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I picked up a groupon-type deal for a lobster meal at Ned Bell’s Yew Seafood Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel.

We made reservations on a weeknight and when we arrived, we were immediately escorted to our table.
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As this was a coupon-purchased meal, it featured a fixed price menu.
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We were also offered the wine men, on an iPad… how high-tech.

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The main dining room is airy and spacious, and while crowded, not particularly noisy.
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We started with complimentary bread, or rather, biscuits.

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These are cheddar and chive biscuits, and smoked salmon biscuits.  They were soft, warm, savoury and delicate.  I liked the mild smokiness of the salmon.

My appetizer was a lobster roll
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This was poached lobster meat a truffle infused mayonnaise, served in a split toasted brioche bun.  This was quite fabulous.  Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of lobster rolls, but perhaps I’ve just had bad lobster rolls in the past.  The lobster meat was cooked just right, the mayo was just lightly infused with a hint of truffle oil, and the brioche bun was lightly toasted on the outside.

My dinner companion ordered the lobster and crab cake
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This was a crab and lobster meat croquette, breaded and deep-fried to a light crisp.  It’s dressed with a chili aioli, and some salad greens.  The crab-lobster cake is all seafood, no fillers at all.  It was lightly crispy on the outside, and properly seasoned and cooked on the inside with lightly sweet crab and lobster meat.   The chili aioli provided a nice spicy element to the dish.  There was supposed to be crispy parmesan on this dish (it said so on the menu) but I didn’t notice it.  Was it part of the breading?

We both had the same main, poached lobster with slow braised short rib.

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This was a vanilla butter poached lobster tail, served on top of a slow braised short rib, with carrot puree and crispy cauliflower and golden raisins.  The lobster tail was properly done with a barely noticeable vanilla flavor (if I wasn’t looking for it, I might not have noticed), but it tasted wonderful.  The short rib was fork tender but still flavorful.  The carrot puree and the raisins provided some sweetness, and the battered deep fried cauliflower provided some crispness.  I really couldn’t taste the cauliflower though, cauliflower is pretty mild, and it was masked by the taste of the batter.

For dessert, my dinner companion chose the chocolate flan
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This was two layers of milk chocolate flan, with a dark chocolate mousse on top, with a layer of white chocolate rice crisps in the middle, served in a mason jar.  In spite of the “mousse” description, it’s not a light airy mousse.  It was actually a little heavy.  But the white chocolate rice crisps provide some nice crunch.  And the dark chocolate flan is rich and intense.

I had the lemon panna cotta
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This was a light lemon panna cotta, filled with lemon curd, and topped with black sesame meringue.  It’s accompanied by a cassis (black currant) sorbet and pumpkin seed and currant granola.   The panna cotta was light and creamy with just a hint of lemon, while the lemon curd was slightly sweet, rich and boldly lemony.  The granola was crispy and provided great crunch.  The cassis sorbet was very tart.

The room, was mentioned was airy and warm and very comfortable.  The fireplaces and the abundant wood add to the atmosphere of warmth.

Our server was excellent.  Pleasant and friendly, attentive and gracious.

This was my second visit to Yew (the previous was several years prior) and I would not hesitate to return.

YEW seafood + bar on Urbanspoon

We stopped in Cho Sun Korean Restaurant on Kingsway for lunch.

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I’d driven past this place more times that I care to count, but I had never tried it.  It’s a pretty wide menu.

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With started with juicy beef short rib with stew and rice

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This was boneless marinated beef short rib, grilled and served on a sizzling hot iron plate with sliced onions.

This stew is called doenjang jjigae.

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This is a traditional stew made from soybean paste, mushrooms, vegetables, prawns, squid, and medium firm tofu, served in a  hot iron bowl.  It had a slightly spicy kick to it.  There was a lot of flavor in the broth, quite a bit of garlic, and lots of tofu, and vegetables.  It was pretty good.

And as with most Korean meals, we were given a variety of side dishes
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This included marinated seaweed, kimchi,  stewed potatoes, and a small green salad with a tangy dressing.   I’m not a fan of kimchi, nor the seaweed, so I can’t say too much about those.  The salad was pretty good though, it was crisp and the dressing was slightly sweet and tangy.

