After over indulging on cruise ship food for a week, albeit mostly delicious and enjoyable. I cannot wait to get back on dry land and savor some overdue wok-hay Canto-fare. After hearing some recent positive review of this relatively new, Markham Cantonese restaurant. Our party of eight decided to give it a try. Being on a weekend evening, the place as expected was packed to the hilt!
Occupying the location of the former ‘ Spring Villa ‘, the current owner did a major facelift to the place by installing giant size crystal chandeliers and adorning the walls with gold gilded mirrors and ornaments. A huge TV screen displaying gorgeous, constant changing, landscape sceneries dominated the front of house rendering it very bright. In short, this place resembles Richmond Hill’s ‘The Emperor’ but in new clothing!
Apart from the regular a la carte menu, there was also the presence of a special dine-in ‘ half price ‘ one pager, featuring 6-7 house specialty dishes like ‘Bone-in braised lamb hot-pot ‘, ‘Peking Duck two ways’, Stirred fry razor clams with wild mushroom medley’….etc. Though limited to only one dish per table, still, at say $19 for a Peking Duck two ways, these specials are hack of a deal……especially in the case of the duck, when just down the road, ‘QJD Peking Duck restaurant’ inside the Marriot is charging a whopping $128 for a bird!!
Ordering individual dishes from the a la carte menu, we found overall, the food to be skillfully executed and well prepared. Stand-out like a topnotch perfectly sauced and crisp Sweet and sour pork taking the center stage. The stirred fry sliced beef with Chiu-chow Satay sauce and Chinese Kale ( Gai Lan ) was packed with smoky, aromatic wok-hay goodness. The caramelized beef, flavorful and tender. Their rendition of the popular Herbed Soya sauce poached free range chicken, though slightly under-seasoned was better than a lot of their nearby competitors such as Skyview Fusion or Dragon Boat. Stirred fry Garoupa filet was well seasoned and prepared despite slightly overcooked. Only disappointment was their overly battered and heavy textured ‘Fried King Prawns with Salted duck egg yolk coating’. Tasy but a bit overwhelming.
Unfortunately, service by the non-management staff was sub-par, disorganized and lacking professionalism. In fact, our lady server was borderline grouchy and unfriendly!
Still, I would rate this new, welcoming addition to the GTA Cantonese landscape as one of the best restaurant in that category. How those ‘ Yelpers ‘ managed to give “ Ritzy Palace” undeserved and lowly 1-2 stars rating really puzzled me?!