Posts with tag "dim sum"

Searching for Superwaiter

It was suppose to be a pre-birthday dinner for my mom at our local Chinese restaurant, Golden House Seafood.  A little get together for a nice low key night with family and friends. Even though Golden House is a small restaurant of about 8-10 tables, they serve dishes that are considered on the quality high end side (ie you’re not going to find Chop Suey and Fortune Cookies here). As much as we like the owners and the food, this uncharacteristically bad night turned out to be almost a Shakespearean disaster in service. We’re regulars at this restaurant so if I’m saying it was bad…it was truly bad.

We ordered 6 dishes to share and it took almost 2 hours to serve 5 of the 6; it took so long that we just cancelled the last dish. For any restaurant to take 2 hours, especially a Chinese restaurant, to turn out 5 platters is ridiculous. Every time we asked for anything, we would have to repeat ourselves and to different waitresses. How many times did we ask? Let me count the ways – to cancel the last dish took 2 waitresses and 3 requests and to ask for the bill from the same waitresses took 4 tries. I had to actually walk up to the counter with my wallet in hand and pay at the cash register.

I did feel bad for them that they only had 2 chefs in the back instead of the usual 3. But the waitresses spinned around the room inefficiently and frenetically….and let me repeat that this was a restaurant of 8-10 tables ONLY.  This made me think, no wait…. reminisce, of the ‘Super Waiter’ who worked at this location.

This particular spot at the corner of 49th and Fraser has had a few turnovers of Chinese restaurants.  I don’t remember what it was called previous to Golden House but it served dim sum and similar quality cuisine.  But I will always remember this one waiter that took care of EVERYTHING all by himself and he did it well.  He was so efficient it felt like there was a waiter per table: he greeted, served tea, took orders, remembered your order, filled the teapots, cleaned the tables, set the tables, got you that extra chopstick/spoon/napkin/hot sauce, brought the food, served the food, handed you the bill, got you your change and had a smile while doing it all.  I have a few friends who’ve gone to the restaurant and can vouch for this mysterious super server.

Because of him, my standard for excellent efficient service is pretty high.  If one humble hard-working smart waiter can manage 1 small restaurant all by himself, I’m expecting above par service if a place has a size of a small army as its wait staff (I’m looking at you Guu Gastown).  I don’t know where he’s gone to but a full ‘kowtow’ to his hospitality amazingness.

It is truly mind-boggling to have experienced one of the best and one of the worst services at the same location but different restaurant.  Well at the end of the unfortunate dinner, the owner did give us a discount off of our meal; that little compensation didn’t ease our frustration nor hunger…instead it made us decide to not go back for awhile and made me wonder where Mr. Superwaiter has gone off to.

Golden House Seafood
6520 Fraser Street
Golden House Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

We were in the South Granville area to do some early shopping and per usual my dad wanted dim sum for lunch. There’s nothing wrong with dim sum as I grew up with it. The issue is that my dad has become quite one tracked mind in his old age. When we ask where he would want to go for lunch, he usually suggests the same 2 to 3 restaurants. So in attempt to change things up, I asked to check out nearby Dynasty Seafood Restaurant. I’ve only been there for banquets so I wanted to try the dim sum selection.

When we arrived around 2pm, there was still a 15 minute wait to get a table. It’s one of the nicer Chinese restaurants with a decor and menu that cater toward the well to-do crowd. Once we sat down, the service was prompt with first asking what kind of tea we wanted, bringing us the menu, and putting in place some nice looking chilli and XO sauce (chilli sauce usually with preserved scallop and/or shrimp).

The menu comprised of traditional and signature dim sum, and few larger dishes to share. Even though there was quite the variety it was not very expansive.

We ordered a few traditional plates. First was the har gow or shrimp dumpling

The wrapper or skin was nice and chewy but surprisingly not a lot of shrimp in this shrimp dumpling. Maybe they cut up the shrimp too much because when I bit into it, it was starchy and lack the slight crunch that you would get when biting into the shrimp.

Another traditional dim sum we got was the beef meat ball

It was more on the softer side than other meatballs I’ve had. I guess depending on the restaurant some make it more mushy while others make it firmer with more of a bounce. But for Dynasty’s version, I wish they added more minced water chestnut or green onion for texture and flavour.

And then I had to have my childhood favourite, the steamed bbq pork bun

I love it when it arrives at the table steaming and hot. These were pretty good with the bun itself fluffy and the chopped bbq pork filling not too glutinous with a good mix of sweet and salty.

I am such a poster child for the line ‘curiousty caught the cat’. I saw the peculiar dim sum experiment of shrimp dumpling with pineapple, chives,…and foie gras!

The wrapper skin used was similar to that of siu mah but I might as well have eaten another shrimp dumping. The amount of foie gras in it was less than my pinkie fingernail aka couldn’t taste it at all. What’s the point of adding foie gras when you can’t even tell it’s in it.

Lastly, we ordered the very cute red bean pumpkin ball for dessert

The steamed dessert texture is very much like a hot mochi ball. There wasn’t much pumpkin taste to it though but it’s a cute little dish that’ll make the kids happy.

The dim sum wasn’t too expensive but the price reflected the decor and neighborhood. The serving staff was pretty attentive, efficient and nice. I don’t think I’ll go back again unless I want to impress some out of town guests.

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
108-777 Broadway West
Vancouver, BC V5Z
Dynasty Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Rainflower Cafe

How does one tell if a dim sum restaurant is good?  By the lineups.  There is a lot of dim sum choices around the lower mainland but if it’s good, people are willing to drive across town and wait in the crowded entrance area to get a spot.  We only drove across town to Richmond because I wanted to go furniture shopping.

I’ve read great reviews about Rainflower Cafe from other food bloggers so I thought we should give it a try since we were in the hood.  Going to Richmond is a rarity for me because I don’t like the traffic, crowd, and vibe there…exception is the food.  It was about 1pm when we arrived and the first thing we noticed is the spacious beautiful elegant decor.  Next thing I noticed is the uncharacteristically empty tables around;  a half full restaurant during prime dim sum time was a sign.

We sat down and started to skim through the dim sum order form.  It was mix of traditional and specialty dishes but the variety still seemed lacking.

We started with typical dim sum of meat balls and beef rice rolls.  When they arrived, all of us commented that the portions were small.  The meat balls were priced as a large dish and for sure…it was not a large dish.

Then we ordered 2 shrimp dishes: shrimp spring rolls and shrimp dumplings.  The spring rolls were the size of cigars and underwhelming with just shrimp as the filling.  They could have added vegetables like bamboo shoots to bulk it up and give it more texture.  The shrimp dumplings were ok but suspiciously tasted like it came out of a Hon’s bag.  If it were really fresh dumplings the skin would have a more soft sticky quality to it.

One of their specialties was a unique version of ‘ja leung’ or chinese donut in rice rolls.  Their version had fish paste in it.  Once again the portions were small and fish paste isn’t that expensive so they could have stuffed that donut even more.  The only redeeming dish at this point was the white turnip cake.

Since there were four of us, we decided to order a lunch dish to share: the ‘ma po’ noodles.

‘Ma Po’ is a spicy chilli and bean based sauce usually with minced pork cooked together.  The sauce in this noodle had no semblance to the sauce.  It had barely any flavours and the noodles weren’t cooked properly.  It was so tasteless I couldn’t finish my bowl at all.

What can I say?  I’m a dim sum snob and justifiably so….I’ve been going to dim sum since I was born and there was even a point where I went almost every weekend.  And did Rainflower Cafe pass my test? Nope.

Rainflower Cafe
3600 #3 Rd Richmond
Rainflower Restaurant on Urbanspoon