Annex 120: Yenta | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

7373 Langelier
Montréal, Québec

Bus:  STM 33, 95, 141, 460

Visit:  September 26, 2013

There’s one thing about Asian cuisine that keeps me interested and that’s the link to my family.  Being half-Chinese, there’s one thing that my family can always agree on and that’s the choice of Asian food.  On this particular occasion, we found ourselves in the east end at Yenta.

In our family, we’re four siblings, which consists of two brothers and two sisters.  I’m the oldest of the four and by now, we’re all in our adulthood.  Over the last ten years, we’ve been fragmented and not all of the issues that caused that separation are behind us.  But, things have progressed and we’ve been able to bridge the gap a little bit.  Part of the slow healing process has been gathering at restaurants.  While we don’t get to do that very often, we tend to cherish the moments we have.  For the first time ever, all four of us would be in the same place.

The plan for the evening would be to order some takeout food and spend the evening inside.  But, as I accompanied one of my sisters to the grocery store to pick up some supplies, the thought of going out started to creep in.  I didn’t think my other sister would buy in, but she did.  For my brother, he just tags along and you can’t complain about that.  So, after a quick brainstorming session and making sure that we wouldn’t end up at a Japanese place where they cook the food in front of you (inside joke), we landed on Yenta.

The name of the restaurant wasn’t quite easy to remember.  I heard it once quickly and  trouble keeping the simplicity of the name in mind.  So, whenever I would ask my sister to remind me of the name, she would change it on me every time I would say something.  So, I had Yenza, Zenta, and Zenya.  I’m not even going to start on how the name isn’t the typical name for an Asian restaurant, as a quick search on Wikipedia would yield something of the Yiddish variety.

Part of the selling process of choosing this place was the fact that it was a fusion restaurant.  I haven’t been to a fusion restaurant before and there are probably better places to begin that with.  To think of it, I’ve probably been to a fusion place without ever realizing it.  At this point of doing this, I’m not concerned with the technicalities of a restaurant, just the fact that enjoying the food in more important.

When we entered the restaurant, the place was about half full.  We were taken to a table at the back of the restaurant.  Almost immediately, we noticed something quite different.  In approximately 300 restaurant visits in the last 4 years, I’ve never seen anything like it.  There were these drapes between the tables running alongside the wall.  Those drapes created a booth where there weren’t any before.  It also cuts down on the space we had.  But, it created more of an intimate feeling which allowed you to forget that there were other tables.

The variety on the menu is quite nice.  You have options that will allow you to find something for every taste.  But, one of the concerns I had was that it wasn’t clear if we were going the sharing route or the simple meal.  You have options on both sides of the coin, but we decided to choose our own meals, where we would share if needed.  The menu also included a nice table d’hote option that came with a soup and spring roll for three dollars more.

Yenta Soup

Since I went with the special menu of the evening, I got to try the Yenta soup.  If I would have to equate this to anything that I had in the past, it would be a won ton soup.  The differences are subtle.  The choices of veggies are different and there are some additional components that you won’t necessarily get in a traditional won ton soup.

The actual dumplings were very reminiscent of my favorite type of soup.  When you take a bite inside, there was a combination of shrimp and pork.  Though having pork in a dumpling isn’t my favorite, this particular one wasn’t half bad.  I also have to note that that the broth wasn’t half bad either.  I actually drank it all down, something I rarely do in Chinatown.

Spring Roll

The other appetizer that accompanies the main dish selection was a spring roll.  This was interesting because the spring roll was cut in half in a diagonal fashion.  When it comes to spring rolls, there isn’t much to say.  All I know is that having this roll reminded me of my brief part-time stint working at Les Aliments Wong Wing during their holiday rush period, packing the various frozen foods that would find themselves at the various M&M stores in the Greater Montreal Area.  Those are memories that I could do without.

Pad Thai ($15)

Cashew Chicken ($14)

Nid d’Amour - Table d’Hote ($19)

Yenta Ying Yang ($19)

The plate that I chose was a combination General Tao chicken and shrimp dish.  As you can see, the plate also includes another salad and a portion of rice.  There are also some decorative pieces that I didn’t bother touching.  It would be sad on my part if they weren’t there to look at and really there to be eaten.

One of the things that I found difficult to contend with was the butterflied nature of the shrimp.  I make it no secret that I am a big fan of all things shrimp, but I tend to like them when they’re easier to eat.  Though I will say nothing negative about the taste of the shrimp, the simple fact that I had to exert more effort than I should have to remove the shrimp from the shell was way too much for me.

For the rest of the platter, I found it to be a rather acceptable combination for the 20 dollars I put into the entire selection.  The pieces of General Tao chicken were acceptable and went quickly as my sisters had a chance to try them, just like I did with the cashew chicken.  While I wasn’t completely blown away, I was satisfied with what I picked.

Final Verdict

If you’re ever in the east end of the city, you should give Yenta a try.  The variety of food, coming from the various parts of Asia, is worth sampling.  If you’re all by yourself, you don’t have to worry about ordering multiple dishes as you can handle all that in a combination dish.  For the location, the food was more than worth it.

Restaurant Yenta on Urbanspoon

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