Sherman's Food Adventures

Singapore Hawker

For all the different cuisines that I indulge in, there is one that I never get to enough (of course this is based on availability as well).  Singaporean cuisine should be represented much more than it is within the GVRD, but here we are with only a few here and there.  Now we all know that there are many Singaporean dishes available in Chinese restaurants, but that is not quite the same.  So to get my fix, I finally visited Singapore Hawker out in Coquitlam.  This counter-service spot is constantly bustling with dine-in guests as well as plenty of takeout.

I gathered up the fam including the grandparents to check the place out sans my son (as he is now too cool to eat with us...).   We started off with the classic Roti Canai accompanied by the usual curry dip.  This was a pretty solid version with flaky flatbread with discernible layers.  It was a bit crispy while chewy on the inside.  It fairly light, so it wasn't too heavy nor dense.  The dip on the side was flavourful and adequately spicy.

Since my daughter loves Satay, we got the mix of beef and chicken that totaled 6 pieces. As you can see, they were not scrawny with plenty of meat on each stick.  I thought they were charred enough for caramelization and some smokiness.  The chicken was a touch dry, but not overly so.  I actually preferred the beef as it was still juicy and plenty tender.  Loved that they didn't skimp on the peanut satay sauce.

A stealthily tasty item was the Nyonya Sambal Egg featuring a deep-fried hard-boiled egg topped with a generous amount of sambal.  As you can see, the egg was perfectly cooked where it was didn't sport a dark ring.  The outside of the egg was lightly chewy while giving way to tender egg white and crumbly yolk.  The best part was the sweet, salty, plenty briny and slightly spice sambal.  We used the excess to eat with everything else.

One of our favourite dishes was the Hainanese Chicken with chicken oil rice.  Boneless and ample in portion size, the dark meat chicken was super succulent and tender.  The skin was not flabby while the meat was flavourful on its own.  Although the chicken rice was decently flavourful, it could've used a bit more oil.  Furthermore, the rice itself could've been chewier.  Beyond that, this was still delicious and reasonably priced at $12.95.

Another rice dish was the Kari Lembu (Malaysian Curry Brisket) served with steamed white rice. I make this at home quite often, but minus the considerable oil slick.  I realize that the flavour is all in the oil, but maybe a little less would've been nice.  Ate quite greasy.  Now the brisket itself was on the leaner side, yet most pieces were still tender.  The curry itself was mildly spicy with plenty of aromatics.

For our veggies, we decided on the Sambal Green Beans.  We chose mild because not everyone wanted spicy.  Even with that, there was a flavourful amount of spice.  Interestingly, even though we could see the sambal (as well as the dried shrimp within it), the dish was not as impactful as we would've hoped.  Despite that, the beans were perfectly crunchy while cooked all-the-way-through.  There was still good aromatics to the dish though.

For our noodle dishes, we had to get the Char Kuay Teow and it was a generally a good decision.  I would've liked to see more whole pieces of flat rice noodle (many were broken), but the dish was quite good.  As you can see, the caramelization from the wok fry was appealing.  Beyond the colour, the dish had a light smokiness balanced off by equal amounts of sweetness and savouriness.  Mixed into the noodles was shrimp, squid and fish cake.

The other noodle dish was the Singapore Laksa with tofu puffs, prawns, egg, fish cakes and fish balls.  I asked for this to be medium and it did have a flavourful kick.  I would've liked it to be even more briny, but it wasn't bland by any means where the coconut broth was rich and aromatic.  There was plenty of vermicelli noodles as well as sprouts and the other listed ingredients.  Good value at $12.95.  In fact, most items were $12.95 while be well-portioned.  Such a great value especially with increasing prices at most restaurants.  I'll definitely be back.

The Good:
- Solid eats
- Inexpensive
- Efficient staff

The Bad:
- Tight seating
- Parking in the area can be hard to find  

The Keg (Burnaby)

I'm sure some of you are wondering why I'm posting on The Keg of all places.  Well I've said it many times over - I don't mind dining at chain restaurants (and apparently the Edmonton Oilers management team too).  I'm certainly no food snob and really, not all of my meals are necessarily a hole-in-the-wall or fine dining.  Sometimes, we just have to hit up the ol' standbys and be content.  This was partly not my decision anyways as my son wanted steak and sorry, we aren't going to Elisa (although I love the place).  So we headed over to our local Keg instead.

