House of Gourmet
When going for dinner in Chinatown, it's so easy to stick to a few fave places and ignore the rest. Sometimes though, it's nice to try someting new... and that's where my head was when I walked up the front steps of House of Gourmet.
I was up for something different, and after a couple conditional pass signs in windows along Dundas, I remembered House of Gourmet. It's a big place, right in the heart of Chinatown, but I'd never really stopped there for a simple dinner. It was always some grand party where I didn't get a chance to eat much or order dishes I wanted. The menu is pretty varied though and the service fast, so I figured I'd see how they'd do with my favourite eats.
My co-diner and I order up a couple shareable entrees, priced between $7-9 each: Beef Satay Rice Noodles and a Tofu & Vegetable Hot Pot.
The Beef Satay is our usual favourite. Having tried it nearly everywhere, we figured we'd see what the "gourmet" touch had to offer. From a visual perspective, I was impressed. Pictured above, the dish was presented with the tender beef, green peppers, onions and pineapple prepared and placed atop a bed of warm rice noodles. Often the noodles and beef are all mixed together and presented in a jumbled heap, but this was almost pretty.
Flavour was all there as well. The veggies and pineapple still had a slight crispiness to them while the spicy beef was the sort of melt-in-your-mouth kind of tender we don't get often enough. Another nice element was the amount of sauce. I find that often there is just way too much of it, but here we had just enough to be good, yet not so much that we O.D.'d on sodium in one bowlful. Instant fave.
When it came to the Tofu & Vegetable Hot Pot, we were 100% certain what to expect as the description was vague, but we figured we'd take our chances.
The tofu here is deep fried and the veggie portion is mostly large, strong Chinese mushrooms, a slice or two of carrot and some greens underneath the tofu. My co-diner is not a fan of mushrooms unfortunately, leaving me to polish those off on my own (no problem - love 'em). While the saucy hot pot portion appears small, it packs a lot of food. We had plenty of left overs to take home for lunch the next day.
Now next time I'm looking to hit up one of my 'usual favourites', House of Gourmet will be on that list.. plus, I'm told the congee is a must-try.