Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Deer Garden Signatures a great phở alternative

Deer Garden Signatures Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato We had wanted to try Non Stop Pizza again but it turned out they were not just closed, but closed down on their Fraser Street location. The whole block (?) was scheduled for demolition and, probably, gentrification.

So my second choice was Deer Garden Signatures, which I'd been curious about but wasn't about to run out to Richmond for.
There was a line-up in the tight waiting area, but for our party of five, the wait time was estimated at 10 minutes, even with two parties ahead of us. And it was no lie! In about ten minutes we ended in a spacious booth near the back of the restaurant.

Client demographic looked predominantly under-30's Chinese, but the fairly young wait-staff could speak English well and were more polite and patient than at most Chinese restaurants I've been to. Points here!
Our orders didn't all come at the same time, BUT they all came very hot -- apparently it's served as it's made, no waiting around to serve an entire table at the same time, which risks items getting cold. One order from the menu took longer to prepare and we weren't told beforehand. But that, too, came out steaming hot, so it's clear the waitstaff are very prompt with delivering food.

Although the rest of the Fraser/49th region looks dilapidated, this restaurant is cleanly renovated on the inside. Booths give a lot of privacy despite the busyness.

If you haven't been, the protocol appears to be that you press a button at your table if you need service. Eventually, they will come. Press it when your party is ready to order.

They started us with hot tea, and there was no refill afterwards.
There are forms to fill out for their noodles, both at the hostess table and at the tables in the dining room. There are also menus, but read carefully what is available at what time.

A couple of us ordered dishes, which didn't look so great -- so like every other place, Deer Garden Signatures has duds, and our table had wildly swinging opinions from "disgusting" or "not impressed" to "good value" to "tasty".

It's hard to go wrong with the noodles if you like phở, but some soup bases are definitely tastier than others. Price for portion is also very good. Price for an already fairly big bowl (approximately the size of a standard bowl of phở) is $8.95, or around $10 after tax and tip. This is comparable to phở, but the mix-and-match concept gives you a lot more variety.

2015-Sep-8 Deer Garden Signatures noodle menu

For my soup base, I chose "watercress and almonds fish soup", which tasted like fish sauce soup. Which was OK, but way inferior to "peanut sauce & chili soup" which my friend ordered. That was way superior and I highly recommend giving it a go. Watch for the spiciness if you can't handle that well, though.

Standard items in the soup are green onion, cabbage, bean curd, and mushroom -- all of which can be omitted if you specify. The bowls were big enough that none of us wanted to try supersizing it for $1.50 more.

I also ordered "desert wings with ginger" ($1.95 for 3 wings). OK sized wings. VERY crispy, and stayed crispy for a long time. Moist on the inside. NOT gingery. As wings go they were very nicely deep fried and superior to most "wings" places. Worth a try unless you insist on strong gingery taste.

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