Now everyone knows that their Sourdough Bread is pretty good and also the 3-cheese butter that goes with it.  Normally, that butter is a "secret", but apparently, they are serving that by default now (so you don't actually have to ask for it anymore).  Served warm, the bread was soft and lightly chewy inside with a slightly crunchy exterior.  With the melted butter and cheese, we had to be careful not to eat too much of it, so we had enough appetite for dinner.

We started with some appies first including the Spinach & Crab Dip served with tortilla chips.  Don't let the seemingly small amount of dip fool you.  It was actually more than enough for the chips on the plate.  It was cheesy and creamy with enough crab that we noticed it.  Chips were not overly thick and crunchy.  Not the best crab dip I've ever had (that would be the one at the shuttered Coquille), but it was still good.

Next, we went with the classic Tuna Tartare with seasoned ahi tuna and fresh avocado.  Strangely, I always order this but every time I find it underseasoned.  I mean it isn't necessarily a bad thing as I can taste the natural flavours of the fresh tuna, but just a bit more oomph would go a long way with this.  The light and airy crisps were the perfect vessel for the delicate tuna and avocado.

We also had the Scallops and Bacon because my son absolutely loves both scallops and bacon.  Perfect dish right?  Well, this was prepared quite well with slightly crisped up bacon (mostly the edges) and plump buttery scallops wrapped within.  This would've been flawless if the bacon was a bit less fatty, yet that is really hard to control and I'm not pinning it on the restaurant.  Served on the side was some cocktail sauce.

For myself, I had the Iceberg Wedge Salad with tomato, crispy smoked bacon and blue cheese dressing.  As you can clearly see, they didn't hold back with the blue cheese as there was a big chunk on top.  Hence, this made for a very sharp-tasting experience.  If you like blue cheese, this would be more than satisfying.  The iceberg was fresh and crisp while the bacon was crunchy and smoky.

Onto the mains, I went for one of my favs - the 12oz Baseball Top Sirloin prepared medium-rare.  Since the steak is so thick, it can only be ordered medium-rare or rarer.  I found this to be perfect because it was between rare and medium-rare, which is my preference.  Hence, it was juicy and mostly tender.  Being top sirloin, it had a bit more chew.  The nicely charred steak was seasoned properly as well.  I have never been a fan of Keg fries and this didn't change my mind.  I would prefer them to be thicker and much crunchier (these were soggy).

Both Viv & my mom ended up with the 10oz Prime Rib with baked potato, horseradish, au jus and fried onions.  Personally, I would've ordered the 18oz size because I like it thick cut, but they don't have the appetite that I have!  Even though it was fairly thin, the meat was still juicy (despite what the picture shows) and tender.  It was dry-brined enough that the flavours penetrated the meat.  Baked potato was soft and tender with all the fixins'.

My son had his favourite cut being the 12oz Peppercorn New York Striploin with twice-baked potato.  Usually, he just gets the regular striploin, but for some reason, he went peppercorn this time.  Good choice because this meant more flavour with a smoky pepperiness.  The steak itself was thick and prepared perfectly medium-rare.  On the side was the classic twice-baked potato which was crispy on the top and soft in the middle with plenty of bacon bits.

My dad didn't have any red meat and went for his usual fish dish being the Salmon Neptune.  This was actually quite good as the fish was flaky and moist.  We found cream cheese, crab and green onion topping rather rich, but it helped seal the moisture in the salmon as well as providing a firm "sauce" of sorts.  It was served with asparagus and extra veggies in lieu of mashed potatoes.  They were vibrant and barely cooked through.

For dessert, there was no doubt as to what we were ordering for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the Billy Miner Pie is "the" dessert to have at The Keg.  Secondly, it is complimentary to the birthday person (it was my son's bday).  So here it is, the full Keg experience.  No, it really isn't that fancy, but it is fancy enough that we were happy with the food, price point, ambiance and service.  Not bad for a chain restaurant and since it was packed, other people must have the same opinion too.

The Good:
- Well prepared steaks
- Okay pricing with all things considered
- That sourdough with 3-cheese butter

The Bad:
- Pricing is reasonable, but you will still spend some $$$ there

Breakfast Table

On my search for interesting brunch spots in Vancouver, it has brought me to the Breakfast Table located in South Granville. On a side note, I've always wondered why the area is called South Granville.  I guess it is because it is South of False Creek/Downtown.  But it gets a bit confusing to people who are unfamiliar because it would make sense that South Granville would be located near Marine Drive.  I digress.  So the Breakfast Table has some pretty high ratings across the board including Google, Yelp and Facebook.  With that in mind, our expectations were somewhat high.

