Green Tray – KINGSTON, ON

Taiwanese Braised Pork

Green Tray on Urbanspoon

Green Tray is a popular spot for students since it’s close to campus, quick, and relatively cheap for those on a budget. I’ve been here a few times and I have to say it’s as good as what you pay for it. The decor is simple, very urban and modern but the seating is quite limited. You literally get everything on a ‘green tray’, hence the name.

This restaurant is extremely casual. You order first and pay, then the food is brought out to you. Or if you’re in a hurry, you head to their “express” line, where you pick two items and rice or noodles for 8.49 (this may have changed). It’s a good system, which is why I always see a lineup when I get there.

I usually order their bubble tea because I find it’s the best in Kingston. I’m a bubble tea addict, so i’ve been searching in Kingston for the best original milk tea. Classics tea lounge was a bit disappointing since they changed owners, and Mekong doesn’t have it there. So, this was the next best bet. I tried it, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Although the choices are more limited, I find it very tasty and at a good value (for Kingston of course). However, they use powder and proudly show it, which kinda takes away from the “tea” portion but hey, it tastes pretty alright. The pearls they use could be cooked more thoroughly so it doesn’t taste as hard when biting into it.

I ordered the Taiwanese Braised Pork (pictured above) with noodles. This, along with Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup, are basically Taiwan’s most popular dishes that you can get at any Taiwanese or Asian restaurant that offers Taiwanese cuisine. Their pork is well flavoured, and goes well with the noodles. They also add in some broccoli with some hoisin or oyster sauce on top. Good tough, since this dish needs a little green in it. Although this dish is usually made with rice, I opted for the noodles cause i’m not too fond of Green Tray’s rice. I was fairly happy with my meal, and it was also a pretty big portion that I couldn’t finish it all. At a value of under $10, I was content with this meal.

Now, I frequent Green Tray quite a bit, especially with my family so i’m constantly ordering several dishes for everyone. The one thing that I have to complain about is that they never have all of their appetizers or dim sum in stock. And this isn’t just on one occasion, but many. I’ve wanted to order the green onion pancake (which my little sister adores) but they didn’t have it. Another time I wanted Shao Mai, but again didn’t have it. So it’s a bit disappointing to have a craving for something and see that it can’t be fulfilled.

Overall, it’s a good place for a cheap meal that offers a fair to large portion. Service has always been great for me so i’ve never had a problem with that. They do occasionally mess up orders or don’t bring out all of the food at once, but I don’t mind as much. Good place to chat, socialize, and have some bubble tea!

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Harper’s Burger Bar – KINGSTON, ON

Sliders

Harper's Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Burger joints are becoming really popular here, with three of them opening in the last year JUST in the downtown Kingston area! My friend and I decided to go check out Harper’s Burger Bar, located downtown on Princess Street.

The menu is mostly made up of fresh local burgers, with some hotdogs, salads etc. We went there specifically to try the burgers though.

We both had the sliders, so we got to order 3 different kinds of mini-burgers. They had 19 types, so it was cool that we got to sample a bit of their menu at once. I got the #1 Classic (secret sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion), #2 Easy (black river cheddar, bacon, no mushrooms) and the #13 Yum! (goat cheese, local bacon, sundried tomato pesto and no mushrooms). Also got sweet potato fries as the side.  The presentation was simple – came in a metal tray and was neatly organized. I tried them in numerical order – the #1 was very simple. Buns are toasted and the sauce is very good, which adds to the juicyness of the patty. Next was the #2, which was also good – simple, crispy bacon and cheddar cheese, nothing more. Then onto the #13… this was by far my favourite. The tomato pesto and the goat cheese are great together. The crispy bacon and the toasty bun offsets the softness of the pesto and the goat cheese and they just went so well together. I definitely recommend this one. Sweet potato fries were also really good – didn’t have that greasy feeling and there was plenty to fill you up while not overloading you. (I also recommend asking for a side of the white truffle mayo.. delish!)

The one thing I love about Harper’s is that they try to do alot of local ingredients, and since they are located so close to Springer Market Square, they have access to of the fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market.

Rating

Atmosphere: 4/5 – inside is really nice, clean, with cute booths and chalkboards to tell you the menu. Loud but comfortable.
The Dish I had: 4/5 – the #13 made my meal.
Price Range: Around $10-15

A definite recommendation for burger lovers.