Date Night Kitchener – Chinese Fusion and 50’s Bebop
Those who know me, know that two of my favorite things are authentic Chinese food and 50’s Bebop. This week’s date night has both. What the heck is going on it’s not even my birthday! First up, here’s Maple’s review of Exclamation.
Exclamat!on is the latest addition to KW’s Chinese cuisine community. Unlike the others (China Garden, Cameron Seafood, Crystal Palace, King Tin etc. ), Exclamat!on brands itself as an Asian Fusion Cuisine restaurant. I have always been wary of “fusion” – ie. not authentic…?
Browsing through their website did not provide any additional comfort. This was what I found on their online menu:
All dinners include spring rolls & crispy cheese,
wonton soup/ hot & sour soup / house salad,
and chicken fried rice or french fries.
Nonetheless, I was excited to give this fusion a shot. Y & I were SO ready for a night of chicken balls and spring rolls.
I was not surprised to find Exclamat!on totally empty on a Friday evening. After all, it was only the 2nd day after their grand opening. Typically, I will get a mini panic attack upon entering an empty restaurant. This time, however, I was intrigued and curious. This would either be really good or really bad.
First Impression: The dark red/black colour combination conveyed a modern vibe, with a sly hint of tradition. Spacious interior. Me like.
I was excited to be one of the first few customers to test the water. Apparently, so was the server! Her gratitude towards our presence at the restaurant was conveyed throughout the evening. The server’s (one third owner, other two owners are chefs) enthusiastic service was very much appreciated. Great service enhances the meal infinitely!
Y & I, with my sister X, decided to order tons of dishes, with the intention of having leftovers for the next day. Family-style meals are typically more difficult to evaluate. Larger portion size per order limits the variety. Therefore, ordering tons of food was the only way to achieve a wider breadth of dishes to provide a fair conclusion.
On the Table for Maple:
- Homemade pickled cabbage (not on menu)
- BBQ Pork Fried Rice ($7.50)
- Special Homemade Braised Bacon ($14.95)
- Wok Fry Short Ribs ($16.95)
- Mixed Seafood Special ($16.95)
- Orange Beef ($15.50)
There was a complimentary appetizer. It was very refreshing, tangy, and sweetened perfectly. Currently, it is not on the menu – please chefs, put it on the menu! I could have eaten a bucket of those. It was simple and delicious.
Jasmine Tea – I thought it adorable/amusing how they provided pink cups for the ladies and a blue cup for the dude.
Generous BBQ pork servings! I appreciated the restaurant’s efforts to include vegetables in most dishes – it is rather hard to get proper vegetable/meat balance with most Chinese restaurants.
Their signature dish of braised bacon. WELL DONE. Y thought the bacon were a tad too fatty but X & I loved every bit of it. A little Maple trivia – Maple hates bacon. I really do. Bacon makes me want to barf. However, I probably finished half of those fatty bacon. They tasted phenomenal!
Side note – I was extremely impressed that the dish looked exactly like what they posted on their website. 99% of the time, restaurant dishes look absolutely nothing like their photos.
Also, I’m a proud bacon hater. I’m not weird, I’m limited edition!
Fried ribs were too dry for me. Y liked it though.
After sampling the variety of beef/pork/seafood/tofu etc, it was evident that Exclamat!on IS authentic, with many creative signature dishes. I inquired about the misleading “chicken-balls-image” portrayed on their website, which turned out to be an attempt to cater to the local crowd.
Really!? C’mon, the local crowd has better taste than that. KW, I strongly urge you to skip the fries & spring rolls, then dive adventurously into the real deal. You will not be disappointed with what the dynamic trio at Exclamat!on has to offer.
P.S. I’ll be back for the signature roasted duck! (reservations required)
1) $$ price – Great portions, reasonable pricing
2) Newly renovated store with a fusion of modern & tradition
3) Knowledgeable, passionate staff
4) Superfantastic dishes!
Where: 58 Frederick St, Kitchener, ON
For Maple’s review with lots of great pictures visit a Table for Maple, please.
Jazz at Massey Hall – Bernie Senensky Quintet
One of Canada’s finest pianists, Bernie Senensky re-visits the legendary 1953 Massey Hall concert that featured Dizzie Gillespie, Charlie Parker & Charles Mingus. Bernie is joined by Darryl Orr sax, Jake Wilkinson trumpet, Steve Wallace bass & Barry Elmes drums.
Where: Registry Theatre
When: February 8th
For more information please visit website
365 things to do in Kitchener Waterloo is brought to you by Keith Marshall, Realtor at Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty. If you have any comments or question please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s rule: Rule #38: Never be in a hurry to buy.