Sherman's Food Adventures: The Roc

The Roc

In the past, we've had our year end parties (for the hockey team) at someone's house.  It would either be a BBQ or a potluck, but then we stopped completely.  We then restarted the year-ender with one difference - we would hold it at a restaurant instead.  After adventures at Black + Blue (super expensive) and then Pizzeria Ludica (last year), it was determined that we had to change it up.  Gadget Girl suggested we do 2 tables of a Chinese set menu with some dishes found at weddings and baby one-month celebrations.  Yes, a little strange for a hockey team, but whatever, it would definitely be the best bang-for-the-buck.

To make it even a better value, we chose The Roc out on 41st & Main (they have moved 3 times to 4 different locations) and went for the $238.00 menuAs per these types of meals, we were served an Appetizer Platter consisting of Jellyfish, Sliced Beef Shank, Vegetarian Goose and Vietnamese Ham.  Sitting atop pickled daikon and carrot, the jellyfish was buttery with a snap texture.  It was well-marinated with definite hits of sesame oil and soy.  As much as the beef shank was tender and nicely spiced, it was sliced a bit too thick for my liking.  I thought the veggie goose (consisting of bean curd sheets) was nicely textured and seasoned, there just wasn't enough of it on the plate.  I wasn't really that impressed with the inclusion of Vietnamese ham though.

Up next, we were presented with the Lobster & Crab sauteed with ginger and green onion atop noodles.  This was an impressively large platter of well-executed crustaceans.  Both were of a good size and meaty.  I found the lobster to have the desired bounce texture while being still buttery.  The crab was fluffy and also moist.  There wasn't an over abundance of batter, which was good and the seasoning was bang on as there was a minimal amount of sauce.  For our soup course we had the Dried Scallop & Fish Maw Soup.  It was the right consistency being silky and lightly thick.  I would've liked to see more seasoning though as there was only a background sweetness from the dried scallop.  The fish maw was a little on the crunchier side as it wasn't the best quality.

Arriving while we were still just starting with the previous 2 items, the Gai Lan with Chicken and Prawns was a large portion as well.  Prepared in long whole stalks, the gai lan was fresh and crunchy.  It was cooked just enough to retain a nice green brightness.  On top, the chicken was tender dark meat pieces while the shrimp were cold-water crunchy.  Again, I would've liked to see a bit more seasoning. Continuing on with veggies, we had the Shiitake Mushrooms and Pea ShootsJust barely cooked through with only a light amount of grease, the pea shoots exhibited a bright crunch.  The stewed shiitakes on top were buttery and provided umami to the dish.  I still would've liked to see some more sauce though.

Saucy and a bit too wet, the Peking Pork Chops were also well-portioned.  We found the meat to be properly tenderized where it was easy to chew while still retaining natural meat textures.  Since there was so much sauce, the batter was soaked which meant there was no surface crispiness. Flavour-wise, the sauce was a bit sweet and adequately tangy.  To the kiddies delight, the Crispy Chicken was next served with the requisite shrimp chips.  This was on point with a large juicy chicken that was not dried out, even the chicken breast was moist.  It had been brined enough for flavour and succulence. On the outside, the skin was fully rendered and crispy.

As much as I'm not a huge fan of Tilapia, the one we were served was as flaky as much as tilapia can be.  It was fresh with a generally buttery texture with some softer spots. If prepared incorrectly, the meat can sometimes be rather mushy.  In terms of seasoning, the dish was finished with ginger, green onion and sweetened soy.

Onto the customary carb dishes, we finished with Seafood Fried Rice and Yee Mein.  I wasn't a huge fan of the fried rice as it lacked wok heat.  Moreover, the rice was clumpy and devoid of flavour.  On the other hand, the yee mein was excellent.  There was proper caramelization due to the right amount of dark soy and of course, wok heat.  I liked how they added julienned snow peas for both texture and colour.  Overall, we enjoyed our set dinner at The Roc.  Portions were large and the food quality was more than acceptable, especially considering the cost.

The Good:
- Reasonably-priced
- Decent eats
- Large portions

The Bad:
- Food came out too fast, but the place was packed though
- Although service is friendly, it can be pretty hard to flag someone down  


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