The Boss Restaurant-
My wife and I were not in the mood to drive around looking for places to eat after taking the kids to the movies at metrotown, so we decided to have dinner right at the mall. For a mall as big as metrotown (…I know, it’s called Metropolis at Metrotown), there are surprisingly few restaurants. The only choices are the two AYCE Japanese places, the ramen extension of one of the AYCE Japanese place, Fortune House, McDees, the food court, stone grill, and The Boss. We didn’t feel like stuffing ourselves silly with supbar Japanese food, so the AYCE places were out of the question. My daughter didn’t like the ramen place or stone grill, so we weren’t going to those two restaurants. We also didn’t want to have fast food because my son has been having more than his share of deep fried items recently. That left us with The Boss as our only choice (for some reason, we totally forgot about Fortune House when we were thinking of restaurants that were in the mall. I guess it only registers in our minds as a dim sum place).
I wasn’t at all disappointed that we were going to have dinner at The Boss. I actually like H.K. Cafe food and, unlike many of the online reviewers who dislike the restaurant, I actually thought that the food they served was acceptable. The only hesitation I had was with the long wait the I have sometimes experienced when trying to eat at the restaurant.
I was relieved to find that the wait was only 15 minutes when I inquired about it at the restaurant’s front counter. It actually didn’t even take 15 minutes for us to be seated at our tables. It took only around seven minutes for our number to be called.
The restaurant has a large and varied menu that contains both Chinese and Western items, which is pretty standard for H.K. Cafes. Since each of us were in the mood for different types of food, the restaurant’s extensive menu suited our needs perfectly.
My son, the Westernized carnivore, wanted a simply cooked slab of beef. They had exactly what he wanted, the 8oz grilled New York (or was it sirloin?) steak.
As usual, my 3-year-old son finished most of his steak. He probably ate 7 ounces of it and left me one ounce so I could see what the steak tasted like. To my surprise, the steak didn’t taste all that bad. It tasted like it cost more than its $14.99 price tag. The steak was relatively thick and very well cooked. We asked for the steak to be cooked to a medium temperature, and it came to our tables with the perfect pinkness of a medium. The steak was juicy, flavourful, and salted just right. It even had flavours that were similar to those only found in dry-aged beef. The steak was so flavourful that neither my son nor I needed to make use of the included sauce to enhance its flavours. Again, I thought that the steak was a great value for its price.
My daughter only wanted noodles with soup. We thought that she should also have some protein with her noodles and soup, so we ordered the pork chops on noodles with soup for her.
The portion size was huge. This order of noodles could probably feed two adults. My 9-year-old daughter, being not as big an eater as my son, had a third of the noodles and one of the three pork chops. She said that she loved the noodles and the soup, which was usual for her. What was unusual was that she also liked the pork chops a lot. She actually commented that the pork chops were “really yummy” on more than one occasion. She finished her entire portion of noodles and pork chop in around 15 minutes, which was practically light-speed compared to her usual dining speed. She really liked the dish, and it showed.
Since there were a lot of noodles and two pork chops left, I tried some of the noodles and finished the two pieces of pork chops for my daughter. Like the steak, I also thought that the pork chops were very flavourful and very well-cooked. Besides having a nice, savory flavour and being very well seasoned, the pork chops had very enjoyable textures. They were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They were outstanding for their genre, which was usually represented by overcooked and singular-flavoured pieces of old pork.
I liked the noodles as much as the pork chops. I liked the mild, non-eggy flavours of the noodles as well as their elastic, teeth-bouncing, and slightly firm textures. They had none of the normal flavours and textures of lo mein, which happened to worked very well with the normally-not-paired-with-thin-Cantonese-egg-noodles pork chops.
My wife wanted a comforting bowl of congee, so she ordered the congee with lean pork and preserved egg (otherwise known in English as the thousand-year-old-egg) and minced oysters.
My wife wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary with a bowl of congee served at a H.K. cafe. She simply wanted a normal-tasting bowl of congee with the most normal of ingredients. But what she got were flavours that she thought were extraordinary. The addition of the minced oysters amped up the flavours of the the bowl of congee by at least an order of magnitude. The oysters added a rich, briny flavour to the normally subtle tasting congee with lean meat and preserved egg. My wife thought that this bowl of congee had flavours that were similar to her favorite type of rice in broth: the chiu chow rice soaked in broth with oysters and minced meat.
My wife also liked the thicker consistency of the congee. She liked the thicker congee because it was closer in texture to the Taiwanese congee (rice porridge) she grew up with than the more watery (proper) versions served at some local congee restaurants.
I felt like having a plate of rice with generic brown sauce, so I ordered the item that I always order when I get this craving: egg with minced beef on rice.
The first thing that I noticed was that the dish of rice had strips of beef instead of minced beef, but that really didn’t matter to me. I only needed a raw egg on top and a whole lot of generic brown sauce to be satisfied. As you can see from the pictures, there was a raw egg planted smack dab in the middle of the pile of rice. Just from looking at the dish, I was 50% satisfied. When I tasted the rice with the brown sauce, I was 100% percent satisfied. The mixture of the brown sauce, egg, and rice brought back memories of me having this dish as a comforting cure for a hangover after a night of reckless youthful binge drin…abandon.
They got all the little things right with this dish. The brown sauce was nicely thickened and there was enough of it to suitably cover ever single grain of rice. The strips of beef reminded me that there was more to the dish than simply the sauce and the rice. The egg felt like it added about a thousand kilojoules of energy to the dish, and the peas provided a sweet and surprising pop in my mouth every couple of bites.
There are some dishes that I like not because they are extra tasty or extra special, but because they appeal to me in a very personal way. This was one of those dishes. I would still like it if it came as a frozen t.v. dinner (with a fresh, raw egg being cracked on top of it after it came out of the microwave, of course).
I also had a glass of iced H.K. milk tea to go along with my plate of rice.
The iced milk tea was average-tasting, which was what I expected and what I wanted. It wasn’t extra thick or stocking-filtered smooth, but that was ok with me. I just needed it to be not over-sweetened and not overly thinned out by the melting ice cubes. Neither was the case, so I finished the glass of iced milk tea without any complaints.
The meal we had at The Boss was very enjoyable. Every single dish was flavourful, well-cooked, and sanitary; the servers were very helpful and very nice; the wait for our table was short; the restaurant was generally clean…Am I even at the often panned H.K. cafe known as The Boss? Where’s the surly attitude, the decrepit interior, and the generic food? Oh…yea, I do remember where it is…it’s in the negative reviews of this restaurant.