Tonight’s weekly chow-gathering is a meal involving numbers…lots of numbers!!
The venue chosen is ‘ Providential 9, Markham‘. For our main wine choices, we leapt from the 1855 Bordeaux classified growth listing to the more recent, revised 1973 classification. The bottle we picked, a 1st growth Bordeaux from Pauillac….1999 Châteaux Mouton Rothschild. Rated 93 pts by Robert Parker and Wine Spectator.
First, a little about the wine. A tiptop French classic, this Mouton is an extravagant, but easy-going, totally integrated wine, offering floral, hint of tobacco, black berries/cassis and plum flavor and is drinking beautifully. ( Interesting how the two first growths, Margaux & Mouton, we tasted in consecutive weeks, all possessed a distinct Chinese plum/Shaoxin wine component?! ). Opened up after over an hour, the Mouton is fully rounded, velvet smooth with a long finish and good acidity, a first growth worthy of all the superlatives accorded to it. Compared to the Margaux of the same vintage, this Mouton is more voluptuous and ‘macho?!’, though less perfumed and seductive than the former.
For tonight’s meal, we finally managed to deviate from our habitual Lobster or Crab theme! Instead, we took advantage of a rare new arrival and ordered, as our leading dish, TWO ‘ Oil poached LIVE Thai ‘ Oxyeleotris Marmorata ‘ ( Oops sorry!! aka Marble Goby Fish. Ha! ) with premium top soy dip ‘. These premium fresh water fish, a favorite, amongst Asians, were prepared expertly by the chef. The greaseless, lightly flour dusted crispy skin; velvety smooth, delicate and moist flesh; plus the sweet and savory soy based dipping sauce, brimming with umami, complemented so flawlessly with the bottle of off-dry, creamy, luscious and ultra fragrant Alsace….a 2017 Dopff & Irion, Chateau de Riquewihr Gewurztraminer Les Sorcières ( Decanter 96 pts ). However, IMHO, the fish, though delectably good, could have undergone a bit more time in the fryer to create a crispier product thus allowing one to devour the crunchy fins, head and even some of the bones! Just my 2 cents!
The well seasoned and marinated birds were also expertly par-fried/roasted, resulting in wonderfully lacquered, crispy skin and moist, flavourful meat. These ‘Sha-Tin‘ style roasted pigeons, perfect food companion to bring out the best of the mature yet vigorous Mouton. This flavourful Providential 9 rendition, IMO, one of the best in the GTA.
The rest of the specially arranged menu included:
- Double boiled soup of dehydrated Chinese herbs, melons and vegetables, pork shank and sun dried conch.
- Braised goose webs with fish maw and pea sprouts in premium oyster gravy.
- Slow cooked braised giant beef ribs with red wine and Chinese herbs and spices
- Stirred fry razor clams with snap peas, yellowing chives and XO sauce.
- Sauteed Chinese lettuce with julienne ginger, chili pepper, premium soy sauce and sizzling oil.
- Fried pork ribs, Hong Kong Typhoon shelter style ( the ‘heat’ from fried minced garlic and chili ).
- Fried rice with shredded sun dried scallops, egg white and minced ginger.
- Braised E-Fu noodles with fresh mixed mushrooms and yellowing chives.
- Complimentary dessert of Red bean soup with aged Tangerine peels.
For me the special surprise ‘ Star of the meal ‘ was definitely ‘ The soup ‘!! OMG tasty! The aroma plus the extraordinary depth and complexity of the taste profile easily puts it heads and shoulders above all the recently tasted, specially made soup I have had in the GTA . Absolutely Amazing!!
Overall, the standard, quality, execution, seasoning and flavour profile of the cooking and food outshine and easily excelled, above and beyond, some of its neighbourhood competitors!
The super-attentive and friendly service was exemplary. A rarity amongst Chinese restaurants