Showing posts with label chow mein. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chow mein. Show all posts

Riz (Toronto) for delivery


Note: Prices in post are based on UberEats (the only delivery service they use) and may be less when ordering directly from the restaurant

I’m skeptical about restaurants with an extensive menu of varied cuisine. With no focus, how well can chefs actually prepare dishes? Riz is one of these places. The menu encompasses cuisine from so many east Asian countries, that dishes are either decent or a complete flop. Other restauranteurs would likely trim the subpar items from their menu. At Riz they have a permanent home, so ordering is like playing a mild game of Russian roulette.

Having dined-in at the restaurant and ordered take-out a couple of times pre-COVID, something seemed off about the October delivery we had. Maybe we lost at the game of roulette, but the ratio of dishes that disappoint to appease was at an all time high. Could it be that one of the chefs, pivotal to making the dishes decent, was let go?

The Szechuan crispy beef ($19) was the sole dish that continues to impress and truly one of the better renditions I’ve tasted. Thin sticks of beef are just barely coated and deep fried to give the protein a delicate shell and cooked to the point the beef is chewy and not hard. Their sweet and salty sauce is much thinner than ones found elsewhere, still full of flavour but doesn’t saturate the beef to the point it’s too sticky and candy like. Indeed, it tastes even better at the restaurant, but for delivery was delicious.

If you’re in the mood for a “healthier” complete meal, the drunken garlic shrimp ($29) is not overly oily and arrives with a cup of nutty wild rice. Yet, it lacked that fragrant aroma and taste of Chinese rice wine you’d expect, and despite it looking like there was plenty of garlic and shallots sprinkled throughout the shrimp, these aromatic flavours weren’t prevalent either. If simple stir-fried shrimp is what you’re looking for, this isn’t bad. But, for being labelled a “signature dish” and called “drunken garlic” it really needs more oomph.

Like others, the crispy noodles are separated from the sauce for the vegetable and tofu chow mein ($18). While the sauce is a nice consistency and flavourful, there’s so much of it and not much else: several scant broccoli florets, sliced carrots, squares of cabbage leaves, and small tofu pieces - that’s about it. Missing were traditional Chinese ingredients like bok choy, bamboo shoots, baby corn ... things that would make this much heartier.

But truly anything is better than the chicken young chow fried rice ($19). Seriously, was this actually made by someone who had any cooking experience? If you took steamed rice and mixed in boiled chicken and vegetables, then sprinkled finely chopped scrambled egg over everything you’d get Riz’s fried rice. There was absolutely no flavour and no wok hay. I had to scoop crispy beef over it to add any flavour and ended up stir frying the ample leftovers with more eggs and other ingredients the following day to make it edible.

The wrapper on the shrimp dumpling or har gow ($9) was sticky and something leads me to believe these were frozen, but I understand… Riz isn’t known for dim sum and therefore likely not making these fresh daily. For a dinner delivery, they weren’t terrible.

Yet, what threw me off was the black square of who-knows-what stuck onto a dumpling as soon as I opened the package. How much time could it possibly take someone packing the dish to remove the debris? Is a dirty dumpling really the thing you want customers to see?

For everyone’s sake, I surely hope the delivery was just an off night. Because one thing that’s great about Riz’s expansive menu is their commitment to serving those with ingredient intolerances: not many Chinese restaurants offer a gluten-free menu safe for a celiac person and also have a number of vegetarian options that can be made vegan. Unfortunately, these customers will also never get to taste their crispy beef, the one thing we would ever re-order for. 

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3321 Yonge Street
 Delivery: Uber
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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


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Garleek Kitchen (Toronto)

Garleek Kitchen momos

If you like intimate family run restaurants, Garleek Kitchen will definitely provide that cozy experience. The dining room consists of less than ten tables, and on a weekday visit, the entire operations was run by a single person - quite a feat to be host, waiter, and chef. To keep things simple, their menu is displayed on a television and cutlery & key condiments are found on the table.

Meanwhile, most of the time, the proprietor is in the kitchen, making everything to order including the momos. These dumplings are the delicious pouches I remember most from past Tibetan meals. With the option to steam, pan fry, or deep fry the dumplings, we tried them two ways – pan-fried and steamed  

The chicken pan-fried momos ($8.99) definitely hit the spot. The toasted crust adding a nice contrast compared to the soft top of the dumpling. While the nub in the middle of the dough was a bit too thick, the white meat chicken filling was juicy and savoury. So good the spicy dipping sauces weren’t even required.


They were needed for the steam vegetables momo ($7.99). While the chunky chili sauce added heat and extra flavour, the dumplings could still use more salt. Nevertheless, the filling consisted of an interesting combination of vegetables, which Garleek should consider leaving some less cooked (everything was rather soft) so the texture will vary.


Nepalese chicken chow mein ($8.50) is made from thin chewy noodles cooked on a hot flattop so it develops a crust on some strands. Like Cantonese chow mein, there are the crispy and soft bits within the plate, but Garleek’s is less oily and isn’t topped with sauce allowing the noodles to remain crunchy. I loved the aromatic wok hay of the dish, but the chicken needs less time on the grill as it was overdone and dry.

Garleek Kitchen chicken chow mein Toronto

Despite running with only one person, Garleek provides attentive service. Along with the noodles, the chef brought out a chilled bottle of hot sauce and warned that it was “crazy spicy” – heed the warning but you’ll want to try some anyways. He also checked on us at regular intervals and was around when something was required. This warm intimate experience is what makes dining at small proprietors a great event.


Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1500 Queen Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Garleek Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato