Once upon a time, I believed Sea Harbour Restaurant had the very best Dim Sum in the GVRD. So much so, I put it in my recommendations page. However, that was 5 years ago and at a location that is now long gone. Since they have relocated to the River Rock Casino, I thought it was a good idea to do a revisit to see how things are going. It was nice to see that they had free parking, but a bit annoying that we had to go all the way up to the top of the parkade.
Surprisingly, we got our reservation within 5 minutes of arriving. That was no minor feat as most Chinese restaurant reservations are nothing but a suggestion. Presented with a broccoli floret (much like the last time) in the middle, the Haw Gow wrapper was a touch thick yet otherwise chewy and not wet. We found the filling to be sweet with a good hit of sesame oil, however, there was only a minor snap texture. As for the Sui Mai, they were sweet and moist. The pork had a bouncy texture while the shrimp exhibited a meatiness (rather than a buttery snap).
In honour of Masterchef Canada (still not sure of that show), we got an order of the Fried Smelt (well, not really, but it is a good segue...). These were lightly crisp while not even a little bit greasy. I would've liked them fried a touch longer. These were wok-tossed in some chili spice which was surprisingly muted. Hence, they were bland and in need of some salt. We ended up with a larger dish being the Fook Chow Fried Rice. This was a well-made dish consisting of moist and chewy fried rice with a well-balanced sauce on top. As clearly illustrated, there was a bevy of seafood, mushrooms and gai lan stalks which were all properly cooked.
Moving on, we had the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll where the shrimp was meaty exhibiting mild natural flavours. There wasn't a whole lot of seasoning going on, but that was the sweetened soy's job. As for the rice noodle itself, it was really thin and translucent. It was toothsome while still being relatively soft. My son had no interest in the dish, rather opting for the Salty Donut Rice Noodle Roll. Although the donut was crispy (even wrapped with the rice noodle), it was a bit dense and chewy. With the same thin rice noodle, pork floss, dried shrimp and only a spattering of green onion, we thought it was pretty good as whole.
Next, we had the obligatory offal dish being the Tendon & Tripe. And no, my kids didn't want any part of it. Are they really mine? Viv? Anyways, both the tendon and tripe were pretty soft with not much chew left. There was only a slight spice to go with the predominantly sweet seasoning. The Black Bean Spareribs were aesthetically-pleasing and really, they were good to eat too. The meaty rib pieces had a nice bouncy chew while being porky in flavour with some sweetness (very little garlic though). Interestingly, there was little flavour coming from the black beans and green & red peppers.
Another dish my kids don't touch is the Phoenix Talons aka chicken feet. Well, it was for the best anyways because there were too many issues. First, the skin was leathery and tough. Second, the cartilage underneath was crunchy. Lastly, since they used red fermented bean curd (and lots of it), the whole thing was very salty. On the other hand, the kids attacked the Shrimp Shrimp Rolls like there was no tomorrow. These were served hot and crunchy, yet that was the only good thing about them. The sparse shrimp filling mixed with flowering chives was overcooked. Therefore, not only was there a lack of snap, the shrimp was slightly tough.
Lastly,we had the Steamed Sponge Cake for dessert. We found it slightly dense where it could've been softer and looser (maybe more lard? There was rich sweetness from the brown sugar which was just right. During the meal, I logged into my account on my Galaxy and proceeded to remove Sea Harbour from my top 3 list. No, it wasn't that the food was terrible, but it wasn't impressive as a whole either. For the price they charge and considering their reputation, we expected better.
- Nice dining space
- Decent service
- Free parking (albeit way up at the top)
- Food is decent, but doesn't justify the price