Sherman's Food Adventures: Dynasty


I don't even remember the last time I've been to Dynasty on Broadway.  Seemingly always mentioned in the "best of Vancouver" lists when it comes to Chinese restaurants, I have never actually understood why.  I'm not saying the place isn't good, but there are just so many other places that are better.  Yes, I know this can all be subjective and that is partly why we decided to return for a visit when my cousin was visiting from out-of-town.  The other reason was that they were in the neighbourhood whilst exploring Vancouver, so its location worked for all of us.

Interestingly, they do not employ ordering checklists and one has to do the ol' skool of ordering with the service staff.  This seems very inefficient to me as our server seemed distracted when we were ordering.  In fact, he left part way through to only come back later to finish the order.  Our first dish was the Steamed Spareribs with pumpkin which came in a fairly large portion.  The majority of the pieces were meaty and not overly fatty.  Seasoning was good with enough black bean and garlic hits with a touch of spice.

Normally, there isn't much to say about Steamed Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf because they are all pretty standard.  With that being said, this version was quite good due to the amount of ingredients including salted egg yolk.  This added a nutty saltiness as well as a richness to the sticky rice.  Furthermore, the ground pork was tender and properly sauced so that there was both flavour and moisture.  The sticky rice itself was indeed sticky and had the right texture.

It isn't often that a version of Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumpling) is disappointing in the GVRD, but this one at Dynasty was not very good.  The main issue was the shrimp as it was overly soft and devoid of texture.  This was a shame as the pork was properly prepared exhibiting the classic bounce texture.  With the shrimp being so bad, the flavour profile of the dumpling was a little off where we didn't get the natural sweetness.  There was some shiitake that added texture and umaminess though.

Fortunately, the Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) was much better than the siu mai as the dumpling skin was thin and translucent.  Texturally, it was on point being delicate and tender while retaining a chewy elasticity.  Inside, the shrimp filling was full of whole shrimp which had the desired snap texture.  It was buttery and sweet with the unmistakable hint of aromatic and nutty sesame oil.

Onto some kid favourites, we got the Steamed BBQ Pork Buns.  Surprisingly, my cousin's kids didn't seem interested in them.  Well more for my kids!  These were pretty good with a soft fluffy bun that was just a touch on the drier side.  There was more than enough filling consisting of fairly lean BBQ pork sauced in a sweet sticky glaze.  It was balanced where the sweetness was counteracted by equal parts savouriness.

Another disappointing item was the Braised Beef Tendon with spicy sauce.  The tendons were not cooked enough so that they were not soft in any way.  I mean, we could still chew them, but that was not the desired texture.  Furthermore, the sauce was not that impactful as it was more sweet than actually spicy.  The texture of the tendon was partly the reason for the lack of flavour since the sauce could not penetrate it.

We did enjoy the Steamed Bean Curd Roll with shrimp, even though the shrimp was once again a bit soft.  I found the bean curd skin to be delicate while still offering up an appealing chewiness.  Inside, the pork filling was tender with some rebound texture.  The crunch from the wood ear mushrooms provided some contrast.  I thought the flavour was quite nice being just salty enough without going over.

Since there wasn't any beef tripe on the menu and the tendon was not very good, I was hoping that the Steamed Chicken Feet would make up for it.  That it did with tender deep fried and then braised skin.  A few portions were broken, but it wasn't a huge deal as the cartilage and fat underneath was still intact while still soft.  There was plenty of seasoning in this dish with salty sweet notes accented by garlic and chili flakes.

So if the Panfried Potstickers look rather sad in this picture, it was a proper representation of the final product.  We all hated these since the dumpling wrapper was thick, hard and frankly cold.  There was barely a good sear on the bottom of the dumplings, hence no crunch.  Inside, the pork filling was rather meager and lacking in seasoning.  It was also cold, like the rest of the dumpling.  Also, they could've done something with the plating too.

Even though the Pan-Fried Eggplant stuffed with fish paste was only average, the fact that the potstickers were so poor, we enjoyed this dish.  The fried eggplant was on the mushier side, but at least the exterior was firm enough to hold it together.  I personally like shrimp mousse rather than fish paste, yet this was okay.  It was not too dense and had a nice rebound texture.  The black bean sauce was rather weak and didn't provide much impact to the dish.

Of course we had to get the Deep Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls with taro as well (had to get 2 orders due to all the kids!).  These were good where the wrapper was crunchy and easy on the grease.  Ample in amount, the shrimp filling was well-seasoned and featured a nice bounce texture.  The addition of taro added some body and aromatics.  There was just enough of it where it didn't interfere with the shrimp.

We ordered a plate of the Yeung Chow Fried Rice and asked for the green onions to be omitted since the kids didn't want any.  Not sure if it was read wrong by the kitchen, but there was an abnormal amount of green onions...  Oh well.  The rice was decent, but lacked wok hei and hence wasn't nutty nor exhibited much caramelization.  Seasoning was too mild, so the rice didn't really taste like anything.  The lack of BBQ pork didn't help things either.

Luckily, we also got the Sweet & Sour Pork, which helped with the bland fried rice.  Now this was excellent.  Probably one of the better versions of this dish I've had in quite some time.  Each piece of pork was tender and moist with a crisp batter.  There was just enough sauce to coat each chunk (which is the right way to do it, not drown it).  We could taste the balance of flavours including sweet, tangy and a touch of saltiness.  Really good.

Off to the sweets, we had the Steamed Bun with salted egg yolk.  The bun was like the BBQ pork bun being soft with a touch of dryness.   Inside, the salted egg yolk filling was very runny, if not too runny.  I've made this at home before and personally I prefer it with a thicker viscosity.  It was pretty sweet, yet the aromatic nuttiness of the salted egg yolk did come through.

Just like we always do, we also had the Baked Egg Tarts.  I thought they were pretty solid featuring a flaky and buttery (more like lardy) tart shell which was lightly browned.  There was some nuttiness from the tart shell that made this aromatic.  The egg filling was silky and delicate where the sweetness level was moderate.  I felt that was well-balanced and overall done right.

We had one more dessert in the form of Steamed Sponge Cake.  By employing brown sugar (which seems to be the trend these days), the sponge had a deep sweetness that wasn't necessarily sugary.  Texturally, it was soft and airy which made it easy to eat.  Now in terms of the overall Dim Sum service, we felt it was hit and miss.  Considering its reputation, price point and class of Chinese restaurant, we expected more consistency.  I would say there are many choices for Dim Sum in town and they need to step it up to stand out.

The Good:
- Generally good service
- Nice dining space with natural light
- Validated parking (only 2 hours, be careful or you will get a ticket)

The Bad:
- Hit and miss food
- For this price range, it should've been more consistent



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