Sherman's Food Adventures: King Crab Dinner @ Yan's Garden

King Crab Dinner @ Yan's Garden

For some reason, I've never gotten into the Alaskan King Crab craze that hits every year.  Don't get me wrong, I love crab, but not enough to shell out hundreds of dollars to eat it.  However, Big D was determined this year to organize a group to devour a king crab.  He declared it Team King Crab and made a reservation at Yan's Garden.  Yan's Garden???  Man...  I don't mind the food there, but the service...  I'd rather be in a car wreck in Richmond than suffer through their "alleged" service.  Whatever... Viv and I decided to go anyways.

Since we had a table of 10 hungry souls (mostly just Big D), we opted for the larger crab meal which cost us $600.00 before tax and tip.  Of course we couldn't just eat crab and call it a day, so we kicked things off with the Peking Duck.  This was carved table side and the skin was fairly crispy, but in a chewier manner rather than being light.  They might've been too aggressive with the deep fry.  The layer of fat was minimal though.  We found the crepes to be a bit gummy.  Our next course was the Fish Maw and Seafood Soup.  Normally, this is either made with dungeness crab or chicken, but since it was a mix of seafood, there was squid and it wasn't the right match texturally in my opinion.  Other than that, the fish maw was a bit firm while the broth had a silky consistency and was mildly sweet.

Okay, onto the main event, we had the Steamed King Crab Legs with garlic served on 2 large plates.  I thought they prepared this very well with fluffy crab meat that was cooked just enough so it retained plenty of moisture and exhibited a buttery rebound texture.  There was plenty of natural sweetness to go with the ample amount of minced garlic.  After we devoured all of the legs, we moved onto the body meat in the Deep Fried King Crab with Peppery Salt.  This was also executed properly with springy and fluffy crab meat encased in a light crispy starch coating.  Wok-tossed with chilis, garlic, pepper and salt, there was enough seasoning while not being overwhelming.

For the second course of the Peking Duck, we had the classic Duck Lettuce Wrap.  Although there was technically "enough" filling for all of the well-trimmed lettuce cups, I would've liked to see a bigger portion.  There wasn't a lack of moist duck meat, but there wasn't a whole lot of crunchy veggies.  They're not expensive, just put more to prop up the dish.  In terms of taste, the filling was a bit too salty for my liking. On the menu, the meal came with an empress chicken, but we didn't want that and substituted a whole Crispy Fried Chicken instead.  Although the whole thing looked dry, this was not the case.  Of course the dark meat remained moist while nicely brined, but the breast meat was still decently tender and not chewy.  As for the skin, it was indeed light and crispy with rendered-skin.

Time for some veggies after all the meat and seafood right?  So we had the Shiitake and Button Mushrooms with Shanghai Bak Choy.  Not an overly complex dish, but it was solid.  The bak choy was still crunchy and vibrantly green while cooked all-the-way through.  On top, the dried shiitake had been braised long enough to completely rehydrate being buttery and moist.  The oyster sauce glaze coated each mushroom just enough without causing a watery mess.  With some more veggies (underneath), we were served the Golden Fried & Stir-Fried Sliced Cod.  Although the stir-fried cod was buttery, flaky and tender, the fried portions were overcooked in my opinion.  They were crunchy on the outside though.  Back to the stir-fry, it wasn't overseasoned and the veggies were cooked just enough with proper wok heat.

The last course of the King Crab was the King Crab & Seafood Fried Rice topped with Portuguese sauce. Sadly, this was not very good.  I found the fried rice overly dry and bland.  Also, there wasn't a whole lot of seafood nor crab to be found.  Furthermore, there wasn't enough sauce to flavour and moisten the rice.  As for the sauce itself, it was not flavourful lacking coconut milk aroma. Since we upgraded to the more expensive meal, they threw in the Crab Sauce Noodles. This was prepared with the residual crab juices from the steamed legs.  As such, this was rather flavourful with the natural sweet and saltiness of the crab meat in addition to the garlic.  On the other hand, the noodles could've been cooked a bit less as they were no longer appealingly chewy.

For dessert, we were served 2 items including the Baked Tapioca Pudding with a buttery sugar pastry crust on top.  This was good, yet I really wished they had the sweet lotus paste filling.  Texturally, the pudding was on the firmer side, but not stiff.  It wasn't overly sweet either except for the topping.  We also had cubes of Mango Pudding, which were the typical candy-like and not really mango tasting variety.  So, after shelling out $140.00 for Viv and myself (including tax and tip), we felt the food was generally okay, while the crab was on point (except for the rice).  The rest of the food was more or less typical of Yan's being decent but not great.  In terms of service, we lucked out as Head Case was with us and he knows the owners.  Hence, we were treated like human beings this time around.

The Good:
- Decent eats
- Fairly comfortable

The Bad:
- Generally indifferent service
- Parking lot is insufficient  


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