Our next latest gastronomical adventure takes us to Canton House in Doraville, GA. Canton House is pretty well known by Asians for having pretty good dim-sum. However, today, we took Canton House on a new level for a family dinner. I did not manage to get pictures of all the dishes that I tried, but hopefully this will give you a pretty decent insight into the meal as a whole. Overall, I was not too impressed with Canton House. The dishes stem from Cantonese-style cooking. Canto-style chinese food tends to be very savory, lots of sauces and heavy on the flavor. However, it cannot be too overpowering. The balance between all the flavors must be present or it’s just going to taste terrible.
Today’s tasting menu included:
Fried Lobster with Scallions: breaded pieces of lobster stir-fried with a savory garlic (?) sauce and green onions. The lobster was first breaded lightly, then deep-fried I believe. Then it was later cooked in the sauce after the sauce was made separately? At least, that is how I would’ve made this dish.
Seafood Tofu Claypot/Hotpot: deep fried pieces of tofu served sizzling hot with seafood in a thick and savory sauce. I’m not sure if it was a simple soy sauce glaze or an oyster sauce mix, but it was pretty tasty!
Salt and Pepper Squid: this is probably one dish that my friends and I have always gotten whenever we go out for chinese food. Small pieces of tender squid are breaded with flour and lightly tossed in salt and pepper before being deep fried. Here they are served with deep fried cellophane noodles. Sometimes they are not served with anything at all.
The food was…okay. It was pretty good Chinese food, but I wouldn’t say it was the best in Atlanta. My heart still goes out to Canton Cooks off Roswell Road (located just outside of I-285). Second best would maybe be a tie between New Paradise and Bo Bo Garden off Buford Hwy, Doraville, GA. New Paradise, Canton House, and Canton Cooks are standard for Cantonese fare whereas Bo Bo Garden, well I’m not really sure what ethnic region they hail from in the Chinese food realm. There was a little bit of lack luster in the savory flavor of the dishes. They were tasty all right, but they lacked that normal Canto kick that I like. Perhaps it has to do with the amount of MSG that is added? Hmmm…
The seafood tofu hot pot is pretty good. There was a decent amount of all ingredients, but the sauce may have been a little too salty for my taste. The salt and pepper squid was actually quite tasty, but for some reason, it got quite a bit soggy after awhile, and didn’t taste as good 15 minutes after it was served like it does at Canton Cooks. The lobster was cooked very well. The thing that I don’t really like about lobster is having to dig out all the meat – they do a good job of sectioning the lobster so that each piece has a good amount of lobster meat in it though. I think after I’ve gotten through one or two pieces, I’m ready for the next course because I got tired of shelling out lobster meat.
Other things we ate but I did not manage to get a picture of was the fried chicken – it’s different than ban-chan korean chicken though. This chicken is deep fried, no batter, and then sliced up while served with a salt-hot pepper dip. This was one dish I would not recommend. Why? Because the chicken was so dry, I had to drink tea to wash it down my esophagus. Definite no-no. We also got to sample the sweet braised ribs (Jin du pai gu) which was pretty good. Then again, if you’re a chinese restaurant and you botch this dish up, you got some serious learning to do. This dish is similar to sweet and sour pork, but the ribs are battered first and then deep fried. The sauce is not as runny nor is it as clear as sweet & sour pork. In fact, it has a bit more cornstarch and a bit more tang to it (perhaps a bit of vinegar goes into the making?). Definitely one of my favorites to get.
Dim sum at Canton House though is pretty darn good. But I will have to save that for another entry. 🙂 Their service however, was excellent.
All in all, the summary:
- Fried Lobster: ***.5 (3.5 stars)
- Seafood Tofu Hot Pot: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- Salt & Pepper Squid: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- Fried Chicken with salt/hot-pepper dip: **(2 stars, for quantity)
- Braised Ribs: **** (4 stars)
If you wanted to check out Canton House for yourself:4825 Buford Hwy
Atlanta, GA 30341 (770) 936-9030 Bon apetit! R/g