CONGEE QUEEN – CENTERPOINT

Congee Queen – CenterPoint

One thing North York lacks is cheap and tasty Chinese food. True there’s plenty of restaurants if you drive East or North but few within the 5/10 minutes commute I prefer for a quick dinner. When Congee Queen opened at Yonge and Steeles, it was a happy addition to the neighbourhood.

Atmosphere: While the restaurant is situated in CenterPoint Mall, the main entrance is external and separate. The interior was similar to other Congee Queen locations with lots of booths and large round tables. High ceilings, chandelier lights and Asian inspired decor made the restaurant feel elegant.

Service: Service was mixed, not great but not terrible. Generally we were ignored at our table and it was hard to flag down servers. When we did, they were really helpful. Two girls stood right by our table, chatting and looking outside. As soon as I needed to ask for something, they walked away. I couldn’t tell if servers were assigned to specific tables and just grabbed anyone who was around.

Food: Going into the meal, I wanted to order enough food to bring home leftovers for lunch the next day. I normally do not order 4 dishes for just two people (most of the time).

We started with a bowl of pork and century egg congee. The congee was the strongest dish of the meal; savoury, a good consistency and had lots of meat. As side dishes, I always order turnip cake and fried dough fritters. The dough fritters were standard while the turnip cakes were disappointing, especially since I love the version at other Congee Queen locations. That night, the cubes of steamed turnip weren’t fried enough, under seasoned and not spicy.

The flavour was great for the garoupa hot pot and there was plenty of battered fish and vegetables. There was however a ton of bones in the garoupa. We had to eat very carefully and it was a tedious process. I liked the salt and pepper pork chops that were lightly battered and generously seasoned. A little more heat would’ve added to the dish.

Overall, Congee Queen at Centerpoint Mall was hit or miss. I think there’s room for improvement with some of the staple dishes but their congee was excellent.

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