I’m very antisocial. I don’t like dining with other people, especially strangers. Thus, I did feel a bit uncomfortable during my recent visit to Congee Noodle House. They are a casual Chinese restaurant located on Broadway near Main Street with a very large menu consisting of congee, noodles, rice and Chinese barbecue. Since I was a single diner, I had to share a table with several other diners. It was understandable, since most of their tables are quite large and suited for groups of table. However, they were quite slow in cleaning the tables, and I found myself sitting with a pile of dirty dishes right next to me, which is not the worst offense but is a bit distracting…Anyways, I had their Pineapple Sweet & Sour Pork on Steamed Rice (which I upgraded to Fried Rice for an extra $2.5) and their B.B.Q. Duck with Noodle.
Pineapple Sweet & Sour Pork on Steamed Rice ($12.50 + $2.50 for fried rice):
The pork was very good: it was tender, meaty and quite crispy wihtout an overly thick batter. The sauce was thick, and had a good balance between sweet and tangy. I got the dish with fried rice for an extra $2.50, and although the rice was quite tasty and had a nice savoury flavour, I actually don’t think that you need to have it as the sauce was very flavourful and probably would be better paired with plain rice. Although a bit on the pricier side, the portion that they provide is fairly generous, and given the quality, I do think it’s worth the cost.
B.B.Q. Duck with Noodle ($10):
They have two versions, either the the noodles in soup or with the soup on the side – I had mine with the soup on the side. The noodles had a very nice bouncy texture. There is a pretty good amount of bbq duck. The duck itself was quite flavourful, although I found it to be a bit too boney. The side of broth had a good savory flavour, and went well with the noodles.
To start with the positives, I really enjoyed the food at Congee Noodle House, and the prices were quite reasonable given the quality and portions. Unfortuantely, the service was pretty poor and really soured my experience. In addition to the dirty dishes, the staff were were very inattentive and never checked once on our table other than to bring the food. One of the other diners that I was sharing the table with asked for her bill and I swear she waited probably 15 minutes before the server finally arrived with her bill. I seriously felt sorry for her. All in all, while I really did like the food, the lackluster service prevents me from whole-heartedly recommending this place.