This was followed with a seafood pancake
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This is a pancake made with daikon radish, with shrimp, squid, scallions, and chili peppers.  It’s pan fried and served in a hot stoneware serving plate.  This was a really good dish.  There flavors and seasoning were excellent, the pancake was lightly crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

The next item was sweet & sour chicken (I think it’s called “yangnyeom-tongdak”)

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This is marinated chicken, dipped in a batter of egg and seasoned potato starch and rice flour, and deep fried to a crunch, then tossed in a sweet and sour sauce with mixed vegetables.   It’s garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.  The chicken is tasty with a good crunch.  The sweet and sour sauce is tangy and bold with a slightly spicy kick.  The mixed vegetables are hardly noticeable.  While I’m sure they add some nutritional value, they are masked over by the bold flavor of the sauce.

The room is well lit but very black (the predominant color).  It’s fairly clean and not too noisy.  Given that Cho Sun is also serves korean barbeque, I imagine this place is much louder when the grills and overhead fans are running.

Our server was quite pleasant and reasonably prompt.

Cho Sun B.B.Q. Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

During a visit to the Empire Center shopping plaza in Richmond, our intended destination was closed for the day, so we decided to chance upon Chef Tony.

This relatively new place occupies the former King Buffet on No 3 Road (and was the former location for Hon’s before that).

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The waiting area is quite elaborate.

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The dining room is almost glaringly bright, with a curious mix of elegant and ultra modern.

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On our first visit, we stopped for yum cha.  This is the dimsum menu

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Everything appears to be familiar dishes with a curious twist.

We started with flaky almond meat loaf sticks

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I’m not making the name up, that’s what it’s called on the menu.   I’ll write it off to a weak translation.  This dish is a roll of pork and prawn meat, surrounded by almond flakes and baked.  It’s served over sliced cucumbers.  It’s not bad.  The pork and prawn center had decent flavor and seasoning, the almond crust was crunchy. I suppose this is good for gluten-free diners, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what the chef was thinking about when he came up with this one.

Next we had the yi dong special egg custard tarts

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Egg tarts are kind of a must-have for us.  These are fantastically delicate and flaky pastry tarts filled with a light egg custard, and baked.  Easily the most tender and flaky pastry I’ve tasted in years.   The egg custard is smooth and light, less “eggy” and more milky that most other egg tarts I’ve had. I’m not sure, I think I picked up a slight hint of almond in there as well.

Next we had shrimp nori and pineapple spring roll

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These are the basic prawn spring roll, with a twist.  The pineapple adds a little element of sweetness.  The nori, while visible, doesn’t add much to the taste.  It’s largely masked out by the taste of the prawns.  There was some nice crispy crunch from the roll casing.

This was followed by pork spareribs with taro in black bean sauce

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The twist here is the use of taro root on the bottom (instead of squash).  The pork spareribs are tenderized and accented with black beans, garlic and hot chilies.  The garlic flavor was pretty mild.  This was pretty good.

Next we had meat and dried shrimp sticky rice dumplings

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This is seasoned minced pork and dried shrimp in a rice ball, deep fried.  No unusual twist with this one, at least not that I can detect.  These were just okay.  The filling had enough flavor, but the fried rice ball wasn’t particularly crispy.  It think it could have used a few extra seconds in the deep frier.

Lastly we had ground beef ball

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This was an accident on our part.  We ordered the wrong thing when we checked the wrong box on the order card.  That said, this was pretty good.  It’s marinated finely minced beef and pork ball, accented with cilantro and water chestnuts, steamed and served over watercress.  I didn’t notice any dried orange peel (which is good, as far as I’m concerned.  I don’t care for dried orange peel).

Overall, the dim sum was pretty good, albeit a tad pricey.

The room is very bright and clean (there are numerous small private dining rooms off on the western side of the restaurant).

The service, as chinese restaurants go, is quite good.  Attentive and prompt, and about as pleasant as chinese servers get.

Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant 頤東大酒樓 on Urbanspoon

Update: we returned for a second visit to Chef Tony, this time for dinner.  Was unable to photograph the menu, since it was not yet available as a hard copy (it exists only as an electronic copy on an iPad which the waiters leave with the customer until they place their order).

This was the soup

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I’ll be honest.  I have no idea what this soup (or anything else ordered) was, since I didn’t have a hand in choosing the meal.  This is a soup made from dried fish, lean pork, sliced arrowroot and dried beans.  The broth is pretty good and surprisingly not very fishy tasting.

Next was the mixed vegetable plate

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This is basically lightly stir fried mixed vegetables (gailan, beans, peppers, onions, black fungus, lotus root, and ginko nuts.  No noticeable twist this time.   This was pretty good, but nothing special, and actually a rather small portion.

Wext was rack of lamb and mushrooms

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This is marinated and grilled lamb chops (cut from the rack), served with fried basil leaves and battered deep fried mushrooms.  The lamb was tender and very flavorful (marinated in soy and sugar).  The deep fried mushrooms were overwhelmed by the deep-fried batter (couldn’t really taste the mushrooms), but they had a nice crunch.

This was followed by braised pea shoots

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This is a large portion of pea shoots blanched in chicken stock with roasted garlic cloves.  This was pretty good.  The pea shoots were cooked to the right doneness, there were fresh and tender.  The stock had lots of flavor.

This is the weird one.  It’s dry style stir fried rice noodles with beef and gai lan

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The noodles were fresh, the beef had decent flavor, and the gailan and mushroom stems were tender and everything was well seasoned.  But the twist here was the use of truffle oil.  So far, I’m not a fan of truffle oil.  It does nothing for me, actually, I find the aroma somewhat unpleasant.  So for me, I think it spoiled an otherwise decent dish.

Finally we had crispy skin chicken

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This is partially de-boned air dried chicken that’s cooked with cascading hot oil, chopped and served with small pastry cups of fruit salad (rather than the usual prawn chips).  This was a disappointment.  The chicken was a little overcooked so it was dry.  The pastry cups of fruit salad (dressed in sweetened mayonnaise) were okay, but not necessarily an improvement on the classic prawn chips.

For dessert, the ubiquitous red bean soup

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This was okay.  Not too sweet, and no noticeable dried orange peel (again, this is a good thing in my books).

The dinner service was pretty good.  Very attentive and quick to replace dirty plates.

Overall, the dim sum fare was better than the dinner dishes (at least for the items we ordered).  And it’s quite pricey relative to many other restaurants.

Judging by the photos in the waiting area, Chef Tony’s specialty is abalone.  We didn’t try that, perhaps that’s the ultimate test for this restaurant.

We attended a dinner function hosted by the chinese benevolent society (for which our family has memberships).  This was at the Floata Seafood Restaurant in Chinatown.

This was a set menu, that started with the cold appetizer plate.

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This consisted of marinated sliced jellyfish, barbecued duck, soy sauce chicken, chinese barbecued pork, sliced pork hock.  Not bad.  The barbecued pork tasted a bit funny, like the marinade was a bit too acidic.  The jellyfish was a little flat, it could use more sesame oil.

This was followed by deep-fried pork with mayonnaise and candied walnuts

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This was morsels of marinated pork, dredged in seasoned flour and starch, and deep-fried, tossed with honey and topped with mayonnaise.  It was served with a side of candied walnuts.  This plate arrived a little cold (room temperature), and the pork was not particularly crispy on the outside.  The candied walnuts were very good though (nice and crunchy and slightly sweet).  I think the problem here had to do with the delays in the food service caused by the speeches from the society.

Next came stir fried chicken and prawns with vegetables

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This was chicken and prawns, stir fried with dice celery, green peppers and snow peas.  This was not particularly good.  The vegetables were fine, the chicken was a bit bland and tasteless.

Next came soup

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This was sliced dried (reconstituted shiitake mushrooms, shredded chicken, bean thread noodles and bean sprouts in a thicken chicken broth.  The soup was okay.  Decent flavor, good seasoning.  At least it was hot.

