55 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
It was raining and dull today after a long weekend so the Divas decided to seek out some comfort food. And to us, comfort food means Szechuan Fish and Soup Dumplings. Gourmet China House (not to be confused with Gourmet Dumpling House)had both of these items on the menu and we had not actually ever eaten there (although this was not our first time trying to eat there.)
Our first experience going into this restaurant was totally bizarre. It had been a little over a month and a half ago and we walked into the brightly lit, clean, and spacious restaurant and were seated by the hostess. Right after we were seated, an angry woman wearing a parka came barreling out of the kitchen and started flying at us, telling us they were closed. She went to some of the other tables as well, trying to shoo other customers out of the restaurant. Some of the staff were hovering and watching her, one of the older staff members seemed very distressed by the situation, and the hostess seemed completely unconcerned. Needless to say, we did not see this as a fortuitous start to a meal and left the restaurant to return another day.
So here we were back again, and the restaurant was somewhat empty and at least seemed much calmer than it had on our previous visit. We sat down and promptly ordered the aforementioned Soup Dumplings and Szechuan Fish along with the Rice Cakes with Pork and Vegetables (since we enjoyed them last week and they are a bit of a novelty, we decided to do a compare and contrast.)
First of all, the service was LIGHTNING fast. I literally have no idea how they were able to get these dishes out of the kitchen so quickly (and at the same time have them be so tasty!) The Szechuan Fish was one of the lunch specials, so it came with the ubiquitous bowl of brothy soup to start. It was tasty, had some corn in it, and tasted mostly of chicken and corn. I barely took a bite of the soup when the Rice Cakes came flying out of the kitchen and were quickly followed by the Szechuan Fish.
If we liked the Rice Cakes last week we LOVED them this week. The cakes themselves were not cooked quite as perfectly but the flavor was far superior. They were sautéed (and had a great smoky wok-hai flavor) with pork, bean sprouts, carrots and chives.
The Szechuan Fish, was not quite as delicious as our favorite verson (to be had a Taiwan Café) but it was delicious and spicy without being too spicy (see our review of the Szechuan Fish at Gourmet Dumpling House) and had a bright, pleasing red color. Gourmet China House wins at presentation. The fish came out on a tiered pan with a little burner underneath to keep it warm.
The Soup Dumplings arrived last (as they should if they are done properly!) and were delicious. They had sturdy (yet thin) wrappers and the sauce that came with them had great chunks of ginger and cilantro leaves in it. The Soup Dumplings at Taiwan Café and Dumpling Café are probably better but these are a close third.
Interestingly enough, we were going to boycott this place after our first weird experience in the restaurant, but we are very glad we didn’t. Many of the dishes we saw at other tables looked delicious as well (especially the ginger and scallion lobster) so we will certainly be back.