Monday, March 30, 2015

Dim Sum at Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant 皇朝海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon Dynasty Seafood Restaurant features free parking (if you let them know you parked downstairs) and 15% off their dim sum menu if you are out by 11.30 AM. Since they open at 10 AM, you have to be organized and eat eat eat to be gone from the table by that time. Still, on top of dim sum being sort of cheap to begin with when dining in groups, 15% is welcome.

Like most Chinese restaurants, service is shoddy compared to always-smiling-flirty-girl-check-on-your-meal downtown-Vancouver service. Congee initially came without bowls, for instance. Also, items typically come in fours and the person with the scissors (which she wouldn't leave at the table) lagged behind so our party of 5 had to do some messy cutting of our own with chopsticks. On the other hand, they seemed responsive if you do flag someone down to ask for something. Also, I don't recall that we were kept waiting long for pots of (strong) tea, which isn't always the case at many Chinese restaurants.

Dim Sum here is not the mark-on-a-form style and apparently they won't make a fuss if you try to order more items, unlike some places where they might freak out if you try to extend your order.

Food is overall good and we tried quite a few items. That said, because of the wide variety of dishes for dim sum, if you are experimenting, you can't really fault the duds or what you didn't know you wouldn't like. Where a restaurant legitimately fails in dim sum is when they do poorly on what items you normally like in dim sum.
Here are just some notes about a few items in our dim sum brunch:
  • Something I liked about Dynasty was when shrimps were used, they had nice fat ones and you can see chunks of shrimp/prawn instead of them being ground up and possibly mixed with filler. Also, I dissected a Steamed Shrimp Dumpling, and it looked like pretty much all firm and not over-/under-done shrimp, held together by just a bit of egg.
  • Congee was served with a minimal amount of chinese donut -- just a few thin slices of a donut. Moreover, these seemed overly cripsy and oily. Fortunately the congee we had was flavourful and didn't really need any accompaniment.
  • Siu Mai was fine but had a strong fishy aroma due to the bit of orange fish roe on top. If that bugs you, just scrape it off. It hardly shows up in flavour.
  • Sauteed Black Cod with Green Onion and Ginger was a dud as it was rather fishy (might have been a fluke). Could have used some chili sauce at the table to make this palatable. In any case, eat this fast while it is hot.
  • Peking Duck ($30, from the non-dim sum lunch menu) looked rather pale and the skin under-roasted. Also, when they sliced the skin off, each section came with a lot of fat and some meat. I liked the papery thin, dark skin at The Change much better, though there was a lot less skin there -- definitely not a whole duck's worth.
  • Honeycomb Cake: Get this! It looks like honeycomb in structure, is chewy fun to eat, and which had a surprising citrusy note.
I was hoping to get some of the interesting items seen in pictures on Urbanspoon (like the pumpkin dessert and goldfish pastries) but didn't spot them on the menu.

We had about 10 items and considering we also had Peking Duck with the meat made into one dish of sweet-and-sour duck, we got off not too badly with a $27 bill after tax and tip. Some of us paid by VISA at the counter and they made absolutely no fuss about it at all.

Overall, a nice pick by Vanbrosia, who suggested the place and did all the ordering for us. Check out Vanbrosia's blog post on this Dynasty dim sum for her take on the food and her great pics of the food and menu.

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