Sherman's Food Adventures: Western Lake

Western Lake

Okay, I'll admit it - the last few times dining with the mother-in-law has been reasonably enjoyable.  *Gasp* Could it be???  Yes, hell has frozen over; traffic rules are being obeyed in Richmond and Government is not wasting our tax dollars.  Therefore, it was with as little hesitation as there will ever be when we decided to take her out for her birthday.  With the choice of restaurants left up to her, I was cringing and reserving myself in dining once again at Tung Sing Chin (ew...).  But surprise, surprise, she picked on of my favs being Western Lake.  Am I going to win Lotto Max now too?

For only 4 adults and 2 kids, we went a bit overboard with the food thanks to me.  Serves them right leaving me in charge of ordering.  But then again, I was paying...  Arriving in record time, the Peking Duck and Duck Lettuce Wrap were served almost simultaneously.  As evidenced in the picture, the duck skin was fried a deliciously-looking golden hue.  It was crispy and the fat was manually removed underneath.  We found the crepes to be moist and nicely chewy.  As for the lettuce wrap, the mixture was a bit wet, but still exhibited a nice crunch.  With a generous amount of tender duck, the dish was well-seasoned.

While we were even barely into the Peking duck, the Fish Maw & Crab Meat Soup arrived.  This was chock full of soft, yet not mushy, pieces of fish maw.  There was a modest amount of crab.  When we spotted some, it was fluffy and not overcooked.  The broth itself was silky and not overly thick.  It was well-seasoned with plenty of depth.  As I was just digging into the soup, our 3lb Lobster in consume sauce with noodles was crammed onto the lazy Susan.  This was well-prepared where it was fried just enough that the meat was still juicy and bouncy.  I liked how there was a minimal amount of starch coating as well.  The sauce was a little on the salty side though.

We hadn't even touched the lobster when the Scrambled Eggs and Prawns was set onto the already overloaded lazy Susan.  When I finally got to the dish, the eggs were really fluffy with an appealing amount of moisture.  They were barely cooked being silky and well-seasoned.  The large prawns were on point with a wet snap.  By the time the Stir Fried Pea Shoots with garlic arrived. we had to resort to piling stuff on top of the soup at the side of the table.  This was a fairly large portion of well-prepared pea shoots.  Most of the leaves were tender with a slight crunch, but some were somewhat tough.  The dish was garlicky and well-salted, yet quite greasy.

Some people were still stuck on the lettuce wrap dish when Steamed Black Cod with black bean sauce was forcibly-wedged onto the lazy Susan.  This was the most disappointing dish of the meal as the thin slices of fish were overcooked.  Hence, it did not have its signature butteriness.  Furthermore, the tofu underneath should've been silken because it was not particularly soft either.  Lastly, we had the 1/2 Crispy Chicken.  It was fried a golden brown with crispy skin all around.  The meat was far too dry and salty though. This was the end of a fast & furious meal in an equally busy restaurant.  The food was a bit hit and miss, with really good ones and equally poor ones.  We didn't particularly like the expedition of dishes because we got all of them within 20 minutes.

The Good:
- Some good dishes
- Good portions
- Well-priced for the quantity

The Bad:
- Cramped and super busy
- Food comes out far too quickly
- Hit and miss this time

Western Lake Chinese Seafood 西湖海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon


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