This was followed with stewed oysters and black-moss over iceberg lettuce

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This is fresh oysters stewed with thin slices of duck, served over blanched iceberg lettuce, topped with stewed black-hair-moss and a thick brown sauce. The oysters were overcooked and a little grainy.  This dish was probably the weakest one of the night (especially since I’m not a fan of the moss).

Next came deep-fried taro with duck

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This is a de-boned roast duck, layered between mashed taro root, deep-fried to a golden crisp, chopped and served over shredded lettuce.  It was served with a savory brown sauce on the side. I haven’t seen this dish served in many years.  The last time I saw this, was probably back in the 1980s.  It was okay.  The taro was a bit on the thick side, offsetting the ratio of the duck to the starch.

The next dish was sweet and sour deep fried rock cod.

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I was a little slow at photographing this dish, the server immediately started slicing and portioning the fish as soon as it was set the table.  The fish was a little overcooked, but this is not uncommon with rod cod, it’s an unforgiving fish that is easy to overcook. It tasted okay.  The seasoning on the deep fried cod was fine.  The sweet and sour sauce was balanced.

This was followed by crispy skin chicken

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This is marinated whole chicken that is air-dried and fried with cascading hot oil until the skin is crispy.  It’s chopped and served with prawn crackers.

Given the trend of overcooked food, I was getting worried, but the chicken was just fine.  There was lots of flavor, good seasoning, and cooked just right.

Coming close to the end of the meal, we were served fried rice

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As near as I can tell, this is a yang chow fried rice with the addition of shredded lettuce.   It was okay, but a little under-seasoned, and lacking in “wok-hei”.

Braised yi mein with dried mushrooms and garlic chives

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This is egg-wheat noodles with a spongy slightly chewy texture, quickly stir fried with sliced reconstituted shitaki mushrooms and garlic chives, and braised with sesame oil and chicken stock.  This was quite good.  Excellent texture, proper seasoning and good flavor from the sesame oil and chicken stock.

And wrap things up, dessert arrived in the form of almond cookies and sesame balls

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The cookies were quite good.  Warm and crisp, with light sweetness and a hint of almond flavor.

There was also a serving of red bean soup as well, but I had run out of power in my camera at this point.

The room at Floata is cavernous.  It’s probably the largest dining space in the city, capable of hosting events for up to a thousand diners.  The room is in need of a refresh.  There’s alot of wear and tear on the walls, carpet and chairs.

Disclosure:  We did not pay for this meal.  This meal was complements of the chinese benevolent society.

The service was about as good as can be expected from most chinese restaurants.  Efficient.  The service was complicated by the benevolent society, their speeches and attempts to entertain disrupted the dinner service on multiple occasions, leaving long interruptions between dishes during the meal service.

Floata Seafood Restaurant 富大海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

The family went for dinner at the Victory Seafood Restaurant on the second floor of the Crystal Mall in Burnaby.

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We ordered a set menu, which started with the cold appetizer plate

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This is sliced pork hock, sliced beef shank, marinated jellyfish, and mushroom stuffed bean curd sheets.  There was a drizzle of sweet chili sauce (or something similar) over pork hock and beef shank. This dish was okay, but otherwise unremarkable.

This was followed by fish maw soup

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This is egg white swirl, fish maw (swimming bladder) in a thick chicken stock, with a healthy dose of white pepper. This was pretty good.  Nice flavor, decent seasoning.

Next was white chicken with crispy fried taro sticks

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This is free ranged chicken, gently poached in water and oil (served at room temperature), chopped and served with thin crispy fried taro root sticks and garnished with cilantro.  The chicken had good flavor.

The next dish was steamed alaska king crab

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I hadn’t eaten king crab in many years and that was not a good experience.  It was fishy and spongy and unenjoyable, so I wasn’t begging to try it again.  Turns out, that was a bad example of king crab, because this one was fabulous.  The flesh of the crab was slightly sweet and tender. It was topped with a generous amount of sautéed garlic and scallions. Arguably too much, it was perhaps overpowering.  But the crab was fantastic.

