Sherman's Food Adventures: Dinner @ Spicy Court

Dinner @ Spicy Court

*Restaurant is now closed*

Although I've been to Spicy Court countless times, I've only blogged about their Dim Sum. They do have a very good Dim Sum service with a diverse menu which includes some items not found at other places. I'm no stranger to their dinner menu; but it has been awhile since I've been back. Initially, my parents were wanting to head over to Victoria Seafood Restaurant for dinner. That plan was kiboshed due to weddings booked on every weekend in the foreseeable future. For me, I don't understand why they like that place so much. It is indeed solid; yet there are so many better choices out there. I suggested we try a different restaurant and for once, they listened! And that's how we ended up at Spicy Court. As we were deciding what to eat, I noticed that the next table was having Peking Duck. I think my mom noticed too as she suggested we order it. We wanted the 3-course Peking Duck at first; but one of the managers said that it was unavailable. That's fair. After all, there was a wedding that took up 1/3rd of the restaurant. I was sure the kitchen must've been stretched to the max.

So without the option of the duck bone soup, we went for the Daily Soup instead (which was the pork bone, watercress and snakefish). The soup was pretty good with plenty of flavour from the slow and long boil. I particularly liked that it didn't rely too heavy on salt to season the soup. Since it is Spot Prawn season, we got some prepared by simple hot water blanching. For me personally, I like it done the other ways (such as soy wok-fried, tomato sauce or salt and peppers); yet, to get the true taste of the sweet prawn, the simpler the preparation, the better. These were huge and cooked perfectly. Now onto the first course of the Peking Duck. I found this attempt to be sub-par. Not only was there far too much fat underneath the skin, the skin itself was not even crispy in most sections. Rather, it was soft much like a regular BBQ Duck. That is not exactly the texture that makes a good Peking Duck. Furthermore, the accompanying crepes were doughy and unappealing. If one wanted good Peking Duck, they should head over to Red Star or Koon Bo instead.

Remember when I said that they informed us that the soup course was unavailable? Well, the table beside us apparently got the soup. That incensed my mom so much, she walked up to the manager and complained why we didn't get to order it. The manager gave us the reason that after that first order, no other duck soup orders would be taken. Again, fair enough. They were extremely busy. However, my mom then continued to say that they would be "written-up" by me. Yes, she pulled the "you know who he is?" routine. *Gasp*. That was ultra-embarrassing. Personally, I would never do that. Anyways, on a related note, my mom asked for the Lettuce Wrap to be made without green onions as she gets an upset stomach from them. The manager said that she cannot promise that. She went on about the kitchen being used to making a certain way and they may not be able to accommodate that request. Again, being quite familiar with a Chinese kitchen, I found that a fair remark as well. However, her next remark was just plain stupid. She told us that if it came out with green onions, we'd have to take it as is. WTF? Would any non-Asian restaurant do such a thing? Geez, only in a Chinese restaurant...

I guess we were fortunate though since the Duck Lettuce Wrap arrived without green onions. This was very good. Lots of duck meat and the veggies were all still crunchy. It was only moderately seasoned which was fine because of the accompanying hoisin sauce. Oh and about that hoisin sauce, they actually provided more than enough. I hate it when restaurants supply only a small sauce plate of it for the whole table. The one thing that bugged me though was the hack job done on the lettuce. I could barely make a decent wrap since everything fell out. To satisfy our requisite veggie quotient, we got the Stir-fried Pea Shoots with Garlic. This had the makings of a very solid dish. It had high-quality pea shoots and was properly cooked being soft while still exhibiting a slight crunch. Also, there was little to no water at the bottom of the plate. Lastly, there was plenty of garlic and seasoning. The problem? It was super greasy. After eating one small portion, my lips were no longer chapped.

Seeing how we love their Szechuan Beef Noodle during Dim Sum, we ordered the Szechuan Beef & Tendon Hot Pot. And as expected, it was very familiar. The beef shank was pretty moist with a few dry pieces while the tendons were soft; but not falling apart either. There was a considerable kick to this dish and we should've had some plain rice to go with it. We didn't get plain rice due to our order of Fook Chow Fried Rice. I'm sure the name of the rice may raise a few eyebrows. Rest assured, it is not what you think... Rather, it is a fried rice base with an oyster sauce-based topping with carrots, shiitake, chicken, gailan stems, conpoy and duck meat. This one wasn't bad, if not too wet. The sauce was seasoned just enough to provide flavour. Lastly, we had the Peking Pork Chops for no other reason for another plate of meat. The meat was tenderized properly where the it had a bounce-like texture. I thought the sauce was a bit weak without any discernible hits of tang or savouriness. It was slightly sweet and mostly bland. Overall, the meal was decent, if not a bit hit and miss within each dish. I will give them a mulligan since they were probably busy with the wedding. Normally, the food here is quite solid. However, just like the past few times, service could and should be better for this class of restaurant.

The Good:
- Based on past visits, the food is generally good across the board
- Portions are relatively good

The Bad:
- Service is not up to par for this class of restaurant
- Seating is a bit tight even for a decently-sized dining room

Spicy Court Chinese on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kevin said...

Sherman, have you ever tried Sing Kee on Kingsway? The restaurant isn't much to look at, but the food is excellent. The prices are on par with lower-end Chinese restaurants like Au Wing Kee, but the food is far superior.

b.p. said...

Semi-lurker here! Your mom has an intolerance to green onions or is it just this dish?

I seem to have a on-and-off intolerance to onions (especially raw) including green ones, and garlic, which is sad since it flavours so so many Chinese dishes (and tastes good too)!

Doug said...

I know many Chinese restaurant care about food blogging because the restaurant comprised of servers, bartenders, chefs, sous chefs, manager, etc. A restaurant is like any other business that has a heart and soul of good people, that appreciate food bloggers for seeing there hard work being written up. Even though, they fail at certain aspect but they are only human and make mistakes.

Sherman Chan said...

@KimHo Yah, the food is generally good. But, the food quality has been slipping here lately and I hope it is not a trend. The consistent thing is the service. It sucks.

@Kevin Thanks for the advice!

@b.p. She has stomach issues after eating onions, green or white. Actually so do I, but I eat it mostly anyways because the flavour is usually integral to the dish.

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