Sherman's Food Adventures: Neptune Chinese Kitchen (Hard Rock Casino Coquitlam)

Neptune Chinese Kitchen (Hard Rock Casino Coquitlam)

Remember my previous post about the new location of Neptune at Station Square in Burnaby?  I mentioned that it was expanding at a very fast pace and moving into strategic locations.  Well, before I could even finish that thought, they took over the old location of Stake at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam.  I would say they are very astute in doing do since there aren't many great Chinese restaurants in the area and hey, the bulk of the clientele at the casino are Asian.  This time around, I was invited to sample some of their signature dishes at the new spot.

We began with the Chilled Spicy Shrimp that didn't look like much from its appearance.  However, I was very wrong with this assessment as one bite (after deshelling), and each shrimp was bursting with flavour that was a little of everything including spice, sweetness and savouriness.  My only wish was that the shrimp were bigger as it was a lot of work to yield so little tail meat.  Next up was the dessert...  That's right, we got the Creamy Egg Yolk Custard Bun.  No matter since they were fantastic.  Featuring a thin and airy bun, the centre was overflowing with creamy and buttery aromatically sweet custard.  I thought it was balanced in flavour and the texture was on point.

Continuing on with Dim Sum items, we had the Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumpling) and Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumpling).  Although the dumpling skin was a touch thick and possibly over-steamed, the ha gau were still good.  The skin still displayed a nice elasticity and rebound.  Inside, the filling featured a buttery snap that was sweet and aromatic from the shrimp and sesame oil.  There wasn't much filler here.  As for the Siu Mai, they were also quite large and featured plenty of shrimp.  The chunks of pork were on the softer side while still retaining a meatiness.  There was enough shrimp and shiitake for varied flavours including a sweeter slant to the seasoning.  Loved the amount of tobiko on top as it looked appealing.

It seems all the rage now is to prepared Dungeness Crab with Salty Egg Yolk Sauce.  Well, there is a good reason for that - it can be darn tasty.  Well, this was no exception as there was just enough sauce clinging to the pieces of crab.  It was not too salty since there was an equal amount of sweetness for balance.  It was aromatic and not gritty where it complimented the fluffy sweet pieces of crab beautifully.  From crab, we moved onto the Lobster on Sticky Rice steamed in a bamboo steamer.  This was also very good where the lobster was fried just enough that it was still buttery with a sweet rebound.  The rice underneath was the beneficiary of the sauce that the lobster was stir-fried in, so that it was full-flavoured while not wet.

The best dish of the meal was the Sticky Rice on Crispy Chicken.  Visually, it was stunning with a caramelized hue from the chicken skin.  It had been rendered down where the skin was crispy throughout with minimal fat underneath.  The chicken meat was kept moist and was well-seasoned.  Underneath, the sticky rice was chewy and moist while not being too wet.  It was aromatic from the deep fry on the bottom side.  Before we dug into the Neptune Signature Ribs, we could smell the black vinegar.  Hence, there was intense and deeply sweet and tangy flavours from the sauce.  The ribs were tender and succulent while still retaining a noted meatiness.  However, I would've liked the ribs to be crispier and/or firmer on the outside.

Adding to the mish mash of dishes, we had the Fish and Pumpkin Congee.  This was served piping hot and full of ingredients.  I found the broth to be silky and only lightly thick.  It didn't water down at the end though.  It was not overly seasoned and allowed the fish and pumpkin to stand out.  The basa fillets were tender and completely moist while the pumpkin was fully cooked while not dissolved into the broth.  Interestingly, the Curry Seafood Chow Mein was red despite appearing to be yellow on the outside.  No matter, it was flavourful with a slight spiciness and sweetness.  The seafood was on point while the noodles were crunchy.  We only wished there was more sauce as the noodles stayed crunchy with only the middle softening up.

Finishing off with another carb dish (as always in a Chinese multi-course meal), we had the Yang Chow Fried Rice.  I've had this dish at the Surrey location before and let's just say this was plated more nicely.  But no matter, it ate pretty much the same with chewy wok fried rice where the shrimp was cold-water crunchy.  Overall, the meal we had at the Hard Rock location mirrors what I've had in the past.  It was above-average and predictable.  Definitely a welcomed addition to the are as there are not many options for authentic Chinese food.

*All food was complimentary*

The Good:
- Above-average eats
- Wide array of dishes on the menu
- Spacious dining room

The Bad:
- Like the other locations, there are things that can be refined


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