Then came stir fried pork with mushrooms

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This is stir fried pork with celery, snow peas, carrots, scallions and mushrooms.  This was pretty good, with a nice sesame oil flavor, but the pork’s was a little bland.  I’m guessing it was tenderized with baking soda or some similar agent.

We weren’t done with the crab, nope.  A second dish of deep-fried alaska king crab knuckles came next.

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This is the joints of the alaska king crab dusted in seasoned starch and deep-fried, topped with scallions and chili peppers.  This was pretty good.

The next item was stir fried wagyu beef and yuchoi

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I’ve never had wagyu beef before, but my understanding is that it’s supposed to be incredibly buttery and rich (when raw it looks almost white from all the marbling).  This was fairly tender and flavorful beef, but not particularly buttery. It might be wagyu, but that’s not to say its a prime cut like tenderloin… it could very well be wagyu chuck steak.

The last dish was fried rice, served in the crab shell.

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This is fried rice topped with cheese sauce and hint of curry, and baked in the crab shell.  This was okay, but it seemed to be missing something.  It seemed to lack that “wok-hei” aroma, for one.  And personally, I find cheese in any chinese dish just… wrong.

The dessert offered was red bean soup

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This was okay.  It was mildly sweet, with just a mild hint of dried orange peel (which is good, because I’m not a fan of dried orange peel, so the less the better).

The main dining room is pretty expansive and crowded, but we were seated in a small side room because there was a large function occupying the main room.

The service was a little spotty (even by chinese restaurant standards), but this is probably attributable to that large event consuming the staffing resources of the restaurant.

Victory Seafood Restaurant 凱旋大酒樓 on Urbanspoon

Decided to grab lunch in Kerrisdale, looking for something simple and inexpensive, we stopped in at Sushi Hachi.

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This is a small place (seats 30-40) that serves the typical menu of sushi, teriyaki, sashimi, donburi, yakisoba, etc.

There’s a “Sushi Hachi” in Richmond as well, but I don’t think the restaurants are related.  The two restos are of such divergent quality.

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I ordered one of the lunch combos, which starts with a bowl of miso soup

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This is a savory dashi broth, enhanced with white miso, cubes of soft tofu, and a few sheets of seaweed.   Not bad, but indistinguishable from the miso soup in just about any japanese restaurant in town.

We shared a goma-ae appetizer.

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This is cold blanched spinach, covered with a sweet sesame miso sauce. This was pretty good.

My lunch companion had the assorted tempura

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This is slices of vegetables (and prawns) dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried to a light crisp, served with a tempura dipping sauce.

These have to be some of the most gargantuan tempura I’ve ever seen.  They were quite crispy, and slightly oily.  There was quite a bit of residual oil left on the paper that lined the serving basket.

I had the chicken teriyaki

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This is a mound of quickly stir fried bean sprouts, shredded carrots, cabbage, topped with a fried chicken cutlet, sliced and drizzled with thick sweet teriyaki sauce.

This was okay, the chicken was just a little overcooked.  The sauce was salty sweet but a little on the thick side.  The vegetables were nicely done, seasoned right, but still al dente.

My lunch companion had the BC roll

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This is grilled salmon skin with cucumber threads and lettuce, in a inside-out-roll, and lightly drizzled with a thin teriyaki sauce and garnished with sesame seeds

And I had the spicy tuna roll

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This is fresh tuna with cucumber threads and a spicy mayo in an inside-out roll, garnished with sesame seeds.  This was just okay.  The sushi rice was done right (not grainy, nor mushy), and the spicy tuna was decent enough.

This place is nothing fancy.  It’s inexpensive simple japanese cuisine.

Sushi Hachi on Urbanspoon

While visiting the Point Grey branch of the Vancouver Public Library, I happened upon a small family run Korean restaurant on the adjacent side street.  The place looked to be popular with Koreans (noteworthy given the lack of other korean merchants in the area).  But not being hungry at the time, I had to delay the return until a subsequent visit.

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This is family operation, originally located in Kerrisdale, but relocated to Point Grey in 2013.  It appears that they don’t take reservations.

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Tweegim Mandu (dumplings).

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These are pan-fried pork and vegetable dumplings. The pork flavor was subtle/subdued.  The wrapper on the dumplings were thin, but a little on the firm (almost dry) side.  Tasted okay.

Following after the dumplings, was Soondooboo-Jigae

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This is a spicy soft tofu stew, with seafood, vegetables, and egg.  It came with a side of white rice and a quartet of side dishes.

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This soup/stew has a delicious broth, full of seafood flavors, including prawns and squid, soft tofu, and lots of vegetables including bok choy, scallions, and broccoli florets.  It’s topped with a raw egg that gently cooks in the ambient heat of the soup.  Once the egg is broken and swirled into the soup, it provides richness.  Although the menu describes it a “spicy” soft tofu stew, I did not find it spicy at all.  That said, I really liked this soup.

The sides included marinated black beans, kimchi, marinated potatoes and thinly sliced fish cakes.

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I’m generally not a big fan of these side dishes, but there were better than most.  I liked the marinated fish cakes and the kimchi.

And of course, we can’t go to a korean restaurant without ordering Galbi.

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This is marinated grilled short rib, sliced across the bone, with grilled vegetables.  The short ribs had some nice flavor from its marinade, and the vegetables were nicely cooked, seasoned and flavored.  These short ribs were a little chewier (?) than other examples of galbi that we’ve had elsewhere.  Chewy might not be the best word; less tender than others would be more appropriate.

The room is very modern, clean and new (this location is less than a year old).

The server was fairly helpful.

We wanted to order the spicy rice cake with potato noodle & fish cake dish, but it was not available.

The Kitchen on Urbanspoon

I impulsed and bought a groupon type deal for a new southeast asian place in Kitsilano called Spoon Kitchen.  It’s pretty easy to miss if you drive by, it’s partially underground, located under the TD bank on Fourth Ave (near Cypress Street).

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Upon arrival, we were asked if we had reservations (we didn’t) but there was plenty of room and we were seated immediately at a table near the bar.  The interior is very sleek and modern with lots of black and soft lighting.  Without looking at the menu, there’s not much that hints at the cuisine.

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While the menu does offer fare that spans southeast asian, the emphasis appears to be Malaysian/Singaporean fare.

We started with the appetizer sampler, which came out in two parts.

The first part was a papaya salad

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This is slices of fresh pineapple, ripe papaya, tomatoes, and torn greens, served with a lime dressing, topped with crushed roasted peanuts, fried shallots and grated coconut.  This is a decidedly fusion dish, and it’s good.  The fruits and vegetables were fresh and crisp,  the dressing was tart, there was some sweetness from the pineapple and papaya, and some savoriness from the fried shallots.

The second part of appetizer sampler was a platter consisting of

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roti canai with coconut curry dipping sauce

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breaded deep-fried squid with a sweet chili dipping sauce

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vegetable spring rolls

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chicken satay with a peanut sauce

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The roti was pretty good, a little crisper and a little less soft and flakey than other Malaysian places. The coconut curry dipping sauce was very good, a nice balance between the sweet rich coconut and the spicy earthiness of the curry spices.

The deep-fried squid was pretty good.  Nice crispness in the batter, and the squid very tender (tenderized?).  The accompanying chili dipping sauce was pretty powerful.  Not so much in terms of spicyness, but the sweet/sour balance was tipped in favor of sour.

The spring rolls were good.  Nice crispiness.  The fillings of matchstick onions, carrots, celery and snow peas were done just right.

I loved the chicken satay.  They were marinated in coconut milk and spices, and grilled to the right doneness (cooked through, without being overcooked and dry).  The peanut dipping sauce was fabulous.  The peanut flavors and the red curry and coconut milk balanced each other out.

We also ordered carmelized ginger black cod

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This is a large fish steak of black cod, dredged in seasoned starch (probably tapioca starch), and deep fried to a light crispy brown, topped with a thick sweet rich sauce of black soy, rice wine, ginger, shallots and garlic served over a garnish of green lettuce.  This is a wonderful dish.  The fish is flaky and delicate, with some nice crispyness around the edges. The sauce is both salty and sweet, with an aroma from the garlic, ginger, onions and shallots.

