Tuesday 12 June 2012

Yes the food at Yangtze is still mighty fine

When a fire destroyed the legendary Yangtze Chinese Restaurant on Van Horne Avenue in Côte des Neiges last December, owners Marco and Bobo Yau worked quickly to re-establish themselves at the former Tchang Kiang Chinese Restaurant at 6066 Sherbrooke Street West in NDG. At the time this was being looked at as a stop-gap measure until they could decide what to do with the original landmark
With the help of local business consultant Mel Leitman, the Yaus christened the  new establishment as Tchang Kiang by Yangtze, retained most of the staff from Van Horne and merged the menus of the two restaurants. Of all the topics I have written about on my Suburban blog since it debuted just over a year ago, this one has attracted the most feedback.  I visited with the brother and sister team of Marco and Bobo last week, enjoying some splendid egg rolls, pineapple chicken, rice and soup in the process, where they delivered the news. “We will not rebuild the Van Horne restaurant,”  Bobo declared. “We will stay here and continue to build up our product.”

According to Marco, business is 30 to 40 percent greater in NDG than on Van Horne, with half of the seating capacity. Home deliveries are booming. Leitman redid the menus for them, adding and deleting a few items and introducing symbols for   gluten-free diners, low carb requirements and finally which items are strictly vegetarian. Mitchell Kadanoff of Solly the Caterer has come aboard and is distributing about 30 dozen of the famous Yangtze egg rolls a week to a line of stores such as REAL Bagel on Côte St. Luc Road and Queen Mary, Nosherz on Mackle in CSL, Bagels on Greene  and the Metro supermarket in Westmount and Yagel Bagel in  Dollard.

So what will become of the Van Horne location, which housed Yangtze for 55 years? Word has it that a small pharmacy will be constructed.

I wanted to expand upon my column in this week’s paper because of the enormous responses I get on this blog to anything related to the Yangtze.  When people decide to comment on any of my entries, they have the option of leaving their name. My email address – mcohen@thesuburban.com – is also very public. Over the past six months so many people have issued comments on my blog about the restaurant, many complaining about the new version of Yangtze. They are mostly anonymous.

I was pleased last December when I ate there. Last week,  when  I stopped for lunch,  I tried some  of the staples.

The won ton soup was piping hot and tasty. Those famous egg rolls were fresh and crispy, just as delicious as I can remember from my days growing up and going for family dinners on Van Horne. Oh yes, the plum sauce was just fine thank you very much. Is it different from the original location? Probably.  But I had no complaints whatsoever.  The pineapple chicken was mouthwatering and the chicken fried rice just right. As for the spare ribs, Marco told me that they are in fact softer and tastier than the original. I’d have to agree.

In developing the new menus, some of the prices went up. Marco said this was necessary in order to even the scale with the popular Tchang Kiang selections. This new location is also brighter and prettier. It has a liquor license (Beer, wine, Sake, mixed drinks, etc), something the original Yangtze did not.

Marco and Bobo still have custody of the original Yangtze sign from Van Horne. I suggested that they put it up for auction and have legendary waiter Tiger come in to take the bids. Oh yes, there is an old cash register lying around somewhere as well.

Go to the restaurant’s new website at http://www.tkyangtze.com. They are open every day except Monday. You can call 514-487-7744.