The Place: Gold Marquess is a Cantonese-style banquet restaurant housed in a former Roadhouse Grill with crystal chandeliers and fresh- and salt-water tanks with live fish, crabs and lobsters. It is elegant but understated, so both large parties and a single diner can be accommodated, although dim sum seems best shared. There is a private banquet room with a communal table available for groups. A big Chinese gong is by the entrance, and a framed panel from China on a back wall depicts a blossoming peach tree.
The History: The place is owned by Kam Ip and Lai Lam, whose son Filbert “Fil” Ip manages the restaurant. He was born in Vancouver, but when he was a baby the family emigrated to Maracaibo, Venezuela. There, he grew up in his parents’ Cantonese restaurants. The family came to Miami in 2003, and he went to Everglades High and then to Florida State University in Tallahassee, then worked in San Francisco as a chemical engineer until returning to South Florida last year when his parents opened the restaurant. The dim sum chef and partner, Yong Li, is from Guangzhou in Southern China, and the other chefs are from South China and worked in New York City Chinatown restaurants. They named it for noblemen of hereditary rank.
The Food: The vast menu includes jellyfish in sesame oil; salt and pepper duck tongues; crispy pork intestines; braised frog in cumin sauce; sizzling hot pot with abalone; and more familiar seafood, meat, tofu, vegetable, noodle and rice dishes. Dim sum — which means “to touch the heart” — can be an appetizer or a meal. Try pan-fried taro cake; fried eggplant slices stuffed with shrimp paste; shrimp and Chinese chive dumplings; and dry-cured pork lap cheng (wax sausage) in a bun. There’s also the steamed gold lava bun filled with sweet custard and fried durian pastries with durian crème made from the football-sized fruit covered in sharp thorns with pulp that tastes like rich vanilla ice cream laced with a hint of sulfur. From the main menu, there’s lightly battered and fried Pacific Dungeness crab worth the effort when you extract the sweet meat using a nut cracker; steamed lobster with garlic egg noodles; and Peking duck with the crispy skin and legs served first with buns and hoisin sauce. The rest of the duck is whisked away and returns chopped with pine nuts and lettuce cups to stuff with the mixture. Grab a fortune cookie from a bowl by the door when you leave.
You Didn’t Know This: From the main menu, there’s a dish called osmanthus mussels named after a flowering shrub native to the Himalayas that grows in South China. It is also known as screw clam but is really a delicate-tasting, chewy gonad (gland) with the texture of soft jelly from sea cucumbers (marine slugs) known as haishen or “ginseng of the sea” that are stir-fried with scallions, carrots and mushrooms here.
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If you go
Place: Gold Marquess Fine Chinese Cuisine
Address: 8525 Pines Boulevard, Pembroke Pines
Contact: 954-367- 7730, GoldMarquess.com
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 10:30 am.-11 p.m., Sunday 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Prices: Dim sum sampler $15.90, soups $3.90-$28.90, noodles and rice $8.90-$18.90, entrees $12.90-$32.90
F.Y.I.: Full bar and daily happy hour 4-7 p.m.