Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Food to Play With at Wonton Gourmet, Cleveland, OH

When I first started dating my husband Bob in 1991, I told him that the only way I'd consider moving from New Jersey to Cleveland was if Cleveland had a good brewpub and a Chinatown. The fact that I moved to Cleveland four years later is a testament to both Great Lakes Brewing Company and Cleveland Asiatown. I have posted numerous times about Cleveland Asiantown's best Chinese restaurant, Wonton Gourmet, which provides authentic food, mostly Cantonese.

My primary complaint about the state of Asian food in Cleveland has been the lack of authentic Sichuan (or Szechuan) cuisine. Well, based on what I saw and tasted while recently celebrating a good friend's birthday at Wonton, that situation is being remedied.

Thomas, the proprietor and head chef at Wonton, is adding a selection of Sichuan dishes to the menu! I foolishly neglected to photograph the listings on the wall, so I can only show you the one Sichuan dish we enjoyed at the birthday lunch - but since Thomas asked me if he could keep the extra copy of the Asian Bistro menu I had with me (from my last post on Chicago eats), I think we can expect the Wonton Gourmet selection to expand!

And so - we enjoyed another Chinese feast at Wonton Gourmet! First - mostly the usual suspects for appetizers, but a couple of twists:

Cold Jellyfish with Pickled Vegetables and Seasame Seeds

I've never been a huge fan of gooey jellyfish - I've always preferred this delicacy served hot and crispy. But this time - I realized the secret to enjoying this dish - getting some of the pickled vegetables in your mouth together with the jellyfish strands. You know what? It's darn tasty that way! Even Janbo, who was very shy about letting jellyfish past her lips - enjoyed her taste.

Steamed Rice Rolls With Shrimp

Chive Potstickers

Turnip Cake

Steamed Rice Rolls with Green Onion and Cilantro

I much prefer these rolls to their stuffed cousins.

These nibbles were followed by a soup course:

Fish Maw and Seafood Soup with Conpoy (Dried Scallop)

Delicious, as always. The maw adds texture more than flavor, and the conpoy gives a huge hit of the sea!

Oysters with Black Bean Sauce

Golden Tofu Coins with Seafood, Fish and Vegetables

Our server passed our table while delivering a plate similar to this to the table next to us; he said that we had to try this dish today. As always, he was right! I don't know how they get silken tofu to be so firm and crunchy on the outide, while it remains pudding-like on the inside.

Sichuan Spicy Fish

Several folks in our group had already tried this dish on a recent visit, but I hadn't been to Wonton since they started serving the Sichuan dishes.

Exquisitely fresh filet was married with both chiles and Sichuan Peppercorn for a blazing, mouth-numbing experience. I can't wait to try the other Sichuan dishes listed on the wall!

Sauteed Snowpea Leaf with Garlic

Ningko With Shredded Pork

These toothy house-made rice noodle ovals make me swoon with delight every time I eat them!

The contrast of toothy noodle and crisp vegetable is irresistible!

Mai La Ong Choy

This item was also one of the "new" dishes. The Ong Choy was stir fried with a light yet assertive sauce, and lots of ginger - though it looks a lot like the garlic pea leaf dish we'd had earlier - the taste was completely different.

We completed our meal with a birthday cake one of our friends bought at the bakery at the West Side Market. It was a marvelous repast - and I hope a harbinger of spicy fun to come!


  1. I have to agree with Nancy that while the entire meal was wonderful, that Spicy Szechuan Fish was absolutely fantastic! It's not crazy spicy, but spicy enough and the fresh garlic aroma when it is set down in front of you was enough to make me swoon!! I'm salivating just thinking about it.