- Address: 5308 Highway 7, Markham
- Visited: 08/28/2014, Lunch, 7 people
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Rating: 3.5 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://www.congeequeen.com/
Now with 6 locations, Congee Queen has quickly established themselves as a go-to Chinese restaurant for weekend brunch, large family dinners or quick meals with an extensive menu and tasty food. The Fiance’s sister was in town recently and we stopped by Congee Queen’s Markham location for lunch on a Thursday.
Atmosphere: Even at lunch on a Thursday, the restaurant was 70% full and busy. The space was clean and modern with plenty of booths and large round tables. A case showing fresh BBQ items is displayed near the kitchen, filled with ducks and a full roast pig. Trying to get a table on the weekend for breakfast can be difficult, I would recommend making a reservation or going at an off peak time.
Service: There was nothing memorable about the service during our lunch. We were seated promptly and dishes arrived hot, after a short wait. We did notice on this visit as well as previous visits the the portion of BBQ duck served feels smaller than at other restaurants or when buying from BBQ places. This could be that Congee Queen only serves the prime pieces (leg, breast and belly) and discards the awkward pieces (neck, collar).
Food: Lunch began with a bowl of House Congee, full of surf clams, scallops, salmon, artificial crab and shrimp. A generous handful of chopped cilantro and green onions topped the bowl. The consistency of the congee was bang on, not too thin or too thick and with plenty of seafood per scoop. Personally, I like plain congee with preserved vegetables, so too many fillings actually counts against the dish for me. We ordered two classic side dishes, fried dough fritters and pan fried turnip cakes. The fritters were airy, fresh, a touch oily but delicious, while the turnip cakes were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. A bit more heat and dried shrimp would’ve made the dish even better.
The Cantonese Chow Mein was delicious, a large platter full of crispy egg noodles, drenched in saucey seafood, vegetables and beef. All for just $10.75. The dish should be eaten as soon as it’s served to avoid letting the noodles become soggy. Our one vegetable dish was blanched Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce. Each stalk was cut in half and presented with the leaves tucked underneath. Another vegetarian dish was deep fried tofu in soy sauce. This dish is very much like agedashi tofu and one of my favourites to order at Chinese BBQ places.
I was trying to order a steamed rice noodle roll, but accidently ordered a pan fried version of the dish (P1), and I’ve been converted. Frying the roll added a layer of caramelized goodness to the exterior. Less healthy, but so tasty; an improvement in my opinion. A whole BBQ duck was the main entree for the meal. The platter of chopped pieces was served with two small bowls of plum sauce and marinated soybeans. Each piece of duck had a thin crispy skin, tender meat and well rendered fat. I really enjoyed the meal but afterwards, I was very thirsty and drank water non-stop that afternoon. This dropped my rating to a 3.5 from what would have been a 4.5.