There were many things on the menu that caught our eye, but for me, I had to get the Brome Lake Duck Confit atop shiitake XO fried rice with 2 poached eggs and seasonal vegetables.  I enjoyed the duck as it was moist, tender and well-seasoned.  The skin was nicely rendered and prepared crispy.  Underneath, I found the rice to be chewy and perfectly textured.  However, other than the umaminess of the shiitake XO, there was little else to flavour the rice.  This could've used more salt or soy to create impact.  Eggs were perfectly runny while the vegetables were not overdone.

Another interesting item was the Beef Bulgogi Hash featuring kimchi, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, potatoes and Sweet Ass Chili Sauce.  Unfortunately, the hash was far too wet where there was considerable moisture on the bottom of the bowl.  This was probably from the spinach and mushrooms.  As a result, the potatoes were soft and squishy.  This also served to water down the flavours.  On the positive side, the eggs were nicely runny while the beef was tender and full of flavour from the chili sauce.  It had slight spice while nicely sweet.

At first, we thought the potatoes were soft because of the moisture, but they were just as squishy in the Spicy Black Tiger Prawn Benedict.  As for the benedict itself, the poached eggs were once again, appealingly runny.  The English muffins were toasted well and that was a good thing because the saucy prawns and onions on top really softened them up.  Again, the same chili sauce was employed here although it was delicious, the amount of onions (and subsequent moisture) lessened the impact.  Prawns were big and perfectly prepared being meaty with a sweet aromatic snap.  As for the Hollandaise, it had a silky viscosity and was mild-tasting.

Lastly, we tried a mini version of their Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Waffle.  This was really good and I didn't miss the gluten one bit!  Due to the combination of organic ground millet, brown rice and coconut milk, this was aromatic and of course coconutty.  It was not overly dense and had a nice texture.  This coconut whipped cream added even more coconut flavour and maple syrup was served on the side.  Overall, we thought the food was decent, yet a bit underseasoned in spots (some parts of the dishes were flavourful, when the other parts were not).  There is definitely potential here.

The Good:
- Interesting menu
- Proteins were done right
- Well-portioned

The Bad:
- Good flavours with some things and others were under-seasoned
- Potatoes were squishy (told we could've asked for them to be crispier though)


Wong Ga Ma

Boy, haven't been back to Wong Ga Ma in 8 years!  Even though I really enjoyed that visit, I never returned until now...  Call it the curse of "too many good restaurants to visit" phenomenon.  I guess it is also with regret I ate at some places that were mediocre during that time.  Maybe I do need to dine at some of my favourites more often.  Then I know my money is going towards something guaranteed to be tasty.  I have done that with Mauna Sushi lately, so maybe it is a start of a trend...

Anyways, the menu at Wong Ga Ma is pretty standard with all the usual things like tofu soup, noodles, rice dishes and grilled meats.  However, one has to order at least one soup because they are good!  As such we started with the Bbeodagi-Gamjatang that sported 3 large and meaty pork bones.  This thing was served boiling hot (like it should be) and topped with perilla seeds.  The soup was fantastic being meaty and full of depth with a background spiciness.  Loved the pork bones as the meat melted in my mouth.  It was served with a hot stone bowl of rice that eventually sported a crunchy socarrat.  The trick is to soak it with the soup after you eat the rice.

We also got the Yuk Gae Jang with shredded beef, green onion, bracken, bean sprouts and potato starch noodle.  This was noticeably spicier and due to the use of beef, featured a completely different flavour profile than the gamjatang.  It was not porky and had an almost meatier and robust taste.  As for the beef, it was actually rather tender despite being a little bit dry.  Both the bracken and bean sprouts added a crunch texture to the whole thing while the noodles were slippery and soaked up the broth.  This was also served with a side of hot stone bowl rice.  Best to leave the rice in the stone bowl for a while without touching it to create that socarrat.

To get something noodley, we ordered the Spicy Cold Noodle Soup.  This was a bit clumpier than usual, but I was able to get it to loosen up after some aggressive noodle tossing with my chopsticks.  Texturally, the noodles were on point though being the usual chewiness with a tonne of rebound.  Great mouth feel and the ample amount of spicy sauce kept things sweet with some heat.  Completing the dish was pickled cukes and daikon, half boiled egg and sliced beef shank.

