Ming Court Update
A couple of weeks ago I found myself at Promenade Cafe & Wine, and decided after my visit that I would do an update of my original post. I’ve generally avoided updates in the past, unless there was some major change to the restaurant. However, I got thinking, I often visit restaurants after I’ve viewed them, and an update a few years down the road might not be a bad idea.
So, yesterday as I wandered down Edmonton Street I thought, why not stop in at Ming Court. It’s been a while since I was last there(almost four and a half years).
I may also have been unconsciously been influenced by a tweet from Rob Duncan highlighting a blog post from Christian Cassidy about the history of the building that has houses Ming Court. Cassidy is also the author of the West End Dumplings Blog, and if you’re not occasionally taking the time to visit his blogs you are missing out on a lot of informative and entertaining reading on Winnipeg’s history.
Anyways, back to the actual review. It’s been a year or two since the renovations Cassidy writes about were completed. It certainly improves the street view of the restaurant, but I was curious to check out the inside and see if anything was different inside.
It is. The bar and VLT lounge doesn’t look all that much different, or at least it’s no more eye-catching. However, when your take the view steps up to the dining area, there is a noticeable difference. The table tops are still dark, but the chairs and benches are an off white, that serves to brighten and modernize the entire look.
Ming Court Review:
One can find Ming Court restaurant on Edmonton Street between a building featuring a hearing clinic and a parkade. Looking at the buildings aged brick exterior and the back lit plastic lettered sign in the window one gets the impression that either might hold out more hope in finding a decent lunch.
I started my meal with the Wonton soup. I ordered the cup size, as I wish to try a couple of other dishes as well. The soup had a rich consomme broth. The wontons them self contained a nicely seasoned pork filling, and best of all the salt was in good balance, not overwhelming the dish.
Inside, one looks at the reviews posted and is only slightly more encouraged. While they are glowing reviews, they are also a decade or more old, give or take a year. Turns out, the reviews may be old but they are still accurate. Ming Court offers great food and great value.
Ming Court is open for lunch and supper. The supper setting features the whole menu, while there is a limited but sufficient lunch menu. The lunch menu features about a dozen items on it. There is also a Tom Mein soup which is featured on a whiteboard on the dining room wall.
I didn’t go back during lunch time, but checking their online menu, they seem to still offer a good selection of reasonably priced lunch choices.
The first time I visited, I tried the black bean beef with noodles. The lunch dishes offer you the choice of rice or noodles, and I generally prefer the noodles. The beef is nice and thinly sliced and very tender. The vegetables manage to retain a crispy quality
Along with the soup, I chose an appetizer dish of the Crispy Chicken Wings, and a main dish of the Ginger Hot Beef. In a bit of strange twist, the main dish arrived at the table before the appetizer, but that’s not really a big deal.
The Ginger Hot Beef was quite enjoyable. I asked for it as hot as possible, and while I don’t think it actually achieved that, it has a nice sneaky heat to it that gets up into your sinuses as you go along. I also really enjoyed the fact that cabbage was the principle vegetable in the dish. It makes a pleasant change from the carrots that are featured most of the time in Chinese dishes
The wings in the Crispy Wings were quite substantial. The batter was indeed crispy, and the meat was moist and tender. The only drawback to the dish is that there’s not particular seasoning to the wings, and it doesn’t come with any kind of dip. This would make a good takeout choice if you had your own dip at home.
The soup is available with your choice of spiciness. I went with the hottest level on the menu and found that it was as advertised. The tofu, or as it advertised soy bean curd, was also well-prepared. Crispy all around the outside giving way to a chewy interior. The only slight letdown with the soup was that the poached egg was in fact hard-boiled by the time I got served.
All the dishes on the lunch menu come to around $10.00 after tax. (Prices appear to have increased, but given that I wrote this 5 years ago, that shouldn’t be a surprise, and they are still quite good). The portions are very generous as well. Service is quick and efficient as the aim seems to fit in as many turns as possible during the lunch period. While the staff is welcoming, you are left with the impression that they hope you eat and leave as quick as possible. This is particularly true when your bill arrives about 5 minutes after your food.
When I originally went to Ming Court it was over lunch, and as I note above there was this sense that they wanted the table turned over as quick as possible. That was definitely not the case this time. My server allowed me plenty of time to relax and enjoy my meal. She kept my water class filled, coming back 3 or 4 times to make sure it was full, and when she brought me my bill assured me that I need not rush, but simply pay when ready.
One thing I noticed this time, that I wasn’t aware of, or perhaps didn’t exist on my previous visits was a collection of six fish tanks at the back of the restaurant as you head towards the washrooms. If you visit Ming Court, it’s worth taking a couple of minutes to go to the back and check out some of that are in the tanks.
Despite this, I heartily recommend Ming Court as a lunch destination. Good food, good portions and good prices are hard to beat.