After SERIOUS MISSING Lotte Furama after it moved off Rene-Levesque Blvd years ago and within the boundaries of Chinatown proper on Clark St., and after it closed ALTOGETHER several years after that, and having tried Ruby Rouge in 2009 and found it disgusting, I was in Montreal again this year and this time, I sauntered into the mall where La Maison Kam Fung is located, and went up to the 2nd floor...
Service SUCKED! The set-up and the placement of the tables and chairs were greatly awkward. I saw many couples and families having difficulty navigating with their strollers. Any dim sum restaurant owner with half a brain should anticipate a fair number of toddlers and infants at any time, right? Especially on the weekends, right? Well, not this one. They had the tables set up such that while the dim sum carts were circulating, some patrons were separated such that they couldn't see what was on the carts and were forced to get up, walk over and look. Poor design and forethought.
While I was there, I witnessed an argument between a waiter and a family. I didn't see the genesis of the argument, but I could gather it was over tips. The family didn't like the service, I gather, and didn't feel like putting tips. The head male customer (I'm guessing the dad of the family) said he was going to complain to the manager. The waiter, for his part, started lecturing the family on what the government of Quebec taxes, and said something about the guy should have some respect for himself, and pay up. (The waiter's statements really reminded me of this bit that Russell Peters does in his act called "Be a Man!" where the Chinese proprietor tells the customer something entirely irrelevant to the issue at hand (ie, the price of a piece of merchandise) and instead, says "Be a man! Do the right thing!" LOL) Anyway, like I said, I didn't see how it all began so I can't offer an opinion, but to have that argument in public in a restaurant and for the waiter to start lecturing a customer, right or wrong, is just plain unseemly, inappropriate and unprofessional for any server. Another little incident around me further turned me off to this place. Another family had claimed that the waitress had double-marked them for 1 order of dim sum. It turns out that the waitress was right and it was a misunderstanding on the customer's part, but the way she conveyed her impatience and annoyance at having to explain it to the customer really bothered me. Another couple I saw had to ask several times before being provided with metal utensils and glasses of water. Like I said, I could go on and on, and I will!...
At peak time, the restaurant serves its dim sum using old-fashioned carts. During a "last call" (which itself is a good idea), they ask patrons what they want, they put in the order, and the dim sum is heated and brought out from the kitchen. Now, you gotta figure they've been doing this for a while, right? And you have a number of tables. How difficult is it for the management to figure out a logical system and train the staff in following this? Not too difficult, right? They could pay me, and I could put some thought into it, and maybe over a couple of days, I could come up with a plan, right? But, these guys? Noooooo....the servers were walking around the tables like chickens without heads on...not knowing which container of dim sum should go to which table. It was soooo embarrassing....it's not the servers' fault. It's the fault of management who's too thoughtless or lazy to devise a proper system. I was so PO'ed I thought about complaining to the 2 female managers/owners I saw near the front, but they were too busy counting their money when I left to even have the courtesy of acknowledging or thanking a customer upon departure. Sad, so sad....
Jeez, I could go on and on....all this I saw in 1 MEAL! On a Saturday! (busy weekend!) Mind you, other than the first waiter that seated me forgetting to bring me a glass of water that I asked for, they did me no wrong. But that's because I know the system. Based on service alone, I would NEVER return to this place, absent a serious service overhaul, which I don't anticipate happening.
ABSOLUTELY NONE of the dim sum here was superb, nor even very good. Some were bad; others were just average to above-average; a couple of minor things were good. One good thing - the soy sauce they use on the rice crepes is sweetened - yummy - but that's it. Oh! and the chicken feet were tasty, yeah, that's true. Otherwise, I had the shrimp dumplings (har gow); egg custard tarts (dan tat); and tripe (too light and bleached). All those go thrown into my mental garbage can of mediocre dim sum over the years.
I'm sorry I brought my New York bluntness to the review. I've noticed that Montrealers (and probably most Quebecers) are more polite. I'm just being very honest.
La Maison Kam Fung
1936 Boul Thimens, Saint-Laurent, QC H4R2K2, CA