Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fortune House in Metrotown

Just a quick note about the Fortune House Seafood Restaurant (Metropolis Mall, near the skytrain exit, 604-438-8686) Mother's Day dinner that my family had last month. We had a set dinner for six for $198 (for the five of us), on probably the busiest day of the year for Chinese restaurants.

Incidentally, I would guess that Valentine's Day is probably the busiest day for non-Chinese upper end restaurants, which may illustrate some interesting cultural difference in priorities. This is a very specifically Chinese-Canadian phenomenon, as they are both Western holidays but perhaps Mother's Day is more strongly adopted by Chinese Canadians as a result of the deference to elders that is part of the Chinese culture. I'm really just speculating here. I don't think my Dad has ever taken my Mom out to dinner for Valentine's but maybe everyone else in the Chinese Canadian community does. The communal dining in Chinese restaurants aren't the best for a dinner for two anyhow.

Well, back on topic, I've never been that big a fan of Fortune House, and this meal was no exception. Usually I'm just slightly disappointed in the food quality, being a Chinese food veteran, and knowing how good the dishes can be. This time it was the service, but it's not the typical complaint for service on a busy night. This time, the food came out too FAST. Rather than most of the dishes coming out separately, as should be the case for a set banquet menu for an upper end Chinese restaurant, our dishes came out all at once. Okay, I get it, you want to move the tables, and fit in as many seatings as possible. But bringing out the hot soup at the same time as the lobster meant that you have to choose which one of these things you want to eat hot. Both dishes suffer immensely when eaten cold, as I discovered that night. I could tell that the lobster dish (pieces are first deep fried, then tossed in a garlicky, onion and green onion sauce) was probably very well executed when it came out of the kitchen, but it lost so much when it cooled down. The menu was a nice collection of dishes, and their sweet touch of presenting each mom with a carnation and a little gift picture frame at the end of the dinner was great, but being rushed through the dinner really almost ruined the experience. The food was still good, despite having to eat it cold, but it's just a shame because it would have been great if it had been served properly. We had a cold plate of thinly sliced meats and jellyfish (not the best I've ever had, but quite acceptable), shark fin soup (I'm having trouble convincing my family that we should boycott this dish to be environmentally responsible), lobster, a great mushroom and pea sprouts dish that was like eating sliced abalone with oyster sauce (the highlight of the meal), fish with vegetables, free range chicken, fish and shrimp fried rice, and sweet bean soup for dessert. The cooking seems to have improved here since the last time I was there, from what I can tell. Now it's just a matter of timing.


too_much_thinking said...

Ahh Fortune House - I've never been there for dinner but I've been for dim sum. Your Chinese restaurant review makes me think about all the wedding banquets that I have attended over the years - I keep getting older but the dishes, they always stay the same (with slight variations of course).

Irene said...

I find Fortune House to be mediocre at best, and a tad overpriced for my tastes. Service sucked the last time I was there, what, maybe last year?

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks for your comments, tmt and irene!

Smiley said...