Rosewood Chinese Cuisine
Rosewood Chinese Cuisine might be the answer to dim sum that downtown diners have been looking for. Four months old, and nestled in the heart of Chinatown on Dundas just east of Spadina, Rosewood features all-day dim sum, and a $1.88 menu before 11 am (Mon - Fri). Quality-wise, they're more than able to compete with nearby options like Gold Diamond and have been steadily attracting devoted followers as word of mouth has spread.
During a recent visit here, their staff (which are quite hospitable) patiently answered our questions about the menu and gave spot-on recommendations. It was a nice change of pace given that too often the trend is to hustle and bustle you through in order to squeeze in the next group in line.
What makes Rosewood truly essential dim sum for veterans and novices alike is their due diligence in composing a menu which pairs the traditional and the new, without getting too carried away with the latter. Diehards will enjoy their authentic Cantonese and Foo Chow homemade recipes, from delectable har gow ($3.68), neatly presented minced beef and cilantro rice rolls ($3.28), "white cloud" chicken feet ($3.28), fried "shrimp" cake rings ($1.00 ea.), and crispy shrimp rolls ($3.68), to fresh and flaky, lightly browned egg tarts ($2.38).
Less common, yet not unheard of, are crystal dessert dumplings ($3.28), which come in custard and red bean varieties. Even more fetching is their fragrant and mildly sweet "1000-layer" cake ($3.28), combining several layers of creamy custard and sponge cake.
To complement the familiar set pieces, I recommend giving their BBQ Korean Beef Ribs a fair shake ($3.68). Unless it's a fusion spot, it's not common to encounter a dim sum restaurant venturing too far away from that wok or steamer. But the sweet and peppery flavours of this sizzling dish balance rather than interrupt, plus it offers a fine detour in a meal all too often defined by shrimp and pork.
A checklist dim sum menu isn't the only option either. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't sample one of their unique Foo Chow starters. Fried until the batter crystallizes, their taro cake triangles ($1.00 ea.) are simply can't miss, as are their deep fried shrimp balls covered in sliced almonds ($3.50 ea.).
Though the fried "oyster" house cakes ($1.00 ea.), which resemble muffin tops, are sans oyster, the shredded cabbage and chive filling is moist and surprisingly tasty. Buttoned on top with peanuts, it'll become a mainstay for return patrons. I'd say skip the French Fries ($1.99), though.
When going to Rosewood for your first time, don't be misled by the modest size of the front dining room. Two-tiered (which unfortunately means no cart service), Rosewood can actually accommodate nearly a hundred people when taking into account its second-floor loft. Newly renovated, its upstairs bar and karaoke room can be booked in advance and the restaurant itself might be an attractive choice for those looking to host a well-catered party in Chinatown.