On a lazy, and late, Tuesday afternoon my parents and I dropped the car off at the auto shop and carpooled over to a restaurant near our former place of residence near Thornton Avenue. Palace Chef, an excellent and authentic eatery, is hidden behind the old McDonald's, blending in with the frozen yogurt and donut shop nearby. Although it looks old and unreliable, don't let its appearances fool you. Parking around the area is few and the outer and inner appearance isn't fabulous, but what the restaurant lacks in good looks, it makes up in sheer volume and taste.
Noodles served at the Palace Chef restaurant are truly authentic both in preparation and taste.
Palace Chef's dishes are all prepared with an authentic flair, using spices, herbs and ingredients that are popular in the Shandong Province of China; the food here is a treat for the taste buds.
The most popular dishes served at the restaurant are the noodles; the ones served at Palace Chef are know as "shou-la mien" which translates to "hand-pulled noodles". The outcome of manually preparing the noodles leads to a fuller taste as well as a better, more springy texture. While items such as the popular sweet and sour pork or fried rice exist on the menu, they are bland in comparison to the full and more authentic flavors available there.
Upon entry, the servers supplies the guest the menus which are full of mysterious, and often unknown foods along with a saucer of homemade Kim chi. For newcomers, the menu looks a bit intimidating but there are dishes that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. For an appetizer, the potstickers served at Palace Chef are a phenomenal choice. Homemade and paired with a savory tangy and spicy sauce, the potstickers look more like fried pieces of bread rather than what we're used to seeing at the stores. These have a crunchy outer layer and are thicker compared to other restaurants. For those ready to order the main dish, there are several that are my family and my favorites. The beef noodle soup at Palace Chef is infused with spices yet is not overpowering. These soupy noodles are laced with a little spiciness to bring out the flavor of the beef and even the vegetables are infused with the soup's flavor. Another family favorite that is less endearing is the seafood noodle soup. While the flavor of this dish is much less exciting, it should not be taken as bland. The soup stock is rich with flavor and packed with mushrooms, shrimp, scallops, squid, onions, and bokchoy. For the more willing to experiment with the taste of richer flavors the jia-jian mien is packed with an assortment of spices and unique combinations of flavors. These noodles are not in soup, but are in a rich, thick sauce infused with sweet, and mildly spicy flavors. The sauce, dark in coloring and paired with seafood or vegetarian additions create a bold dish not for the faint hearted.
The service at Palace Chef is a little slow and space is limited but the food is phenomenal and well worth the wait.