Sherman's Food Adventures: New Starlet

New Starlet

Once upon a time, there was this Dragon Lady who ruled the Po King(dom).  Staff, customers, mice and even the crabs in the live tanks lived in fear of her wrath.  Yes, the food was decent and prices were fair, but all was not well in the land.  People were asked to guard each table so that they could awkwardly watch those who were still eating.  Ah yes, the wonderful and twisted land of Po King.  Alas, all dictatorships come to an end and a New Starlet has taken over.  That meant myself, Slick, Big D and a few others had to see for ourselves.

After an excruciatingly long 45 minute wait, we finally got a table.  Immediately, we noticed how there was no yelling, no awkwardness and most all, some form of sanity with the staff. As per usual, the first item to arrive was the dessert being the Egg Tarts. Obviously, they were already to go which meant they were not exactly that hot either.  Yet, the tart shell was flaky and buttery while the filling was mildly sweet with a nice consistency.  Next up was the Shrimp Spring Rolls.  The use of seaweed added a different flavour and texture.  The well-seasoned shrimp had a nice snap while the wrapper was crispy and only a bit greasy.  Again, these could've been hotter.

Onto the main event, the Haw Gow (Steamed Shrimp Dumplings) were quite large packed with well-seasoned shrimp.  Once again, they exhibited a nice snap (probably same filling as the spring roll), yet the dumpling skin was somewhat thick and chewy.  Arriving with 3 in the bamboo steamer, the Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves) were good.  The rice was sticky and chewy where it was accented by plenty of ingredients.  They included ground pork, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage and dried scallop.  The latter provided a wonderful aroma.  Although flavourful, the filling was a tad salty.

We weren't exactly thrilled with the Crystal Noodles with Spareribs as there was a serious lack of moisture.  Normally, there would be some residual sauce from the spareribs to both flavour and moisten the noodles.  In this case, it was left up to the pickled vegetable which provided a nice salty crunch, but little else.  The spareribs themselves were okay though, yet there was a baking soda aftertaste.  We did like the Sui Mai though, but there was one glaring issue. The big chunks of fat were not that appetizing despite the fact they provided flavour, texture and moisture.  Ignoring that, the non-processed pork was bouncy and flavourful.

Moving onto the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll, we found the addition of egg a little strange.  Sure, it provided a different texture, but we felt it interfered with the shrimp.  As for the shrimp, it lacked snap (possibly overcooked) and seasoning.  The rice noodle itself was soft with some elasticity.  With the same rice noodle, the Beef Rice Noodle Roll was very light.  The beef filling was soft and airy with a few chewy bits.  There was a general lack of seasoning, yet that was alleviated with the accompanying sweetened soy sauce.  We also had the Donut Rice Noodle Roll and it wasn't bad.  The rice noodle was consistent as it mirrored the other 2 dishes while the donut was crispy and not that heavy.

Continuing on with our incredible amount of food, we had the Stuffed Eggplant.  The eggplant was fried nicely where it was soft, but not mushy.  The shrimp mousse had a nice bounce texture and was properly seasoned.  There was one issue though as the black bean sauce was pale and flavourless.  Worst of all, it was too starchy and didn't actually adhere to the eggplant.  We tried out the Cured Meat Rice Hot Pot which included Chinese sausage, pork belly and duck.  Although the rice was chewy, there was no rice crust and it didn't exhibit any aromatics.  On the other hand, there was a generous amount of cured meats which added both flavour and fat.

Thankfully, we made it to the end (we had ordered doubles of 4 of our dishes) with the Beef Meatballs and Bean Curd Skin Roll.  We found the meatballs to be a little soft, however, there was still a bounce texture.  It was airy just like the rice noodle roll filling (same I assume).  The bean curd skin roll was very good as the loose filling consisted of shrimp, carrot, gai lan stalk and pork.  The fried bean curd skin was soft with a bit of chew.  Overall, we thought the food was okay with some hits and misses.  The newly renovated restaurant looks nice while the staff tries hard to please even with a packed house.  Looks like the regime change is for the better.

The Good:
- Fairly decent service
- Acceptable eats
- Nice decor

The Bad:
- Busy and a bit cramped
- A little pricey
- Not sure if the lineup was expedited accurately

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