Sherman's Food Adventures: Li's China Grill

Li's China Grill

Is it just me or is Kingsway between Joyce and Boundary, the epicentre of Chinese skewer joints?  The newest one is Li's China Grill right across from the Safeway.  To be honest, I didn't even know this place existed until I got a message to try the place out.  The place isn't as big as some of the other restaurants nearby, but their menu does include most of the usual items including skewers, whole fish and rice/noodle dishes.  They are also licensed, so one can get some cold beers to go with your meal.

Before we got to the BBQ skewers, we had some dishes in the form of North-East Style Vegetable Salad, Special Cold Sauce Clams, Marinated Cucumber with Garlic Sauce and Black Fungus with Pickled Pepper.  The vegetable salad was more mung bean with a spicy peanut sauce than actual veggies, but I wasn't complaining.  This was pretty good but maybe a bit too saucy.  Noodles were slippery and still al dente.  Clams were buttery and did have a nice spice to it.  Cukes were crunchy also with spice while the woodear was crunchy with some spicy tang.

What better to go with skewers than a Beer Flight?  Well, this is the first time I've seen it at a Chinese skewer restaurant.  Got to try 4 different beers, which was fun.  Also got the Sichuan-Style Spicy Chicken which definitely looked spicy.  It certainly was, but not incredibly, so that I could still taste the garlic and vinegar.  As for the chicken, it was poached lightly where the meat was moist and tender with gelatinized skin.

Moving onto the BBQ items, but not necessarily the skewers just yet, we had the Beef Tongue, Chicken Wings, Beef Short Ribs and Eggplant.  Sliced incredibly thin, the beef tongue was not chewy.  Wings were flavourful, especially the spicy ones.  Juicy meat inside.  The short ribs were a bit dry, but had good spice.  Loved the eggplant as it was tender, but not mushy.  Once again, well seasoned.

So for the Skewers, we got a good selection of them and I'm not going to list them all, but I will give some highlights.  I really liked the chicken knees as they were cooked just enough and had that classic cartilage crunch.  Tendon was soft and had a slightly crispy exterior.  Chicken hearts were still juicy with a nice grilled flavour. As you can see in the picture, the squid tentacles were nicely spiced and had a bouncy moist texture.

With the Grilled Oysters and Grilled Scallops, we got all of the available flavours including Motoyaki, Hot Pepper, Black Bean and Garlic.  Beyond the type of flavour topping, the oysters were buttery, briny and fresh while the scallops were equally buttery and had an appealingly chewy mantle.  The vermicelli underneath soaked up all the juices and flavours.  My favourite was the hot pepper as it was definitely spicy while the garlic was a close second.  However, the motoyaki was good too as they didn't overdo it with the mayo.  Black bean was not bad either, being a bit salty and garlicky.

Another major item on their menu is the Grilled Fish with various flavours and accompaniments.  We got the half-and-half Catfish in Pickled Cabbage and Soy Bean Paste.  Spicy Sichuan is their signature flavour, but we didn't want spicy this time.  We added rice cake and lotus root to the pickled cabbage while for the soy bean, we had quail eggs and wide vermicelli.  As much as catfish can be muddy tasting, this was actually sweet and moist.  Loved both flavours, but the soybean was my favourite as it had that fermented saltiness with some spice.  Overall, the food at Li's China Grill was solid and I especially enjoyed the skewers and fish.  Pricing is fair and I liked how the minimum order on each skewer wasn't something ridiculous like 10. 

*All food and beverages were complimentary for this blog post*

The Good:
- Love the fish, well-prepared and flavourful
- Skewers are cooked properly
- They have flights of beer

The Bad:
- Service can be slow due to lack of staff


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