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Dinner at Restaurant Beijing in Chinatown

Montreal's Chinatown has its origins dating back to the 1860s, when Chinese immigrants first moved westward seeking opportunity. The neighborhood isn't as big or dense as New York's, but the food options are just as bountiful. With too many people and not enough time to check out Joe Beef, we ended up at a place called Restaurant Beijing.

It turned out to be a lot like Joe's Shanghai if you took away all the Xiao Long Bao. Both restaurants have entrances entirely too small that open up into a great room full of round tables that are always full. The place settings are the same: plate, napkin, chopsticks, tāngchí, tea cup. There's no chili oil on the table at Beijing but they do have a hot sauce heavy on the garlic and full of flavor. Here's what we had:

Dumplings in Hot Peanut Sauce ($4.50) - Six to an order. The peanut sauce was a little too heavy for the delicate dumpling dough.

Beijing Fried Rice ($10.95) - All the right produce for a good fried rice with a few shrimp to boot. An excellent char made it taste like the rice had been grilled somehow. Couldn't stop eating it.

BBQ Duck 1/2 ($13.50) - Unbelievably tender. The moisture was trapped behind the thinest, crispiest duck skin that had us second guessing the origins of chicharrónes. The jus was sweet and salty and layered with flavor.

Singapore Rice Noodles ($8.25) - The only dish we didn't finish, thanks to under-seasoned, dry noodles.

Tofu with Black Bean Sauce ($9.95) - There was a shrimp on top of each of these tofu squares that got covered in a rich, glistening black bean sauce. A decent dish but one that doesn't change my stance on tofu: it always just tastes like condensed air.

Spicy Green Beans with Pork ($10.95) - This is the same as the String Bean Szechuan Style (with Pork) at Joe's. Slightly less salty here but the same blistered green beans with ground pork. So good.

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce ($9.95) - Similar to broccoli rabe. Steamed and tossed with oyster sauce. Left a little to be desired.

Spicy Eggplant with Pork ($10.95) - Still trying to figure this one out. The pieces of eggplant were exceptionally dense with a concentrated, sweet flavor as if they had been candied.

92 Lagauchetiere West | 514.861.2003 | www