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North-East Chinese Restaurant

Posted by Jason Finestone / Reviewed on October 5, 2012 / review policy

North East Chinese RestaurantNorth-East Chinese Restaurant is a seemingly barren, unassuming, basement cave with bright fluorescent lighting and giant menu boards outside. But the real question is--how's the food?

En-route to my local go-to spots, I've been walking past this place for years. Consistently enticed by their signs for Chinese hot pot but never going with my gut instinct, as the weather is cooling down, my friend and I were in need of some warmth in other ways. Alas, the time was right to finally give it a shot!

North East Chinese Restaurant TorontoThough the atmosphere was is stripped down, those around the restaurant were gracious and the meal turned out to be a grand success! For a very reasonable $19.99/person my dining partner and I procured a large split pot of super spicy, atomically red broth scoured with chilies and another half of a smooth consommé with green onion and shitake mushrooms.

Hot Pot TorontoThe contrast of each of the soups was welcome, especially if you're like my friend and need an occasional break from the sweat-inducing spicy side. The consommé had an excellent woody flavour from the simmered mushrooms.

Hot Pot TorontoThe spread of proteins, veggies and carbs was also excellent and enough to feed far more than just the two of us. With plates of thinly sliced beef and lamb as well as a platter full of prawns, fish balls, tripe, spam, soft tofu, cellophane noodles, sweet potato, cabbage pea shoots and watercress, we were set for the duration despite our ability to re-up on whatever we wanted.

Hot Pot TorontoHot Pot TorontoBoth the lamb and beef were tender and tasty and the other accoutrements provided great variety, our only quip was that the frozen prawns and fish balls yielded too fishy of a flavour.

Hot Pot TorontoThe sauces were also quite nice--with a peanut and miso sauce and a black bean oil/homemade hoisin--we just weren't sure exactly what they consisted of. In an attempt to ask our host/server/proprietor what was in them, she simply pointed with a smile and exclaimed happily, "Sauce!"

Hot Pot TorontoWith over 100 other items on their expansive menu from crab and lobster, to "secret recipe" lamb soup, vegetarian options and more we had to give something else a whirl. The both of us are dumpling fiends so we chose an order of a dozen pan-fried buns stuffed with juicy pork ($7.99, $13.99/24) to round out the meal.

Hot Pot TorontoThe crispy caramelized bottom and the soft, moist upper region would have been a worthy accompaniment in itself. Biting through to the sweet, juicy, minced pork brought me back to some of the dumplings I still talk about eating during a trip I took to Shanghai.

This meal was a hit and I'll be pitching the idea once again when the urge strikes.

Hot Pot Chinatown TorontoEditor's note: This review has been modified post-publication.



Jean / October 5, 2012 at 01:33 pm
Try their lamb soup noodles. It's fantastic!
The Lonely Troll / October 5, 2012 at 05:50 pm
A baron cave? Is that a cave with Conrad Black in it?
zkpxo / October 5, 2012 at 06:01 pm
"Sauce!" LMAO
Arie Nicki / October 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm
I love this place, it's my favorite, didn't know they have hot pot, I must try it. the dumplings are what dumplings should taste like!
The Other Lonely Troll... Wait does that mean we're not lonely anymore? / October 7, 2012 at 07:58 am
Can't stop laughing at "baron cave" and the "soft, moist upper region", 10/10 would read again.
Ron Thom / October 10, 2012 at 12:07 am
Hilarious review. Dying here. Nice first attempt Jason but dial it down.
Mick / October 10, 2012 at 12:18 am
Does this blog even have an editor? Atrocious writing. Seriously horrible grammar.
jerry / October 10, 2012 at 08:41 am
Jason / October 10, 2012 at 01:03 pm
"Quip"? I think he meant "quibble".
TW / October 10, 2012 at 09:38 pm
Dear bleedin' Christ. BlogTO, you should probably shutter the site on the sole basis that you published this comically inept piece. As for Jason: good effort, but how can I say this - writing is not your gift. It just isn't, and unless you're about 10, it appears unlikely that you'll have enough time to get good enough at this to ever bother doing it again. Find something else. There absolutely, positively must be something you're better at than writing, so please pursue whatever that is. All the best in your new endeavour.
Marvin replying to a comment from TW / October 11, 2012 at 02:00 pm
"fish balls yielded too fishy of a flavour" - There's your problem. The best words kept swimming away from the poor 'attempt at a blogger' blogger's blog-like review.
forky / October 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm
Chris Farley + Adam Sandler reading the Zagat guide!

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