OMG. My birthday again? At one point in my life, I would sooo look forward to it. C'mon. Gifts and food, people buying you drinks... what's not to like? Now, it is only a reminder of my fleeting youth (can I even say that anymore???). At the very least, the food part of it still exists and in fact, the eating destinations have gone considerably upscale. Such was the case this year since we had made plans for my birthday dinner a few weeks later at Hy's . However, my mom felt it was not right to not at least go out for dinner on my actual birth date. Hence, I got a bonus of sorts because all-of-a-sudden we headed to Fortune House at Metrotown for the 1st of my 2 birthday dinners.
As we were running late from my visit to NCIX (waiting in line as usual), my parents had already ordered and the food showed up as I sat down. Apparently, there was no option to order Duck Lettuce Wrap without ordering the 2 courses of Peking Duck, so we settled on the Seafood Lettuce Wrap. We were indifferent with this dish because seafood doesn't necessary make for a great lettuce wrap (unless it is dried oysters). I'm not blaming the restaurant at all for this because it was prepared quite well. The shrimp was cooked beautifully and the veggies were crunchy. It's just that seafood doesn't add any "meatiness". One thing we would have liked to see was a better trim job on the lettuce, some parts were discolouring.
When the next dish arrived, I was confused. Well, Viv says I'm always confused, so that shouldn't be a surprise. You see, my eyes spied eggplant while my nose smelled salted fish. Huh? Apparently, my senses weren't deceiving me. It turned out to be the Eggplant, Salted Fish and Chicken Hot Pot. Not the most usual of combinations, yet to me, it worked. Eggplant is pretty mild and with the kick of the salted fish and peppers, there was a smorgasbord of flavours going on. Just think of a Szechuan eggplant hot pot with the addition of salted fish. From the unusual to the standard, the Gai Lan with Beef was wedged onto our small table. This was executed really well. The beef was both plentiful and appealing. Good colour, well-marinated and tender, it still retained its meat texture. We appreciated that they cut the gai lan stalks into bite-sized pieces, so it was easy to pick up with our chopsticks. Moreover, the gai lan was cooked perfectly as well, being vibrant, crisp and well-seasoned. With barely any liquid at the bottom of the plate, it exemplified good wok heat too.
As if we had any more room on the table, the Seafood & Tofu Hot Pot was gingerly sandwiched in between the lettuce and eggplant. Right from the get go, it was obvious they loaded it up with a bevy of seafood. There were big scallops, shrimp, squid and basa filets mixed in with fried tofu and shiitake mushrooms on a bed of lettuce. There was just enough balanced starch-thickened sauce to coat the properly-cooked seafood (except for the squid, it was chewy). Lastly, we had to do some puzzle maneuvers to fit the Black Vinegar Pork Chops onto the table. This was probably my favourite dish of the night. These were meaty with very little in the way of fat and still had a chewy pork texture while tenderized enough that it wasn't hard to chew. They cut up the pieces into the perfect size where it could maintain its moisture through the cooking process while still being easy to pick up. In terms of flavour, I felt this used just the right amount of black vinegar. I could definitely smell it and taste, yet it didn't overwhelm the dish. There was a subtle tartness while the dish was predominantly sweet. The sauce clung onto each piece of pork beautifully where it provided all the necessary flavour without compromising the crispy parts and creating a goopy mess on the plate. Lastly, we were presented with dessert which included Almond Cookies (with a walnut on top) and Coconut Milk & Tapioca Soup. It ain't cheap to eat here, but despite what I've read on Urbanspoon, the food was prepared with good ingredients and the execution was spot-on (at least for our meal).
- Good ingredients
- Proper execution
- Service was not bad but we couldn't find our server for long stretches