Sherman's Food Adventures: Happy Valley

Happy Valley

Prior to our short trip to Portland, my parents wanted to do dinner somewhere nearby.  We ended up going with Happy Valley located next to the new Mercedes dealership on Broadway. With a parking lot doubling as a used car dealership, I guess the place fits right in with its neighbours.  We arrived just as they opened for dinner service, so we were able to score a pretty nice table.  On a side note, the boss lady must be one of the most expressionless people I've come across.  However, the male manager was quite pleasant.

Enough of the staff, now onto the food...  If you have noticed, we often order the Peking Duck at Chinese restaurants.  It is no coincidence since my kids, especially my son, loves the stuff.  Go figure, he won't eat many regular things, but he won't say no to crispy skin!  In this case, the skin was indeed crispy while the layer of fat was not too thick.  We weren't that impressed with the crepes though as they were chewy and doughy.  Next up was the second course being the Duck Lettuce Wrap.  They didn't skimp out on the meat as the dish was filled with large chunks of duck.  Combined with crunchy carrots, celery and water chestnuts atop fried mung bean noodle, there was a nice textural contrast.  Although a bit salty, the dish did exhibit good wok heat.

Moving along, the next dish to arrive was the Dungeness Crab & Vermicelli Hot Pot.  For a set price item, the crab itself was of a decent size and fresh.  The meat was fluffy and sweet while the vermicelli benefited from enough seasoning.  An impressive aspect of the dish was the properly moistened vermicelli was not soaked in broth or sauce.  This way, it remained chewy and didn't disintegrate.  For our one veggie item, we got the Gai Lan with beef (yes, this is the best way to eat veggies...).  As shown in the picture, the gai lan was vibrant and cooked just enough so that it was still crunchy.  As for the beef, it was generally tender, but some pieces were a touch chewy. Moreover, the dish was on the saltier side though.

Although a bit cliched, we got an order of the Sweet & Sour Pork.  Despite its relation to Americanized Chinese food, we love the dish and this one here was decent.  In large chunks, the pork was freshly fried where the exterior was crispy while the inside was juicy.  There was just enough sauce to coat each piece, but flavourwise, it was rather sweet with very little tang.  Sporting large meaty prawns rather than shrimp, the Yeung Chow Fried Rice was also quite good.  The rice was dry and nutty while the abundance of ingredients including the aforementioned prawns added to the body of the dish.  Unlike the previous dishes, more salt would've helped.

For dessert we were treated to an order of the Baked Tapioca Pudding.  The best part of it was the sweet crispy topping, but that was about it.  The rest of it was stiff and too dense.  Furthermore, the dessert could've used more time in the oven as it was only warm rather than hot.  Other than that, the other dishes were pretty darn solid (albeit salty) and well-portioned.  Service was not bad except for the constantly frowning boss-lady.

The Good:
- Solid eats
- Fair portions
- Okay pricing considering everything

The Bad:
- Heavy on the salt
- Avoid the boss-lady

Happy Valley Seafood Restaurant 名閣海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon