From the outside, you couldn't see much. Peering through the window, we saw what appeared to be a buffet counter. It's been a really long time since either of us had Chinese buffet, and so we went inside with enthusiasm. The large, spacious restaurant was nearly empty, and the hostess gave us a table near the windows. We had another look at that counter -- not buffet. It was a salad bar. Wait, what?
Yeeaaah. Raw vegetables, macaroni salad, lettuce, the works! And we looked around, realizing with a sinking horror that the restaurant was essentially a Chinese knockoff of Scores. The seats and the tables all had the same style. The only thing they couldn't mimic was the number of customers, though this may because most people eat at home during Thanksgiving.
Now, the salad bar is not all bad. The menu had salad bar for 8.95$, if you don't buy anything else. If you happen to be vegetarian, you can get a basic choice of vegetables, two kinds of soup, some fresh melon slices, canned fruit and store-bought desserts, unlimited! One thing I must praise if their hot and sour soup. They add nice, soft, plump tofu pieces and sliced shiitake mushrooms! Beware, though, their pastries are stale.
We ordered one of the combo meals for two. It included chicken fried rice, spring rolls, sesame beef, szechuan shrimps and assorted vegetable stirfry. We both opted to get salad bar, because with the combo, it was only a couple of dollars extra.
According to M, the spring rolls were the best part of the meal, and they were just regular spring rolls.
The seasame beef was atrocious, heavily battered and deep-fried for who knows how long. After gnawing on two pieces, my jaw hurt and I had to take a break from eating it. There's very little beef, too.
The szechuan shrimp was pretty bad too. The sauce was way too sweet, and the shrimp tasted like they've been partially cooked and left out, only to be reheated with the sauce. The onions were good, but if a cook can screw up onions in this dish, then he should be in jail for mal-cooking.
These are our vegetables. I actually liked this dish, because they had the courtesy of including baby corn and water chestnuts. The vegetables were also relatively fresh. This dish was a good break from the rest.
And the service? Well, the waitress filled our water when we put our empty glasses on the edge of the table, although this was toward the end of the meal, and our glasses had been empty long before that. Since we were sitting in those booth seats with sofa chairs, she might have simply not noticed. One thing struck me as very disappointing though... I am Chinese. I look very Chinese. I was never given or offered chopsticks. If that doesn't scream un-authentic and unprofessional to you, I don't know what does.
The total cost us around 40$ plus tip. Did we get a lot of food? Yes, I had leftovers for lunch and dinner the day after. But was it good? Gosh no.
2762 boul. Saint-Charles,