pandora_13's review of ChuChai from Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 15352"/>

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Respond to Review of ChuChai
by pandora_13

Review: I was really looking forward to trying out Chu Chai on my visit to Montreal last week. Based on others' reviews I was expecting something akin to a religious experience, and unfortunately it was several notches below that. I think the thing that turned me off the most was the atmosphere. They're going for that sleek, trendy look that's so popular with the NYC SoHo types. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing... but Chu Chai's decor just feels steely and cold. The server's lack of enthusiasm didn't help either. Still, what matters most to me is the quality of the food. The fried dumplings were sadly disappointing; they were miniscule in size, over-fried and hard. You really couldn't even tell there was anything inside them. If they had been steamed they probably would have been much better. The spring rolls looked very good though, and did get two thumbs up from our dining companions. For our main dish, my boyfriend and I split the fried rice noodles with duck, chilis and basil. This dish was incredibly tasty. However, for $14 we really expected a much larger serving. (Obviously at Chu Chai you're paying more for the decor than for the food.) Other dishes we sampled were the chicken and broccoli, which was simple and tasty; and the fish with ginger, which was very delicately spiced but still flavorful. (Note: The pepper rating system is spot-on. Zero peppers means zero heat, unlike at many Thai places. If you find that boring, order something with a pepper or two.) And what's the deal with making you pay separately for rice? You'd think they could toss it in for free with prices that high. It was a blessing in disguise, though, that our main dish was so small... because the desserts were very good. The fried bananas with ice cream were out of this world. I would probably return there just for that alone. The coconut tapioca custard was good too. The food at Chu Chai is, for the most part, very good. For this reason alone I'm giving it four cows. Whether or not it's worth the price is up to the individual, I suppose. I don't think I'd go often, personally, when there's other great Thai food available in Montreal for a much more reasonable price.


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