6767 Côte-des-Neiges (opposite the Côte-des-Neiges Plaza)
Sun.- Thu. 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Fri.- Sat. 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 PM. Licensed. All major credit cards. Tel.: 731-1401
There must be a school somewhere in Kowloon where waiters take a class called Surly 101: How to Maintain Scowl Yet Make Joke at Same Time. If there is, the waiters at Kam Shing (Golden Castle) in Côte-des-Neiges must be the retired instructors.
Actually, its pretty funny if youve audited the course.
This place is insanely popular. Do not attempt to dine there at lunch hour or between 7 and 8 p.m. unless you like standing crunched in the doorway like a misbegotten festival dragon. If you do manage to get a table in this large, rectangular banqueteria-style room, kick back and enjoy the show, for thats what it is. Waiters weave precariously in the Long March from the kitchen to the tables, somehow avoiding each other as they carry armfuls of dishes groaning with meats and vegetables and rice and noodles in the narrow causeways between tables.
Its a practiced bunch. At the far end of the room is a bar, whose stools are invariably filled with expectant customers waiting for takeout. Kam Shing does not deliver, and a good thing tooIve never had a decent Chinese meal delivered in Montreal; must have something to do with the Feng Shui of my apartment building.
Here you will have the best egg rolls in MontrealI guarantee it. These are monsters, at least six long inches by three around, served straight from the hot oil (definitely not reheated) and chock-full of sprouts, pork, onions, carrots, celery, bamboo shoots and cabbage. If you have two youll have to take everything else home in a palanquin.
Having said that, lets look at the menu: its as usual a sprawling foodtropolis of 200 or so dishes (Ive always wondered what theyd do if 200 people came in and each ordered a different dish); the soups, the poultry, the meats, the seafood, the rice, the noodles, and among others, a section called Specialty in sandstone pot.
A hot and sour soup arrived, hugely. Expecting a small bowl when we ordered, we got a large bowltrough, reallyof a thick amber broth filled with cubes of tofu, bamboo shoots, julienned pork and fresh shiitakes. In my opinion it could have used upping the hot and lessening the sour.
We agonised whether to order their most popular item, the roast duck, but knowing what proportions things come in here, decided wed wait until we were a party of ten instead of just two.
A Yang Chow fried rice (basically kitchen-sink fried with rice) was overcooked but generously studded with shrimp, chicken, pork, diced tomatoes and various other vegetables. It was also not greasy. Fried rice noodles with beef came in a massive mound of beef and broccoli, but the noodles were completely buried and of the ultra-thin rice-crispy varietynot the soba-type chow mein stuff Im used to from California. Must be an East Coast thing. The broccoli was impeccably fresh (all their vegetables are clean and crunchily toothsome) but the beef and sauce were curiously tasteless. This was remedied with a liberal application of the chili sauce that comes on every table.
Unfortunately, this was also necessary for the Beef in SA-TEI saucespicy, which was essentially beef and onions in a hoisin gravy. I was sensing a theme here, at least with the beef dishes.
Next time Ill be sure to ask for the duck and not feel like an idiot when I cant possibly finish it. After all, it was Chuang Tzu who once said "He who asks is a fool for 5 minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."
A Tsing Tao beer was a welcome flavour enhancer and we managed to snag a waiter to put the rest of the foodat least enough for sixinto a bag to take away, before the whole crew sat down to have their own early dinner and prepare for the evening rush.
We certainly felt like the Two Gorges after late lunch at Kam Shing.Reviewed by Nicholas Robinson