Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Casa Imperial - Riz North

Recently we tried two Asian restaurants where the food was just average but the decor was quite unique for the style of dining that we were having.

The first was Casa Imperial at Warden Ave and Steeles Ave which was formerly a steak house, but has since been converted into a Chinese dim sum restaurant.  The new owners did not change much of the wall fixtures, china or even the wait staff's uniforms, making it an interesting juxtaposition in styles.   Elaborate chandeliers adorn the ceilings.  Baroque style paintings depicting Louis XIV courtesans hang alongside red and gold Chinese symbols indicating "Double Happiness".

On the tables, European looking plates and gilded teapots are placed next to chopsticks and bamboo baskets of traditional Chinese dim sum brought in by waitresses in black and white French maid uniforms and waiters in black frilly shirts.  The portions were decent size but we found the food a bit bland and since you ordered off a menu rather than from push carts, all the dishes came at once causing them to be cold by the time we could eat them all.  You can get better dim sum for less money at the more traditional places up in Markham but this was an experience to dine in this setting.

Similarly a Asian fusion restaurant Riz North up in Midtown Toronto was decorated in what seemed like a wedding chapel with more chandeliers, white lattice on the walls and a room with an "altar".

For around $19, you can order from an all you can eat menu consisting of a combination of Thai, Japanese and Chinese food.  Choices include sushi, spring rolls, satays, dim sum, pad thai, curries, stir fried meats and vegetables, rice and noodle dishes.

These are two restaurants more interesting for their ambiance than for stellar food.  While they were pleasant enough, I think I'm ready to eat an awesome meal in a dive somewhere.

Casa Imperial - 4125 Steeles Ave East
Riz North - 3321 Yonge St.

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