Rain. That is probably the last thing we wanted on a Monday. You see, it was our first softball game of the year and I was pretty excited about it. Sure, the eating that comes afterwards is always something to be happy about; however, I got a new composite bat. I really wanted to try it out! Not only did it rain, it was pouring. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, the game was not called. So I made the long trek out to Shannon field near Granville and 63rd. Yah, pretty far from where I live. Lo and behold, the game was indeed canceled. Turns out that neither team captain had each others' phone numbers, so no one knew it was a no go. So with rain beating down on me, I was busily going from car-to-car trying to get a read of where we were going to eat. Hey, we can't let this opportunity to eat pass us by! We really couldn't get a consensus and all that going back and forth just soaked my jacket. Finally, I just let Boss Woman make the decision (after all, that is her nickname). She thought since the weather was crappy, we should go for hot pot. That sounded alright to me and I had actually passed by Grand Honour on the way to the field. So off we went to hot pot, except for Silent Bob. You see, he didn't even know what hot pot was all about. I tried enticing him with tripe, intestine and pork bung in boiling broth; but that only encouraged him to leave. Hey, his loss, I get more bung for myself!
This also marked the return of Miss Y and Bear to my eating adventures. Milhouse and Boss Woman were present as well. So not to confuse everyone, there are actually 2 Grand Honour restaurants kiddie corner to each other. One is hot pot (with regular menu items as well) and the other is just a Chinese restaurant. So for $18.00, it is all-you-can-eat at Grand Honour, which I find as a reasonable price, considering its location. However, much like every other hot pot joint, the soup base costs extra. It's like paying your cell phone bill and having the stupid system access charge on top. Sneaky! So depending on how many people are dining with you, it can add $2.00 - $4.00 to your total cost. We ended up getting 2 hot pots which tacked on $16.00 to our bottom line. One thing that struck me immediately was the lack of service at this place. It took quite a long time to even get our order in. In fact, I saw one of the servers reading the newspaper. Uh, WTH are you doing dude? Also, it took forever for our soup to boil (probably 15 minutes). You see, this is important since they could limit your stay to 1.5 hours. With the slow service and even slower boil, that ate up 30 minutes already. Luckily for us, the place wasn't busy for a Monday night and they never enforced the time limit. But you can see that this could be a problem if it were busy.
The one positive is that we got our items pretty quickly. Too bad we were still waiting for the soup to boil. After awhile, we grew impatient and started sticking things into the hot pot. The first item we tried was the Fatty Beef and it did live up to its name being quite tender. One quick dunk and each thin slice cooked on contact. One thing I noticed right away was that both soup bases (chicken & satay) were woefully bland. I think if one was to pay $8.00 for each, it should taste like something. Resembling turd, no one was brave enough to eat the Beef Balls (Vietnamese Style). I found them rather dry and overly chewy. We did like the Wontons and Sui Gow. Despite not containing much shrimp, the filling was tasty and fresh. Not looking like any Fish Tofu we'd ever seen, the wrinkled up fried items on the plate were apparently it. They looked and tasted like tofu puffs (but they were not since tofu puffs were on another dish).
Call me a sucker for anything cheek, the Pork Cheek (after a short dunk into the hot water) was "porky" and a had a nice soft chewiness to it. These tasted and appeared very fresh. We weren't expecting live Shrimp, so when we got them, it was no surprise. However, they were almost frozen solid. That makes for a longer time to cook and once again... about that time limit... Since they were not fresh, we didn't end up getting any head... er... I mean eating the shrimp heads... That's too bad, that is the best part. Who doesn't like head anyways? Next up was a plate of Chicken and Sole. As the picture suggests, the items had a nice sheen and were fresh. Now, a plate that I insisted on having - Tendon, Bible Tripe, Fresh Squid and Dried Squid. Look at it! Why Silent Bob would not like eating this is beyond me... Anyways, the items were pretty standard with the tendon being soft. For those who don't know, the dried squid is merely air-dried and re-hydrated by soaking in water (it's the darker item in the back).
In only a style that is uniquely Miss Y, she ordered a dish of noodles. Going against the Chinese thought of eating only the expensive items, we really didn't mind the noodles (especially the wonton noodles, nice and chewy). The meal itself was quite pleasant with fresh items at a reasonable price. However, the service, or lack of, was inexcusable. Not one person came and checked on us and the soup was never refilled. At the very end, we barely had enough broth to cooked up one piece of meat. It might as well have been Korean BBQ, the pot was so dry. That my friends is good enough to take a pass on this place.
- Inexpensive considering the food and location
- Items are fresh
- Fairly comfortable digs
- If reading the newspaper is considered service...
- Might as well make it a serve yourself restaurant
- Soup base has no flavour