Fried Prawns with Wasabi Cream Sauce
You cannot go to Chenbao without ordering this dish—I am serious.
This is the perfect beginning, middle and end to any meal—in fact I was considering just making this a meal itself—because it's so damn mouthwateringly perfect. I want to invent a word to describe it because nothing will do it justice. Like beautiful, marvelous and delicious combined.... beauvelicious.
It's also the perfect amount of wasabi covered crunchiness—and I don't even like wasabi. How's that for an appetizer?
Steamed Prawn Dumplings
Remember when I said I don't even like wasabi? Well I don't even like dumplings either.
Except apparently, I've never truly had proper dumplings, because Chenbao's were fantaaaaastic. In fact, I was so enthused by their Chinese authenticity (and presentation—check out that box!) I was tempted to use chopsticks—which is quite a feat considering my absolute lack of coordination.
And even with the frustrations of eating with sticks (really, I just end up stabbing them shish-kabob style), you can't but be in a brilliant move after gorging on prawn dumplings.
Steamed Black Cod Fish Hong Kong Style
Imagine the best feeling you've ever had in your life—love, sex, happiness—whatever. This,
this magnificent dish of ethereal bliss, is that feeling in food form.
Hands-down the BEST fish I have ever had in my ENTIRE life, the Black Cod was creamy, tender, smooth, flawless, immaculate, flavored, sensual and just freakin awesome.
As if the food gods themselves were agreeing with me, Chenbao's music playlist changed the instant my fork touched my mouth. Crying from ecstasy and the beauty of fate, I gobbled down the cod while listening to the croons of "It's wonderful... it's marvelous", and wordlessly nodding my profound agreement.
Beef with Asparagus and Almond Flakes in Oyster Sauce
If you're a beef person, you need to order the Black Cod fish.
You read that right. Don't doubt me—order the Black Cod fish!!
Now, should you need a second dish; which, despite the filling portion sizes is necessary (the menu's just so vast!) I totes recommend the beef and asparagus.
Being an avid red meat lover, I am well versed in the in's and out's of good beef. That being said, this was excellent beef. Cooked to a tender texture, the beef was the softest thing on my plate; the asparagus and almonds were crunchy additions that complimented each other perfectly. Throw it all together on a serving of jasmine white rice and you've got yourself a meal worthy of royalty.
And best of all—unlike most meat dishes—I wasn't nauseatingly full afterward.
Fried Mixed Vegtables
No Chinese cuisine is complete without a mixed vegetable dish. Now, most "Chinese" food places drown their vegetable selection in sauce, hoping the intense soy flavor will mask their less-than-fresh veggies.
Ever flawless, Chenbao's mixed vegetable plate is truly a testament to their Asian authenticity. It's truly difficult to make a platter of vegetables taste gourmet—yet with their quality ingredients and complementary selection of mushrooms, baby corn, broccoli, cauliflower, and red peppers, Chenbao makes the difficult look easy.
This makes a great supplementary dish to the cod or the beef, and if you're a vegan, well, welcome to your meal.
Let it be said right now that I dislike mango. (Yes, I know I'm a picky eater).
So when the Mango Sago arrived, I will admit that I was a little disappointed. Yet when our waitress brought out the dish (and by the way, the entire Chenbao staff is just lovely), I was immediately drawn to its artful presentation.
Right, so keep in mind that I don't like mango. Now this dish was very Mango-y; there were no overwhelming flavors that masked its essence. Combined with the odd caviar-like texture of sago—a starch made of palm stems—the Mango Sago was extremely... interesting. I've never tried anything like it, and it's not the best dessert I've ever had—purely because it is mango—yet I would order this dessert a million times over if I had the chance.
Chocolate cake and vanilla cream puffs are delicious—yet dull. So when you get to appreciate a dessert that confuses, delights and enlivens your taste buds, that my friends, is the quintessence of satisfaction.
And I don't even like mango.
Stair Lift Chair
So obviously, this one's not food.
Yet I still felt this was worth a picture because it is the only Stair Lift Chair I have ever seen in Lebanon, and come to think of it, the whole Middle East.
A chair created for the elderly and handicapped to use the stairs (this one led to the bathroom), I honestly felt that this was the best thing about the restaurant—beyond the beautiful decor and food. This to me screamed awesome, because it really shows that the restaurant owners actually care about their customers.
And that alone is worth coming to Chenbao's for.
The title says it all.
Easily, easily, easily the greatest Chinese fusion cuisine I've ever had, Chenbao is a to-die-for restaurant experience that every foodie (or aspiring foodie) should try. Though it's not exactly easy on the wallet—think at least $50 per person—Chenbao reeks of class and elegance, and is money well spent.
With marvelous portion sizes (every item can and should be split for two), and a non-intrusive dark wood coloring, the atmosphere is the perfect family or date-friendly (or both if you're really courageous) relaxation destination.
Beirut.com got a chance to sit down with Chenbao's manager, Rabih Farhat, who enthused "We are unique and have great staff, an excellent chef and the best quality food." Farhat explained that Chenbao's head chef is Malaysian/Chinese Chef Eddy, who joined Chenbao after working in a Michelin star restaurant—which, after trying the food, is so immensely obvious.
So grab a fork, spoon or chopsticks and prepare to cry tears of absolute joy. On second thought—perhaps you should bring tissues too.