To add even more meat to the meal and to go with the rest of our rice, we got the Kalbi served on a hot cast iron plate.  As much as it arrived sizzling, the short ribs were not exactly caramelized.  Hence, the flavours were not very intense and there was a lack of smokiness.  The ribs themselves were meaty and fatty.  Naturally, some parts were more tender than others, but that is the way short ribs are.

We must not forget the Kimchi that is included with our meals.  It consisted of the usual napa cabbage kimchi as well as daikon radish.  These were pretty solid being packed with flavour and spice.  It was just tangy enough and the textures were appealing.  Loved the crunch of the daikon.  Overall, it was another solid meal at Wong Ga Ma.  Would've liked to see the ribs prepared a bit better, but the soups were the real treat.
The Good:
- Solid eats
- Must get soup!
- Good kimchi

The Bad:
- Not too sure about the ribs

Chakra Indian

I'm very lucky to work in North Delta, where it is close to some of the best Indian food that can be found in the Lower Mainland.  I've had my fair share of good meals along Scott Road where you can never run out of tasty Indian eats (mostly Punjabi cuisine).  Now the same cannot be said about the neighbourhood that I live in.  Ah yes, North Burnaby, not really the hotbed of anything really (maybe some Italian), I am hard-pressed to find good Indian food.  However, we decided to try our luck out at Chakra out on Hastings.  In fact, after my first visit with Milhouse, we were sufficiently satisfied that we brought out more people to sample more dishes.

On our initial visit, we just had to get the standard, being the Butter Chicken.  This was quite good with tender morsels of dark chicken meat.  I realize that tandoori white chicken meat is normally used in this dish, but I really enjoy the dark meat more personally.  The sauce was creamy and rich with just enough tang.  There was also enough sweetness which provided some balance.  We asked for medium spice and there was some background heat.

Trying to get some veggies (sorta), we got the Palak Paneer.  It arrived with a bevy of paneer hidden within the spinach-based curry.  The paneer was soft and squishy just like it should be.  As for the curry, it was creamy and thick with layers of flavour including ginger, garlic and some spice.  I really enjoyed this version from its bright appearance to the flavours and textures.

One dish that we had ordered with both visits was the Lamb Rogan Josh since it was both delicious and full of lamb.  Just look at the picture, you can see the big chunks of tender lamb.  Of course this made this quite hearty and more than enough to share.  Beyond that, the curry itself was a good combination of discernible spices including the nutmeg, slight hint of cinnamon, cumin and cloves.  Of course there are a multitude of spices used in this curry, but these were the most obvious.

Much like the first visit, we needed to add one dish that had veggies in it (trying to give the appearance of being healthier), so we decided on the classic Aloo Gobi.  This featured abnormally large chunks of potato and cauliflower.  As a result, the textures were spot on.  The cauliflower was still firm (although cooked all-the-way-through) while the potato retained its shape (yet it was soft).  There was plenty of spices and flavour including a noticeable hits of onion, ginger and garlic.

Trying to get a variety of proteins, we decided to delve into seafood with the Prawn Vindaloo.  The biggest reason for choosing this is that we got the lamb rogan josh instead of the vindaloo.  Hey, we really wanted the tanginess of the curry.  It was almost a nice interlude between the heavier dishes such as the butter chicken and aforementioned rogan josh.  This featured deshelled prawns that were perfectly prepared being juicy with a rebound texture.

Since we had already tried the butter chicken, we had something different in the Chicken Tikka Masala.  However, the difference between the two wasn't as much as I hoped it to be.  Normally, tikka masala is much more tomato forward than butter chicken.  Although this was the case, I would've preferred it to be stronger in tomato tang.  It was quite creamy, just like the butter chicken.  About the chicken, it was breast meat in this version and it was a bit too dry.

Staying on the same theme of sorts, we had the Shahi Paneer which had similar traits to butter chicken as well.  It was just as creamy and rich, yet with a less tangy slant.  It was a bit sweeter, but to be honest, we didn't notice that much of a difference between that and the butter chicken curry. However, it was a touch less smooth.  The same soft and squishy paneer was in abundance hidden within the curry.

To change things up, we got the Lamb Tikka served on a hot cast iron plate.  This was well-charred where it was nicely smoky.  The marinade did come through with some spice, ginger and garlic notes.  Most of the lamb was tender and almost juicy.  There was the usual gaminess that was muted to a degree by the marinade.  With a squeeze of the lemon, it added acidity and the mint chutney on the side provided brightness and cooling.

In addition to the curries, we had actually grabbed a couple of appies including the Fish Pakora and Vegetable Samosas.  I found the pakoras to have an appealing texture where the batter was crispy and light while the fish was flaky and moist.  I would've liked a bit more discernible spices in the batter, but it didn't make or break the dish.  As for the samosas, they sported a crispy exterior that gave way to a nicely spiced potato and vegetable filling.  Definitely could pick out some spices where there was also a nice kick at the end.  As per usual, it was served with a sweet and tangy tamarind chutney.

Of course we couldn't forget about the carbs including the excellent Garlic Naan.  There was no absence of diced garlic atop the crispy naan that featured a soft interior.  It feature a nice elasticity and the naan itself was delicious even before we used it to soak up the delicious curries.  Overall, the food at Chakra is pretty solid especially considering its location.  North Burnaby is not known for good Punjabi cuisine but Chakra provides that option.

The Good:
- Solid eats
- Nice people
- Reasonable pricing

The Bad:
- Super nice people, but service could be more attentive
- Not the nicest dining space, but it is clean

Marché Mon Pitou

I'm sure you've heard me complain about the lack of brunch spots in the Lower Mainland.  Well, let me clarify my statement.  It isn't as if there aren't any places to grab brunch.  In fact, there are plenty of choices.  However, there is a lack of interesting options in my opinion, especially the ones that are quaint as well as sporting an interesting menu.  Well, that criteria seems to have been filled by a little place called Marché Mon Pitou beside Wicked Cafe.

We checked it out one morning and were delighted that we could actually make a reservation (most brunch spots don't take resos).   Starting with the basics, Le Mon Pitou featured 2 free-range eggs, double-smoked bacon, breakfast sausage, roasted fingerling potatoes, salad and toasted sourdough.  As you can see, the thick cut bacon was crisp, yet meaty at the same time.  Sausage was nicely seared where it was meaty and juicy.  Eggs were done perfectly over-easy while the potatoes were soft and squishy.  Overall, a solid plate of breakfast items.

I was a bit indifferent with the Coquilles St. Jacques as it was not a very big portion and to top it off, I had to really hunt for the little bits of scallop.  To be fair, the other components were quite good though.  I found the mornay sauce to be creamy and rich with good cheesiness.  This went well with the perfectly toasted sourdough.  It was crunchy on the outside, yet air and chewy on the inside.

The showstopper was the classic Croque Madame.  Let's talk about portion size first.  This thing was absolutely massive and more than enough for one person.  Beyond that, it was also very good with the same sourdough with a creamy béchamel on top with plenty of gruyère and ham in the middle.  Eggs were perfectly runny and the whole thing was just plain delicious.  Thank goodness for the salad on the side as it helped level the heaviness.

We ended off sweet with the Liège Waffles accompanied by vanilla bean mascarpone and fresh strawberries.  These were legit with an appealing chewiness with pops of sugariness.  The whipped mascarpone was creamy and aromatic while lightly sweet.  This was a fantastic end to a delicious brunch.  If you are looking for a special place to visit with great food to match, don't look any further than Marché Mon Pitou.  I will be returning for sure.

The Good:
- Quaint
- Solid eats
- Mostly well-portioned (and prepared well too)

The Bad:

- Tight seating inside (they have outdoor seating too)
- A bit pricey (but worth it in my opinion)

Mott 32 (Dinner Service)

It took me quite a long time before I went for Dim Sum at Mott 32, for a variety of reasons.  Then the pandemic hit and Mott 32 stopped operating.  That is why it took me until now to have dinner there (in addition to it not being the most cost-efficient place to eat).  I met up with the foodie fam to celebrate my birthday and why not go big?  In actuality, my birthday was 6 months prior, but due to Omnicron, things were postponed.  For those unfamiliar, Mott 32 is a high-end Cantonese restaurant that first opened up in Hong Kong in 2014.  Now they have locations in Vegas as well as the one here in Vancouver.

One of the things to have here is actually not on the dinner menu at all.  I've had the Hot & Sour Iberico Pork Shanghainese Soup Dumplings at their Dim Sum service before and indeed they are worth ordering.  Much like everything here at Mott 32, they are pricey, yet they are delicious.  Boasting a beautiful reddish orange colour, the dumpling skin was thin and delicate.  There was a slight elasticity which held them together when picked up; good mouth feel too.  Inside, the pork filling was tender and had a nice rebound texture.  The best part was the soup as it was classic hot and sour with an appetizing tanginess complimented by just enough kick.  Delicious.