We followed up with the deep-fried banana with ice cream for dessert.

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This is a ripe banana, split in half, battered and deep-fried to a light golden brown, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and topped with a thin caramel sauce and crushed roasted peanuts.

The servers were quite pleasant and attentive (more so that most asian restaurants).

The room is very clean and comfortable, and a little on the dimly lit side.

Spoon Kitchen on Urbanspoon

 

Addendum:

I returned to Spoon Kitchen for lunch.  This time, ordering the Mee Goreng.

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This is soft yellow egg noodles, stir-fried with prawns, beef, tofu, bean sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage and (what appeared to be) asparagus.  It’s well seasoned with sweet thick soy and something that hinted of shrimp (not sure if it’s shrimp paste, or shrimp stock), almost too much so…. it’s a little overpowering.  But still a good dish.

 

Went for an early dinner at Peaceful Restaurant on East 5th Avenue (one of three locations for the local chain, the others being West Broadway, and West Fourth Avenue).  It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, in a light industrial area.

We arrived and were seated immediately at a small table along the edge.  It’s a modest sized space (probably seats 30-40), with rather warm colors (lots of wood)

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They’re best known for their house made noodles and their beef rolls, but since I had noodles earlier in the day, I was not inclined to have more.

My dinner companion picked the “chinese ratatouille” (I’m sure that’s an odd translation, but that’s what it was called on the menu).

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This is cubed eggplant, green peppers and potatoes, stir fried with garlic and oyster sauce.  The vegetables are nicely done, the eggplant is tender, and the green peppers still had some firm snap to them, providing some nice textural contrast.  The garlic and oyster sauce provided some nice salty aromatic flavor.  I’m not sure if I like the use of the potatoes in this dish though.  It’s not bad, it just doesn’t seem to add anything to the dish though.

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This was prawns, squid, and basa fillets, stir-fried with snow peas, and carrots.  This was nicely done.  Lots of flavor, good seasoning, not overcooked (always a major concern with seafood).

The servers were prompt and efficient.

The room was spacious, well-lit and clean (cleanliness is not a given with many chinese restaurants).

Peaceful Restaurant 和平飯店 (Main) on Urbanspoon

Stopped for lunch in the First Avenue Marketplace (at East 1st and Renfrew Street) in east Vancouver, stopping in at the Venice Garden Seafood Restaurant.

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This is a larger establishment (probably seats 120-150) which serves a wide range of chinese cuisine, from simple congee and noodles, to fancier banquet style seafood dishes.

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We went with the fish and preserved egg congee

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This is a classic simple chicken broth, simmered with a small amount of rice which thickens the porridge (and provides the lumpiness), it was accented with pieces of white fish and slices of preserved egg, and garnished with fried peanuts and scallions.  It was accompanied by the prerequisite chinese donut

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The congee was quite thick and lumpy, which I don’t mind, and it had decent flavor.  The chinese donuts were pretty good, crisp on the outside, but spongy and bready on the inside.

Ordinarily, we would imagine having crab for lunch, but then had a special, and plenty of other people in the restaurant seemed to be having it so we gave it a try.

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This was a medium-sized Dungeness crab, segmented and stir-fried with onions, ginger and scallions and served with a thick chicken based sauce.  This was pretty good, the crab was cooked to about the right doneness, with lots of aroma from the ginger and onions.  I’ve had better (and worse) crab around town, but none at the price offered here ($10 for a whole crab).

We also ordered some of the Singapore style noodles

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This is thread rice noodles, stir-fried with onions, green peppers, prawns, barbecued pork, and egg, accented with curry flavors (and in spite of its name, isn’t really served in Singapore).  This was pretty, there was some decent flavor and proper seasoning, but it was a tad on the dry side for me liking.

The servers were efficient, but not especially attentive or friendly (which is par-for-the-course for most chinese restaurants around town).

The fare here was decent and a good value.

Venice Garden Seafood Restaurant 海皇美食 on Urbanspoon

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