So far so good with our ChineseBites dinners. I guess it is a given considering the restaurants we have visited. I mean, it wouldn't make sense to eat at crappy places anyways especially since ChineseBites is trying to promote the best in town. The latest eating destination was Golden Ocean in Kerrisdale. Formerly Miramar in the 80's and early 90's, this is one of the few good Chinese restaurants on the Westside. Being affiliated with Golden Swan, we were expecting the same quality of food. I've been there for Dim Sum a few years ago and it was a decent experience. Having never tried their dinner service, I was eager to do so. Joining myself was the usual crew of Rick, Janice, Alvin, Grace, Diana, and newbies, Sean and Amy.
For some odd reason, the restaurant felt the need to serve us some of their Dim Sum items to start the meal. I get that they wanted us to get a complete feel for their food, but serving Dim Sum items during non-Dim Sum hours would usually result in a less-than-ideal product. Hence, I'm going to leave that portion out of my write-up since I've already blogged about it before. So I'll go straight into the dinner items starting with the Crab with Special House Sauce. Underneath lay a bed of noodles which helped soak up the thick sauce. And about that sauce, it was a nice blend of tart, spicy, salty and sweet with big hits of garlic. The crab itself was fried just right with the meat being springy. Up next was the Steamed Tofu & Egg White with Diced Seafood & Meat. This was essentially a Pyrex plate with a layer of steamed tofu and egg white topped with wok-fried and starch-thickened ingredients (which consisted of chicken, straw mushrooms, scallops and shrimp). The tofu and egg was silky and not watery while the flavours were mild with some hits of ginger.
Moving along, we had the Stir Fried Beef with Steamed Buns. The slices of beef were very tender and probably could've used a bit less baking soda. This was a mild tasting dish with only small hits of the onion, ginger and peppers seen in the picture. I liked the steamed buns as they were moist and soft. The next dish was a bit confusing for some of us. It was the Honey Garlic Spareribs with Fried Shrimp Balls. How these 2 very different things go together in one dish is beyond me. However, if we overlook the strange pairing, the individual components were good. The spareribs were crispy, meat and tender with the sweetness of honey. It could've used a touch more garlic. As for the shrimp balls, they were juicy and bouncy inside while crispy outside.
On the topic of crispy, the Deep Fried Sole Fillet was fried a bit too much for my liking. I realize that the whole point of the dish is about texture since sole is not that meaty. Hence, the crunchiness was intended. However, it was pretty dry and salty. Moving away from fried food, we had the Dried Garlic & Enoki Mushrooms with Pea Tips. Janice was so excited to see veggies, she began eating before we took photos! The horror! Anyways, the pea tips still had a bite while being tender. Due to the amount of liquid, the flavours were pretty mild despite the abundance of garlic cloves. Our last savoury dish was the Deep Fried Duck wrapped in taro. The duck itself was quite fatty with only a modest amount of meat. It was tender though. I found the taro to be dense and a touch dry, yet very crispy on the outside. The accompanying shiitake mushroom sauce somewhat alleviated the dry taro issue.
For dessert, we were offered 3 different items starting with the Deep Fried Green Tea Glutinous Rice Balls with Black Sesame. We couldn't figure out what gave the balls their green tinge, so in essence, we really couldn't taste the green tea. However, the glutinous rice was fried up crispy and I liked how it wasn't overly thick. The sesame filling was a interesting contrast of colour to the green and made for a great "Instagram" picture. The last 2 desserts were the Tofu Pudding and Baked Tapioca Pudding. Unfortunately, these were not that great, especially the tofu pudding. When we opened up the bamboo container, the tofu appeared to be lacking moisture. One scoop and yah, it was pretty dry. As for the tapioca pudding, it was a touch dry as well. It was not very sweet either. Yah, not the way I'm sure they wanted us to end the meal off. Despite this, the rest of the food was good and considering there are not a whole lot of Chinese restaurants on the Westside, Golden Ocean remains a solid choice.
*Note: This was an invited dinner where all food was comped*