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  • Go 4 Food [Cantonese Seafood Specialists]

    Post #1 - February 10th, 2013, 8:59 pm
    Post #1 - February 10th, 2013, 8:59 pm Post #1 - February 10th, 2013, 8:59 pm
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    When I crave piles of pristine seafood- redolent of Chinese aromatics- at affordable prices- which is quite often, Go 4 Food is my go to.

    My baseline order:
    Impossibly plump, creamy, Flintstone's sized Steamed Oysters with ~my choice~ of (piled on) garlic topped with a nest of vermicelli and plenty of cilantro.
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    And of course, my favorite of favorites: addictive, instantly craveable Manila Clams in XO- tender, sweet clams varnished in archetypal house-made XO which varies in chile heat visit to visit (tellingly batched fresh) but always deeply umami rich.
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    Their crispy Cantonese poultry preps (with requisite salt/pepper/MSG dip and lemon garnish) are the crispiest, most succulent in Chinatown. Depending on my company I like the "Braised" Pigeon or Cantonese Crispy Chicken:
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    And then, if you're looking to celebrate (or have shown up with more than a party of two :wink: ) a fresh crustacean plucked live from the tank is in order. Dungeness crab or lobster prepped with your choice of scallion/ ginger (my fave), salt & pepper, black bean sauce, or (intensely rich) salted egg yolk. A pretty good deal at m.p. $22- $26. Who knew that knob of meat in the lobster tail was the best bit? Ginger Scallion Lobster:
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    Beyond this, I love their veggie preps including some unique dishes such as Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce with Meat (pork belly), Dried Scallop & Mixed Mushroom Cabbage Rolls, and On Choy with Jalapeño in Bean Curd Sauce.
    I've heard they make one of the best hot and sour soups in town as well.

    Come to think of it, there's not much I don't like at Go 4 Food. By far my favorite Cantonese in Chinatown (and among my top 2 or 3 spots in CT period).

    The thread here is not as deep as it should be, but among my own hyperbolic posts, some board praise:

    "I love this place. Small, clean with a knowledgeable, hospitable owner." -Louisa Chu

    "Without a doubt the best hot and sour soup I've had in a long time. Usually I'm reaching for the vinegar, pepper or chili oil. Not with this version. The little chunks of perfectly cooked shrimp are very appealing." -Rene G

    "To start, I somehow completely missed from this thread the scale of the oysters with the fried garlic and vermicelli. Somehow I thought they were bite-sized and came on a platter with a few oysters and was therefore confused when asked how many oysters I wanted. The fact that they are boat-sized oysters was a wonderful surprise. It was like eating a really soothing, garlicky, delicious bowl of soup." -happy_stomach

    "Almost everything was amazing, and everything came out extremely hot and fresh, and very well cooked." -laikom

    "They're not just a great Chinese restaurant, it's probably my favorite seafood restaurant in the city." -turkob

    Go 4 Food gets my unequivocal nomination for this year's GNR awards!

    Go 4 Food
    212 W 23rd St
    Chicago, IL 60616
    (312) 842-8688
    Last edited by Jefe on February 10th, 2013, 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - February 10th, 2013, 9:54 pm
    Post #2 - February 10th, 2013, 9:54 pm Post #2 - February 10th, 2013, 9:54 pm
    Hell Yeah!

    I couldn't be more enthusiastic about this nomination. Rather than echo all that Jefe wrote about the pristine seafood and exceptional skill in the kitchen, I'd like to mention the great service I've experienced there. Kenneth, the owner, has worked with me many times to organize group meals. Kenneth has helped me tailor each meal to the preferences of the group I'm with and broken down the entire cost of the meal (frequently with discounts) in advance to make organizing payments easy.

    Go 4 Food is a definite Chinatown gem!
  • Post #3 - February 22nd, 2013, 8:27 am
    Post #3 - February 22nd, 2013, 8:27 am Post #3 - February 22nd, 2013, 8:27 am
    I'm sure there will be more posts after our upcoming feast, but I think this is an excellent GNR...however I've only had one dish at Go4Food. Earlier this year Turkob took me to Chinatown for a tour of his favorite spots...this was the first stop. I enjoyed the Indonesian crab dish we ordered so much, I was tempted to cancel the rest of the tour and finish our meal at Go4Food.
  • Post #4 - February 26th, 2013, 7:46 pm
    Post #4 - February 26th, 2013, 7:46 pm Post #4 - February 26th, 2013, 7:46 pm
    I was lucky to attend the dinner at go4food last night. If i wasn't already in support of the GNR before, last night's dinner really sealed the deal on the GNR for me. It was by far the best lineup of dishes I've had there (good ordering Jefe), just about every one worthy of the award. I was even talking shit about the oysters before arriving. On a previous visit I was not a fan of the vermicelli covered oysters, but the black bean/scallions version we ordered last night were great. I was drinking the sauce they were served with.

    Good stuff, definitely a GNR to me!
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #5 - February 27th, 2013, 12:46 pm
    Post #5 - February 27th, 2013, 12:46 pm Post #5 - February 27th, 2013, 12:46 pm
    I also attended the dinner on Wednesday and really had a wonderful meal, I posted about it here. To add to what I wrote about the food, may I add my kudos for the people who waited on us, they ran things professionally, filled up water glasses and paced the meal really well. A definite GNR in my book.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #6 - February 27th, 2013, 12:49 pm
    Post #6 - February 27th, 2013, 12:49 pm Post #6 - February 27th, 2013, 12:49 pm
    mbh wrote:I also attended the dinner on Wednesday and really had a wonderful meal, I posted about it here. To add to what I wrote about the food, may I add my kudos for the people who waited on us, they ran things professionally, filled up water glasses and paced the meal really well. A definite GNR in my book.


    I agree. The best thing about our meal was the service. I'm pretty lukewarm on go4food overall, but I did enjoy their unique take on seafood hot & sour soup, which may have been my favorite dish of the evening, and the only one that I felt was properly seasoned.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #7 - February 27th, 2013, 1:38 pm
    Post #7 - February 27th, 2013, 1:38 pm Post #7 - February 27th, 2013, 1:38 pm
    stevez wrote:
    mbh wrote:I agree. The best thing about our meal was the service. I'm pretty lukewarm on go4food overall, but I did enjoy their unique take on seafood hot & sour soup, which may have been my favorite dish of the evening, and the only one that I felt was properly seasoned.


    For the sake of banter:
    Improperly seasoned ? Those clams were popping with chunks of fresh ginger and a steady chile heat! The lobster had giant planks of ginger and plenty of scallions. The crispy chicken had requisite salt & pepper MSG dip. The oysters were too salty for me with the black bean prep (I prefer the garlic style with laikom's favorite vermicelli :wink: ) Even the over-fried pigeon had a depth of sweet spice marinade. Admittedly, the egg yolk shrimp could have used a bit of salt and the S&P crab lacked a healthy toss of jalapeño found in other preps around town. I'm a salt and heat fiend and I did not hit the chile oil once that evening and come to think of it never have in all my meals at G4F.

    My slight critiques of the food that night were textural- the over thickening of the XO on the clams, I prefer a little runny sauce to ladle on white rice. I do appreciate that each batch varies though. That and the dry pigeon- though that fried hard style seems apropo- the skull was crisp as could be with a savory bite of little birdy brain.

    We can agree that the H&S soup was very good. And the service was mighty accommodating allowing for a very effortless party.

    I appreciate Go 4 Food's deft hand preparing fresh seafood, I think many of their ingredients shine on their own. I had a lackluster dinner at LTH with similarly prepared dishes last week and everything there seemed dull and lifeless compared to our meal at G4F.

    But to each his own, taste is subjective!
  • Post #8 - February 27th, 2013, 1:50 pm
    Post #8 - February 27th, 2013, 1:50 pm Post #8 - February 27th, 2013, 1:50 pm
    Jefe wrote:
    But to each his own, taste is subjective!


