Another monthly date with S. Last month I introduced her to Jackie’s Thai where she was thoroughly impressed. Her exact words to me were, I always amaze her with my restaurant picks :) This time she wanted to try dim sum, so I suggested the new Dragon Chinese restaurant which has been getting some rave reviews. Also love the fact that it is extremely close to our work buildings! And oh, apparently when you’re a foodie, people don’t buy you Birthday gifts. They want to take you out for meals. So yes, this is an unexpected Birthday lunch.
Here’s what we tried today:
Steamed Scallop Dumplings – $5.95
Essentially a shrimp dumpling topped with a scallop, tobiko and fake shark’s fin. You know, it amuses me when I read user reviews on Urbanspoon from people getting all upset b/c restaurants serve shark fin sushi or in a form like this. People, for that price, you are not getting the real thing! Chill out. No, I don’t agree to eating the real thing either, but at least learn to tell the difference before bitching about it. I like how the shrimp in this was sweet and crunchy with a not too thick wrapping. The fake sharks fin strands were slightly chewy and doesn’t taste like much – it’s merely for decoration to make this look elegant.
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Ha Gao) – $5.95
I don’t really remember why I ordered this when I already ordered the above, but S doesn’t eat pork or beef so I was just thinking… seafood! Once again, the shrimp was sweet and crunchy and the wrapping is thinner for this dumpling.
Steamed Pork Meatballs (Siu Mai) – $5.95
Since S doesn’t eat pork, and I like to order the standard ha gao & siu mai when testing out a new dim sum restaurant, I just had to order it. The meatball itself was full of tender pork and mushrooms bits and with very little fat, which I definitely like, and topped with a single shrimp and tobiko. I like how the entire piece was crunchy and seasoned well. I also appreciate how the tobiko was added on after steaming so it was still translucent (cooked tobiko looks like a light orange mush).
Pan Fried Eggplant stuffed with Shrimp Mousse – $3.95
One of my favorite dim sum – Chinese long purple eggplant stuffed with a generous amount of shrimp mousse and then pan fried. The eggplant retained a tender, silky texture and the shrimp mousse still had a good bite to it without being mushy. The garlic and black bean sauce was good – savoury and complemented the eggplant pieces very well. S liked this a lot and said she has never tried it before.
BBQ Roasted Duck (1/4) – $9.00
One thing that this restaurant stands out from the other dim sum restaurants is that they have their own BBQ meat stand. S decided she want to try their duck and it didn’t disappoint. The meat was tasty and succulent although the flavor was a tad too salty for me. When S said she didn’t want to eat the skin, I told her that it is a sin to toss it away (after all, it is the best part) and she just laughed. The duck itself wasn’t too fatty – there was just a thin layer between the meat and the nicely roasted skin. This definitely doesn’t compare to the BBQ duck from Sun’s BBQ, which to me is the best in the City but it’s more than decent.
Marinated Jellyfish and Cucumber – $7.95
I love my jellyfish appetizer cold plates, and although not every place can nail the jellyfish right, this restaurant certainly did. The jellyfish was cut to the right thickness, was appropriately crunchy and was basking in a very tasty marinade (vinegar, sesame oil, chili pepper) along with the cucumbers. I think the cucumbers could be sliced to thinner pieces so it can absorb the marinade more. S first said, why is this cold? Oh S… I told her that this dish is always served cold as jellyfish is hardly ever served in a hot dish. She just didn’t expect it to be cold (after all the piping hot dim sum) but liked it a lot!
Snow Pea Tips and Bean Curd Sheets in Broth – $6.50
This dish is a story on its own. Let’s review the dish before I start my story telling. The snow pea tips and bean curd sheets were lightly boiled and basking in a light (likely chicken) broth. The gingko nuts added a slight bitter undertone to the broth. This was a very healthy tasting dish and nearly vegetarian if it wasn’t for the broth.
So it has become a habit of mine to always order a plate of vegetables at dim sum just to help cut the grease. I marked down the order of daily vegetables for $6.50, and the server asked me what vegetable I prefer. She said they have gai lan (Chinese broccoli), choy sum (Chinese flowering cabbage), snow pea tips… and I chose that. She came back to drop our receipt off and on it it didn’t read daily vegetables, so after a few minutes I found her and asked her what she ordered. I was afraid she ordered the dinner size plate of vegetable for us and I didn’t want that, nor can we finish it. Yes, that was exactly what she ordered because she then said snow pea tips are not part of the daily vegetable, but she was the one that offered it to me! And she can’t cancel the order b/c it’s almost done. At this point I was not pleased b/c I got misled into ordering something that I didn’t want. So another server came, asked what the problem was and I explained. She said she’ll cancel the order and get me gai lan instead. She went into the kitchen, came out and offered me a solution. She said the dish has been made, so how about she sells me half of it for $6.50 so it doesn’t have to go to waste? I agreed to it b/c we were ok with that, and they can probably sell the other half to another table as the daily vegetable. She apologized for the mix up and explained that snow pea tips are never the daily special vegetable, but b/c the other server did offer that out of confusion therefore it was not my error. THAT, my dear readers, is good service. Offering the customer an amicable solution to create a win-win situation. I have told this to other people and they all agreed that other Chinese restaurants would probably just tell me too bad, so sad!
Service is definitely good and very attentive – the servers go around checking tables constantly and remove empty dishes right away and fill teapots as needed. Prices are definitely higher than other dim sum restaurants BUT I rather pay more for better service and food. The food was very tasty and we were happy with everything we ordered. I definitely have to come back for dinner and try their dishes!