After a relatively good meal at the new Dinesty on Robson, it inspired me to do a return visit to their original Richmond location. But I kept putting it off because I'd much rather visit a new restaurant. Yet I relented when Pebbles didn't want to eat Japanese for the second straight week after softball. So we headed back to the well with pretty much the same crew as our original visit in 2009. Naturally, I got cut off almost immediately after entering Richmond off the Oak Street Bridge which served as a part of the "Welcome to Richmond" festivities...
Due to our large party, we had to sit at 2 different tables. Dark Helmet felt hurt that I shunned him away in favour of sitting with Miss Y and Judes. Hey! They're more attractive... and eat less than him... Anyways, we started with the Stir-Fried Rice Cake as per Miss Y's suggestion. Interestingly, some pieces were soft and chewy while others were just plain hard. The pickled veggies provided crunch and a level of brightness to the dish while the shredded pork was chewy in parts. On the topic of shredded pork, we had the Shredded Pork with Hoisin Sauce (served with pancake wrappers). The dish was blessed with good wok heat offering up a rich colour and equally rich flavour being sweet and savoury. However, the pork was sliced too thick and it was a bit too chewy in spots. Hence, it was a bit difficult to eat as it fell out of the dry pancake each time.
Arriving fast and furious, we had the Cream of Corn with Chicken Soup. Huh? Yah really. Miss Y was at it again with her strange ordering ritual. Well, the soup turned out to be pretty good with a silk "thick-enough" starchy texture. There was a good amount of chicken, egg and corn so that it wasn't thin. However, I didn't know whether I wanted to eat the soup or pour it on top of some fried fish... Okay, next was the main reason why we were here in the first place - the Xiao Long Bao. Wait, isn't Dinesty technically a Taiwainese restaurant??? Well yes, but they do offer up good Shanghainese stuff as well. Now, I put myself out on a limb to declare these the best in town... so are they still? Honestly, I'm not sure anymore. The hallmark thin dumpling skin was still there, as well as the moist meat. However, the soup was a bit meager while the flavour was mostly sweet with little in the way of any other flavours.
As we were running out of space at the table, the Tea Smoked Duck arrived. Seeing how the one I had at the Robson location rocked, I wanted to see if it was equally good here. Relatively speaking, it was pretty much that. The duck was meaty and juicy while the skin was lightly crispy. I would say the one we had last time was crispier where the fat was more rendered. There was a light smokiness to the duck as well as a balanced amount of salt. The accompanying buns were fluffy and light (until they got cold). The winner of the worst dish of the meal award went to the Noodles with Home-Made Meat Sauce. The thick noodles were woefully overcooked where they lacked chewiness and were really sticky. The meat sauce had no impact (possibly with the aid of the soft noodles) where it was bordering on bland.
Now, as I was busy with the food at our table, I get a tap on the shoulder from Pebbles asking if I wanted to try their dishes. Would I?!? Duh. Served in a large glass bowl, the Ancient Boil Chili Fish did its best impression of the Szechuan Chili Fish Hot Pot. This was about 1/5 of the spice level of the true Szechuan dish with very few chilis and no Szechuan peppercorns. With that being said, it did taste good with some spice to go along with the moist fish. Okay, how about a Taiwanese dish at a Taiwanese restaurant? A novel idea eh? Sadly, the Simmer Chicken with Basil in 3 Spice Sauce (or better known as 3 Cup Chicken) was actually disappointing. Despite the rich hue and sizzling sounds from the hot pot, the flavours were one note (or one cup) being predominantly sweet with barely any wine flavour. The chicken was really moist and juicy, but was bland, even with the sauce.
The last dish that we had at our table was the Taiwanese version of Potstickers (which are narrow and long in shape). These were good with a crispy browned underside. The skin was relatively thin and nicely chewy while the filling was moist, tender and with just enough greens. This was a good finish to a inconsistent meal. Don't get me wrong, we still enjoyed the food, but it wasn't as good as we had remembered. It even got me thinking I might need to crown a new XLB champion in town...
- Reasonably-priced for the amount and quality of food
- Still good XLBs
- Food comes out fast and hot
- Not as good as I had remembered?
- Food comes out maybe too fast