Sherman's Food Adventures: Dim Sum @ Grand River

Dim Sum @ Grand River

Fresh off a relatively decent dinner at Grand River in Coquitlam, we decided to make a rez for Dim Sum right on the spot.  So we returned a few days later to see if there was decent "Yum Cha" in a location not known for such.  Ah yes, this was the old Asia Restaurant and before that, the New China Kitchen.  Ew...  But now we have a legit Chinese restaurant serving up the usual dishes.  We were hoping it would be better than Asia Restaurant, which started off as a buffet, then transitioned into a regular a la carte restaurant.

To begin, it was the standards in the Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings).  I found the skin on the ha gau to be rather thick and doughy with a noted chewiness.  Inside, the filling was loose with bits of shrimp that were flavourful and sweet.  There was a light buttery snap to go with a considerable amount of salt.  This dominated the flavour profile unfortunately.  I thought the siu mai were also pretty salty, but not as much.  The dumpling was buttery and meaty with tender chunks of pork, shrimp and shiitake.  There was a mild rebound texture to the pork along with intermittent pieces of fat.  Overall, this was a pretty good siu mai except, the person preparing it was rather lazy sprinkling tobiko on a sideways dumpling...

Going into it, we already knew that ordering the Xiao Long Bao would be a mistake since this was Cantonese Dim Sum, not Shanghainese.  But the kiddies wanted it...  Immediately, they somewhat regretted it because there was no soup to be found whatsoever.  Furthermore, the skin was hard, thick and chewy.  Although the meat filling was rather fatty, it ensured that everything was moist and tender.  Therefore, the best part was the filling as it was juicy and flavourful (just no soup).  Okay, the XLBs were sub par, but the Beef Meatballs were horrendous.  They were dense as hell with no meat texture.  It felt like we were eating cooked hard paste.  Moreover, they were bland and in short supply of green onions and/or cilantro.

When we took a bite into the Bean Curd Skin Rolls, it seemed like there was a sale on salt because like some of the previous items, that is all we could taste.  Beyond that, the filling was loose with a meaty bounce.  Outside, the bean curd skin was nicely textured being chewy yet tender.  Mercifully, the Pork Spareribs were significantly better than the beef meatballs and not as salty as the other dishes.  We ended up getting them with rice where the rice was soft and fluffy.  I would've preferred chewy and nutty, but it wasn't prepared in a clay pot.  The spareribs themselves were chewy with a meaty bounce.   They were purposefully seasoned where there was enough residual flavour to seep into the rice.  There was a background spice as well.  

Of course we had to order the obligatory Shrimp Spring Rolls (Japanese-style here with wasabi) for my son.   These were hot, crunchy and not greasy on the outside.  However, it was a different story on the inside as one bite revealed a burst of oil.  The filling was full-flavoured being on the sweeter side.  Unfortunately, the shrimp were overdone being rubbery.  On the other hand, the filling in the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll was much better being buttery with a sweet snap.  Unlike many other versions, they were aggressive with the white pepper which added a background spice.  The noodle itself was tender and buttery with some elasticity.  We also got the Donut Rice Noodle Roll and it was crunchy, but a bit oily.

Another mediocre dish was the Phoenix Talons (Chicken Feet).  These didn't look that appealing and in reality were chewy and hard.  The skin was tight up against the bone, so it was hard to eat and really, not much to eat either.  There was no plumpness nor fluffiness to the skin.  Overall, the dish was rather bland except for some garlic and pepperiness.  Funny how this lacked salt unlike the other items.  Although a bit dense, the BBQ Pork Buns were not bad.  The filling featured lean slices of pork that were mixed with a sweet and savoury glaze.  I thought the colour of the glaze was quite appealing as it was in a dark rich hue.

Somehow, the Bean Curd Skin Roll Wrap were pretty unappealing.  This is generally a simple dish consisting usually of fish maw, ham, a vegetable and chicken.  This one had taro which was dry and weird-tasting.  We felt this was not fresh-tasting and hence was not something we enjoyed.  As a filler (not that we needed anymore food), we got the House Special Chow Mein as well.  This was a good dish featuring crispy noodles that was doused in enough mild starch-thickened sauce to soften them up.  The fairly generous amount of ingredients were prepared properly with meaty shrimp and tender squid.

For dessert, we had both the Pineapple Buns and Egg Tarts.  Served warm, the pineapple bun featured a crispy top and bottom.  The sugar topping was not overly sweet, but the filling was rather salty (not sure why since the filling in the BBQ pork bun was not).  The texture of the bun was a little dense though.  As for the egg tarts, the filling was silky and sweet sporting a nice hue.  The tart shell was buttery and flaky emitting an aromaticness and nuttiness.  This was a nice finish to a hit and miss Dim Sum service.  We felt it was serviceable enough for the area, but things were just too salty for our tastes.  At the very least, there is real Dim Sum to be found here.

The Good:
- Okay for the area
- Reasonable pricing
- Decent service

The Bad:
- Hit and miss
- Salty

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