So the real reason we were here is due to the Applewood Roasted Peking Duck.  Much like the versions found at Quan Ju De and Chang'An, it is priced around the $100.00 mark.  Unlike the ones we are familiar with at typical Chinese restaurants in town, there is only one course included (other courses are extra).  That one course is actually split into 2 with one portion consisting of some skin-only pieces with a side of sugar.   These pieces were crispy and the sugar accented the aromatic fattiness of the crispy skin.

The bulk of the Peking Duck was hand-carved into slices of meat with the skin attached.  There was more than enough for the amount of steamed crepes provided.  All the usual condiments were provided including scallions, cucumber and a slurry of hoisin and sesame sauces.  If I had to compare, I thought this was good but lagged behind the versions I've had at Quan Ju De and Chang'an.  The skin on the meat-attached pieces were not as crispy as the aforementioned spots.  On the other hand, the meat was succulent and delicious.  Loved how they added a piece of parchment in between each crepe.  This meant nothing stuck together.  The crepes were moist and had good elasticity.

Originally, we wanted to order their famous BBQ pork, but it was sold out.  As an alternative, we had the Crispy Triple Cooked US Black Angus Short Rib.  This was really good where the meat was flawlessly prepared.  All the best things about short rib were present in this dish including the butteriness of the meat and all the strong natural flavours as well.  As much as the meat was succulent and tender, it still retained a meatiness which had a nice mouth-feel.  The exterior sported a nice bark which was both flavourful and had a beautiful contrasting texture.  I found the meat itself to be mildly seasoned, but the residual sauce did add a good balance of tang, sweetness, pepperiness and saltiness.

My favourite dish of the meal was the Signature Maine Lobster "Ma Po Tofu".  One wouldn't think lobster and ma po tofu would necessarily belong in the same sentence, but somehow, this worked.  Normally, ma po tofu employs ground pork, but in this case, it was buttery bouncy lobster meat.  Now this dish can be as spicy as one desires, but they nailed the heat level here so that the lobster could still stand out.  As for the tofu, it was silky and soft.  The skill of the chef ensured that each cube was still intact despite the cooking process.  I definitely got the spice and aroma from this dish without having my taste buds blasted with one note.

Here we are again, going for the classic Sweet & Sour Pork with aged black vinegar.  Now I said classic, yet there was nothing classic about this dish.  With the addition of aged black vinegar, there was much more depth to the dish.  Moreover, the tanginess was less sharp having a smoother finish.  There was enough of that sauce clinging onto each piece of pork which kept the dish from being too wet.  The pork itself was juicy and tender with a light crispy coating.  Interesting the the fresh pineapple was served raw on the dish.  I enjoyed it, yet would've preferred it cooked with the pork.

We needed to get some veggies into the meal and therefore, we ordered another table favourite - Braised Eggplant with minced pork & chili peppers.   This couldn't have been prepared any better.  Although some pieces were on the mushier side, the eggplant still had texture and most pieces were mostly discernible.  It was the flavours that really stood out.  There was such an intensity to the sweetness without being sugary and the dish was bordering on being salty without being salty.  That requires precision and skill which was on display in this dish.  In addition, the spice was on point giving the dish a bite without being overwhelming.  So much balance here.

Now we also ordered the 2nd course for the Peking Duck which was the Fried Duck Rice.  Somehow there was a mixup because we waited about 20 minutes from the last dish. We had to finally ask where our rice was.  Now for a restaurant of Mott32's class and especially at their price point, we expected a bit more made of the wait/lost order.  To be fair, the service was excellent up until that point.  So I have no complaints about that.   The rice itself was rather bland and in need of more seasoning.  However, the textures were all there.  It benefited from good wok hei where the rice was nutty and chewy where the grains were completely discernible.  Wished there was more duck in it though.

Not sure if the comped dessert was an apology of sorts for the rice (or because we were celebrating my birthday) as we were presented with the Steamed Sau Bao (aka Birthday Lotus Buns).  Very traditional dessert that features steamed white bun with a sweetened lotus paste filling.  The bun itself was fluffy and light while the filling was sweet and almost creamy.  It wasn't overly sweet though.  Overall, the meal was pleasant with a few outstanding dishes.  Considering the high cost of eating here, I'm not sure if it was necessarily worth it.  Service was pretty on point (except for the rice mixup) and the decor is modern. Yet, if I was spending that coin again, I'd go back to iDen & Quan Ju De instead.

The Good:
- Some standout dishes
- Attentive service
- Modern decor

The Bad:
- That rice thing was not acceptable in a restaurant like this
- For this price, there is better


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