'd scallops and shrimp. Both were fresh and enjoyable.
I continue to rely on Snooty Fox and Isaac's Way for reliable cheap-and-cheerful with very good local beer.
I post this with gratitude for all of the great Chow Hound tips I rely on regarding where to eat when I travel.