Friday, October 25, 2013

Oh Dumplings

My sister moved out about a month and a half ago. I haven't had the chance to talk to her a lot so I invited her to eat out. I suggested we go to Chinatown because I wanted to try the new dumpling place, Oh Dumplings.

We came in quite early, around 4pm (she finishes school at 3pm so I didn't want to make her wait and do nothing until the evening). There were two other customers finishing their meals.

Since the temperature has been dropping the past days my sister ordered a won ton soup and I ordered a shallot pancake to start with. Our main dishes were pork ear and pork/shrimp/cabbage dumplings.

Shallot pancake

The shallot pancake was thin and crispy. It was good enough to be eaten without dipping sauce. Some places the batter is too thick or soggy. At least it was to my liking.

Pork ear

Pork ear is one of their cold dishes. Some people eat it hot. I like it both ways. They serve it with a daikon dipping sauce. My sister was impressed by the daikon rose in the corner of the plate. Way to make a cold and weird looking dish look appetizing (at least to people who have no clue what they're eating).

Pork, shrimp and cabbage dumplings

We ordered pork/shrimp dumplings because they didn't have shrimp dumplings. That was our little disappointment. They have fish dumplings, which we could have tried, but it's a bit pricier. When the dumplings came I was surprised to see how chubby and juicy they were ... to then realize they were boiled and not steamed. My sister didn't care but I did. The way the products are advertised you would think they are steamed. Maybe they didn't want to spend time making them. The reason why I don't like boiled dumplings is because they tend to lose flavor while cooking and absorb water, making the dough soggy and slippery. When I make dumplings at home I steam them most of the time, fry them sometimes, boil them when I'm reallllly lazy. At least the meat inside was good and seasoned enough (with actual pieces of shrimp).

In general I was satisfied. The whole thing came up to 30$, which is reasonable. The restaurant itself was well lit (big windows) and well designed, whether is was in the choice of colors, the furniture, the plates, or just the fact that your table is not right next to the bathroom. In other words, it doesn't look like a lounge nor like a sketchy restaurant. It's one of those places that even when crowded you still have room to walk around.

When we were looking at the menu, we were surprised by the vegetarian choices. In particular the spinach and carrot dumplings : one is green and the other one is orange. I think it's a good thing to know there are vegetarian choices available and that you can tell them apart from the other kinds.

For more information :

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Maison Bulgogi

I have had a lot of Korean food this year (well more often than before). I've started craving for it more than I usually crave for sushi.

Last Sunday Rio, Sophie, and I went to Maison Bulgogi. In all honesty, until I try my Korean friends' momma cooking, I'll never really know what good Korean food is. But from my experience, Maison Bulgogi is one of those places that haven't disappointed me so far.

As I am writing this post I just realized I did not think about writing down the names of the dishes we ordered. Maison Bulgogi is one of those places you hear about through your friends or read reviews on the UrbanSpoon and Yelp. They don't have a website and so the menu is nowhere to be found on the web. I haven't blogged in such a long time I am not doing things properly.

First things first, the usual : appetizers. Most restaurants let you have as much as you want and don't charge you for them (they're included when you order a meal).

Then we ordered fried calamari as an entrée (though it came after we received our main dishes). 14$ for the big portion.

The batter was a regular tempura batter. Itself it was kinda bland but at least there was some dipping sauce (no offence but I like the fried calamari from Chez Bong better).

Rio ordered some stir fry homemade noodles with chicken.

It was quite a big portion. I never had noodles in a Korean restaurant (always bbq, bibimbap or soup) so I can't tell whether this is considered as good or not. For my part I liked it. The noodles weren't thick (like udon) nor thin (like vermicelli). Also I found it wasn't spicy at all. Or it might be that my tastebuds have been burnt out by years of abusing spicy food.

Sophie had rice with eel.

The eel was quite good but I found the vegetables too thick to my liking (but that's very personal). I found it was an interesting dish and I'm thinking about ordering it for myself next time and try to fully enjoy it.

For my part I had stir fry vermicelli with seafood.

I'm often scared when I order stir fry that it might be too oily. This was actually the right texture. The spices were the same as in Rio's noodles (they're probably the same for all noodle dishes). The seafood were basically calamari and shrimp (no scallop nor mussel). The portion was quite big so I ate half of it and took a doggy bag for the other half.

Usually when I go to Maison Bulgogi I have quite a pleasurable time. I don't know whether it was because there were more people than when I went the times before but the service that night wasn't so great. They filled our glasses of water only once and the waiter would pass by us so fast and barely look in our direction that calling out to him was sort of awkward.

Still I think the food there is quite afordable (we spent 20$ each, taxes and tip included) and it is a nice place for a date or an evening between close friends since the noise level is normal. It's not one of those fancy places neither so you can dress however you like.

Maison Bulgogi : 2127 Ste-Catherine West, H3H 1M6, near metro station Atwater or Guy-Concordia
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