Sherman's Food Adventures: Jade Seafood Restaurant

Jade Seafood Restaurant

With the influx of new high-end Chinese restaurants in town, we often forget one of the pioneers of this genre.  The Jade was one of the first Chinese restaurants to use higher quality ingredients and pay attention to the finer details.  The chefs were also not afraid to add some subtle fusion into the cuisine as well.  It has been a long time since I've dined at The Jade and in fact, it has been so long that they have actually moved locations over to #3 Road near the Richmond Night Market.  We ended up going for Dim Sum at the new spot and Mijune tagged along with my family and parents.

We are usually pretty aggressive in ordering dishes, but with Mijune at the table, we needed to up our game and ordered even more!  We began with a very strange sounding item in the Smoked Salmon on Crispy Thin.  Huh?  Well, it turned out to be a shrimp chip topped with a cocktail fruit salad and corn dressed in an obscene amount of mayo.  Then on top of that, there was a slice of smoked salmon with wasabi mayo drizzled on top.  Honestly, this was not appealing and in fact gross.  It would've been fine with just the chip and salmon alone.  Thankfully, the next dish was more conventional being the Pan Fried Radish Cake in Hot Sauce.  So this was actually the classic fried daikon radish cake tossed in XO sauce.  This was good with crispy chunks where inside it was delicate and well-seasoned.  We found it was more aromatic and briny than spicy.  Loved the addition of fried edamame.

The quality of the ingredients really shone with the 2 standards in the Ha Gau (Steamed Shrimp Dumpling) and Siu Mai (Steamed Sakura Pork Dumpling).  Featuring a relatively thin dumpling wrapper, the texture of the ha gau exhibited appealing elasticity and delicateness at the same time.  Inside, the shrimp filling consisted of whole pieces which had a sweet, well-seasoned snap bonded together with a small amount of airy shrimp mousse.  I would've liked to see a bit more sesame oil, but the dumpling was still plenty good.  Normally, siu mai are pretty fatty, but the one here was generally lean, yet at the same time super tender with the classic bounce texture.  There really wasn't anything else but whole chunks of pork and normally that would mean boring without shrimp nor shiitake.  However, I didn't even notice it due to the high quality meat and on point seasoning.

Possibly their signature dim sum item, the Steamed Mushroom Dumpling has been loved by many since the very beginning.  Since it has been copied by many other restaurants, some of the lustre has definitely worn off, but that doesn't mean it isn't good.  In fact, this sported a relatively thin chewy (in a good way) wrapper than had an appealing elasticity.  Inside, the mixture of mushrooms had a good bite while spiked with truffle.  Looking similar but completely different, the Steamed Crab Meat Dumplings had a slightly thicker skin that was firmer.  Inside, there was a mixture of crab, veggies and curiously, ground pork.  I thought this was not the right meat to compliment the delicate crab.  It completely overwhelmed it.  Maybe something like fish or the dark meat of chicken would've been better.

Mijune insisted that we order 2 dishes based on her past experiences at The Jade.  The first one was the Dried Scallop & Vermicelli in clay pot.  This was much more than its description as it also featured egg, sprouts, celery, dried shrimp, shiitake and cured sausage.  As a result, the aromatics from the dried seafood as well as the sausage made this dish plenty flavourful.  The textures were also varied with the al dente vermicelli, crunchy celery and meaty sausage.  The second dish was Chiu Chow Style Squid & Chinese Chives which also sported fried anchovies, peanuts and peppers.  When all of the ingredients were eaten in one bite, there was plenty going on.  Textures galore with the crunchy chives, chewy squid (in a good way) and equally chewy anchovies.  If you can imagine, all this flavour would go real well with some congee...

Of course, we also ordered the Fish & Egg White Congee to compliment the Chiu Chow dish.  Normally, a bowl of plain congee would've been best, but we were looking for something more fulfilling.  Besides, this was probably the most mild-tasting congee on the menu.  That it was and as such, the subtle aroma from the egg whites really came through.  This really made the congee as it complimented the tender fish perfectly.  This would've been good on its own even without the anchovies and squid from the previous dish.  Also really good was the Chan's Village Noodle with Beef Tendon and Brisket Hot Pot.  Beyond the chewy noodles underneath, the brisket was absolutely perfect.  With just a touch of fat, the meat was buttery soft and practically melted-in-our-mouths.  The braising liquid was balanced with enough impact to not only penetrate the meat, it flavoured the noodles as well.

Now if 2 noodle dishes and a congee wasn't enough carbs, we also got 2 orders of the rice noodle rolls.  We didn't stray far from what we usually order and went with the Steamed Rice Roll with Prawn & Flowering Chives.  We found this to be pretty textbook with semi-thin rice noodles that was soft with just a touch of elasticity and rebound.  Tucked inside, the prawns were large with a moist snap.  There was enough seasoning to get by, but of course, the dousing of sweetened soy didn't hurt.  With the same qualities, the rice noodle for the Chinese Donut Rice Roll wasn't as successful.  Yes, the noodle was fine, but they really overused the green onion.  Too dominant in this dish.  Furthermore, the donut itself was dense and chewy which made the dish cumbersome to eat.

Not over with carbs, we got the Steamed Wild Rice & Sticky Rice wrapped in lotus leaves.  Due to the addition of wild rice, the texture of the glutinous rice was intermittently interrupted by a firm chewiness.  I personally enjoyed that and wished more places did this.  Unlike other versions, this featured relatively lean ground pork in the filling.  Therefore, I didn't find myself picking out chunks of fat.  Decently large and plump, the Steamed Phoenix Talons (Chicken Feet) were solid.  I found the deep fried skin to be tender with a bite.  Underneath, the cartilage and fat were tender and not melted away.  In terms of seasoning, this was plenty garlicky with a noted spiciness.

We couldn't forget about the Deep Fried Spring Rolls with Shrimp & Garlic for the kiddies.  Unfortunately, this was a fail as the outside wrapper was far too thick and as such fried up too dense.  The roll wasn't crunchy, rather, it was hard with a bit of undercooked portions on the inside.  As for the filling, it was slightly uneven where some parts were crunchy shrimp while others was mushy shrimp mousse.  On the other hand, the Baked BBQ Pork Pastry hit the right notes.  The pastry itself was flaky and buttery (more like lardy) where the BBQ pork filling was lean and balanced flavourwise.  This version had pickled ginger mixed in and I personally like it but I can see how some might think it is too overwhelming.  In general, the quality of the dim sum at Jade is top notch.  However, the highs were real high while the lows were really low.  This type of hit and miss is not really acceptable at this price point.  Despite it all, I would come back and order only the good items.

The Good:
- Quality ingredients
- Fairly good service
- The really good dishes were excellent

The Bad:
- The really awful dishes were inexcusable for the price point
- Parking could be a challenge at times


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