The mad rush at Chinese restaurants, otherwise known as Chinese New Year, is an annual tradition for many families. This is where large tables of people pig out on too much food. Really, it is intentional. When there is too much food, it is an indication of good fortune. Normally, we do the New Year's Eve dinner; but it fell on a weekday and frankly we were all too tired to go out. We ate in instead. However, we did go out for the New Year's dinner instead. Trying to break away from the usual places, we decided to try out Grand Dynasty's dinner service. We had already done Dim Sum a few weeks back and came away impressed at the quality of food and service. On the other hand, all of that came at a cost. Well, I'll tell ya, dinner is equally expensive. No matter, if the quality is there, then the price is merely representative.
As expected, the place was packed. There were several set meals available; yet they did not seem all that attractive to us. In the end, we ordered a la carte dishes which actually ended up costing more than the set meals. One of the items we selected seemed to throw one of the managers for a loop. Apparently the Peking Duck might have been a bit ambitious for the kitchen on such a busy night. He checked with the kitchen and they were game. I must give them kudos for that since it came out perfectly. With a beautifully roasted appearance, the whole Peking duck was served table-side. As fatty as the skin can be on Peking duck, a lot of the fat was actually rendered and we liked how there was some meat attached. The accompanying crepes were a little different than what we were used to. Pan-fried until there was colour and topped with sesame seeds, they were slightly oily; but soft from start to finish.
Now the next item could possibly elicit some negative feelings from some - the Shark's Fin Soup. I'm fully aware of the ethical ramifications of this and honestly, I'm not using this blog to be political about it. And that is the extent I will talk about it. So as for the soup, the broth was light; yet had nice depth at the same time. It was just thick enough with a silky texture. There was a decent amount of shark's fin along with chicken and Yunnan(?) ham. After that, the second course of the Peking duck arrived. All the meat from the duck ended up in the Duck Lettuce Wrap. This dish exhibited good "wok hay" or high heat caramelization from wok-frying. Good colour, not wet and a slight smokiness while the veggies retaining their crunch, this was a textbook lettuce wrap. We particularly liked how the lettuce was neatly separated (while still intact) and in big pieces. Made for easy wrapping and eating.
We also ordered a large Live Crab prepared in cream sauce with some wonton noodles underneath. The crab was really good. It was meaty and fresh. Now since it was live, you'd expect it be such; however, not all crabs are created equal. There are such crabs that are so emancipated, there is more water than meat in the shell. As for the sauce, it was decent; yet was a bit bland. I will cut them some slack because we had asked them to omit the onions which would've probably added both flavour and another level of sweetness. We thought the noodles were disappointing because there was so little of it for the hefty price tag. Of course with all this, we needed a plate of veggies and opted for the Pea Shoots with Crabmeat. This was an expertly prepared dish. The shoots were high quality and cooked perfectly. I particularly liked that there was no pool of water at the bottom of the plate - a clear indication of high wok heat and possibly good drainage before plating. Whatever the case, it was an example of care put into the dish. Moreover, the crab sauce on top was silky, flavourful and full of meat.
For our last dish, we went for the Fook Chow Fried Rice. It is essentially a fried rice base with a starch-thicken sauce on top consisting of chicken, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, dried scallops and gai lan stems. This was a solid fried rice. Quite mild tasting actually. Probably could've used a touch more seasoning; but that is nitpicking. In terms of the entire meal, it was satisfying and well-executed. This was impressive considering how busy the place was. In fact, the food came out lightning fast. As with Dim Sum, the service was attentive and courteous. And again similarly with Dim Sum, the prices are definitely on the higher side. However, that is the price we have to pay for a "fine-dinning" Chinese restaurant which has solid food and great service.
- Good execution
- Excellent service
- Nice, if not tight, dining room
- Really tight dining room