    Exactly right on the subjective taste comment. I enjoyed the meal overall but the food there just doesn't pop for me and G4F would never be a place that I'd pick if it were up to me. Yes, there was lots of ginger in the clams, but it was like getting hit over the head with a sledge hammer. There was nothing subtle about that dish at all, which is what I've come to expect from my favorite restaurants serving the same dish. I can understand why others may like G4F, but for some reason the place just doesn't work for me. It never has. I'm sure I have some favorite spots that have people scratching their heads and saying, "How can he think this place is great?"

    There's a good chance I'm in the minority on this, but not everyone likes the same thing. That's why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #9 - February 27th, 2013, 5:54 pm
    Post #9 - February 27th, 2013, 5:54 pm Post #9 - February 27th, 2013, 5:54 pm
    stevez wrote:That's why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors.


    Two of which are currently Premium Churned Reduced Fat No Sugar Added Tin Roof Sundae, and Watermelon Chocolate Chip.

    I do think Go4Food has the best seafood hot and sour soup around. Other dishes have been hit and miss for me, but I keep their menu in my office desk, and the room and service qualify for high praise.
  • Post #10 - February 27th, 2013, 8:49 pm
    Post #10 - February 27th, 2013, 8:49 pm Post #10 - February 27th, 2013, 8:49 pm
    To me the shellfish (excluding the shrimp) was the highlight, with the oyster w/blk bean, clams and lobster my faves. Yes the XO had seen a bit too much cornstarch for my taste, but very much enjoyed the flavor. Also enjoyed the hot and sour soup. I found both poultry dishes to be overcooked and dry though, the pigeon more so than the chix and the bok choy, avg @ best (and I love my greens). Not certain how I feel about GNR status, but then I'm not the one that decides.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #11 - February 28th, 2013, 8:38 pm
    Post #11 - February 28th, 2013, 8:38 pm Post #11 - February 28th, 2013, 8:38 pm
    I wrote about my experience at Go 4 Food the other night in the main thread - viewtopic.php?p=442551#p442551

    In my opinion, albeit based upon this one dinner, Go 4 Food is absolutely a GNR. It's a delicious departure from a lot of what I've eaten of late in Chinatown, and I enjoyed some very good seafood. And thanks to Jefe, we were really able to experience a great portion of the menu. Also, perhaps the most surprising part of the G4F experience was the very friendly and efficient service, far better than what I've typically experienced in Chinatown. Thanks for introducing me to Go 4 Food!
  • Post #12 - March 1st, 2013, 4:14 pm
    Post #12 - March 1st, 2013, 4:14 pm Post #12 - March 1st, 2013, 4:14 pm
    turkob wrote: Kenneth, the owner, has worked with me many times to organize group meals. Kenneth has helped me tailor each meal to the preferences of the group I'm with and broken down the entire cost of the meal (frequently with discounts) in advance to make organizing payments easy.


    I'd like to amend what I wrote to mention that Kenneth is no longer there. Much of the staff is still the same but they have a new manager who is running the show now (I didn't catch his name).

    I remain enthusiastic about Go 4 Food. They offer such a wide variety of seafood options, it's always exciting to visit. The kitchen isn't as consistent as I would like, but I've never had a meal there where there weren't some real highlights. They offer a huge variety of crab and lobster preparations, and I have to mention the delicious scallop served on the shell with roe.
  • Post #13 - March 3rd, 2013, 8:27 am
    Post #13 - March 3rd, 2013, 8:27 am Post #13 - March 3rd, 2013, 8:27 am
    Terrific seafood, best hot and sour soup in Chicago land, interesting specials, friendly service, fair price point for quality.

    GNR, yes sir.

    Go 4 Food, count me a fan.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - March 3rd, 2013, 10:47 pm
    Post #14 - March 3rd, 2013, 10:47 pm Post #14 - March 3rd, 2013, 10:47 pm
    Our dinner here last week confirmed for me that G4F is the premier spot in Chinatown for seafood. It's a big menu and some of the best items take some sussing out but with Jefe as our guide, we did quite well. I'd been a couple of times before and always enjoyed it -- especially the Millionaire-style Seafood Fried Rice -- but several of the dishes at this most recent meal were new to me, and really resonated. Combine the great food with warm, helpful service, extremely reasonable pricing and byo, and it's a perfect GNR combination. I heartily endorse this nomination.

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

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