Sherman's Food Adventures: December 2022

Published on Main

So you know the saying that "you can never have too much of a good thing?", well I think it is completely true when we are referring to Published on Main.  Fresh off a visit back in September, I felt that I needed to come back again.  Not only do I love the food there, the biggest reason for another visit was that Viv had never been.  So I took her there for her birthday and coincidentally, I made the rez just prior to Published being awarded a Michelin star.  Oh and also being recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world as well.

With those lofty expectations, we started simply with the Chips & Dip.  Yes, this isn't the most sexiest dish on the menu, but it is one of my favourites.  Those thick cut house potato chips arrived crunchy and nicely salted.  The accompanying sour cream and onion dip was the perfect temperature being cool and creamy.  There was a natural sweetness from the onions as well as a background sharpness.  What really made the dip was the smoked fish as there was an appealing fishiness and depth.

Next up was the Chicken Fried Maitake with garlic scape ranch.  Although there was no meat in this dish, the meatiness of the mushrooms made this rather fulfilling.  Beyond the aggressive crunch of the cornmeal batter, the maitake were tender with a meaty chew.  Creamy and aromatic, the ranch helped cool things down, much like the sour cream dip, but with more effect since the mushrooms were hot.  As much as garlic scapes can be rather strong flavoured, the dip was balanced.

One of the prettiest dishes was the Albacore Crudo with an ajo blanco, almonds, olive and lemon.  It ate as well as it looked where the tuna was super buttery with a fresh taste of the sea.  Underneath, the ajo blanco was rich but had a nice bit of acidity to compliment the fish.  The crunch of the almond crumble added the necessary texture as well as nuttiness.  Providing saltiness and a touch more tang, the olives were more than a garnish.

Continuing on with the seafood, we had the Roasted Octopus with turnips and a lemon guajillo dressing.  I found the texture of the octopus to be perfect for my liking.  Often, restaurants overcompensate for the chewy texture of octopus by making it too soft.  Here, the tentacles still had a good chew but was not hard to eat.  That dressing was just plain delicious where it had great acidity as well as a smoky and sweet finish.

One of my favourite dishes at Published is their Winter Squash.  I was pretty glad that they still had this on the menu. It featured roasted squash with a pepita miso glaze, fermented currants and a koji butter sauce.  The glaze itself was almost like a brulee and had an intense sweetness accented by a rich saltiness.  The sweet squash was firm, yet still tender.  To add even more luxuriousness to this dish, the koji butter sauce was rich, yet not too heavy.

We ended up ordering 2 of their features for the night including the Pickerel Filet with rosti, celery, Brussels sprouts and green dashi butter.  The fish couldn't have been prepared any better.  It was flaky, buttery and moist while the skin was crispy and well-salted.  That green dashi butter tasted like its colour yet was not heavy.  The accompaniments were excellent as well with vibrant veggies and a crispy rosti.

The other feature was the Beef Cheek with red wine cabbage puree, German gnocchi and Brussels sprouts.  Gelatinous and fork tender, the beef cheek was rich and delicious.  However, the puree was just a bit too tangy for our tastes.  It was in a beautiful shade of violet though and really popped.  Those gnocchi had a great mouth feel with a slight chew giving way to fluffiness.  Nice sear on them with a butteriness.

Onto dessert, the Elderflower Mousse with yogurt sorbet and lemon verbena was plated interestingly and was rather functional.  Alternating between sorbet and verbena, the sliced discs were easy to pick up and eat.  Nice tang on both while the verbena was super creamy.  I gotta say that this meal lived up to our expectations.  I've never had a bad experience at Published and I think they are fully deserving of their Michelin star.  Of course I'll be back sometime soon.

The Good:
- Beautifully plated and delicious food
- On point, but not fussy, service
- Excellent cocktails

The Bad:
- Can get pricey since 3 dishes (excluding dessert) at minimum per person is needed to be satisfied
- Getting a table these days is difficult


Back when it first opened, I had hit up Arike out on Davie Street.  It was one of the rare African restaurants in the GVRD and even more unique, it had a Nigerian focus.  I came away quite satisfied with my meal, but apparently, this was confusing for people looking for Nigerian cuisine.  It was not the big share portions of home-style cooking normally associated with Nigerian cuisine.  So on this recent visit with Mijune, we discovered they feature only a tasting-menu that focuses on a variety of dishes that have African-influenced flavours and ingredients.  I guess they are doing something right as they have been recently graced with the Michelin-recommended status.

For $65.00, we felt this was a reasonable price for a tasting menu in a Downtown restaurant.  We began with the Herbed Foccacia with peanut hummus and chili oil.  Normally, I don't rave about bread, but I'm going to do it this time.  Crispy and nutty on the outside, the foccacia was soft and warm on the inside.  That peanut hummus was smooth with a spicy nuttiness that elevated the bread.  I could put spoonfuls of that in my mouth.

Up next, we had something I wouldn't have expected, but at the same time, shows the creativity of the chef.  Featuring a beautiful lightly torched Scallop atop jerk pork belly rice, this was a great interpretation of nigiri.  Beyond the buttery sweetness of the fresh scallop, the luxurious and richness of the rice underneath was a nice counterbalance.  Add in the sharpness of ginger and the tang of lemon, there was enough acidity to make the flavours pop.

Pretty with mandarin, mint and coconut ricotta, the red kuri Squash "tart" was perfectly-placed in the progression of dishes in the tasting menu.  The squash base was sweet, nutty and soft.  The addition of mandarin added some sweet and juicy tanginess to break up the heaviness of the squash.  Providing some crunch, we had some nuts and creamy aromatics was provided by the ricotta.  To top it off literally and figuratively, we had the herbaceous hit of the mint.

After this fairly rich course, we were treated to a Palette Cleanser in the form of lemon ginger granita.  Once again, the use of lemon and ginger provided a refreshing combination of acidity and sharpness.  This took away any of the flavours of the last dish.  The granita was fluffy, yet crunchy at the same time.  It did not melt and was consistent in texture.

Good thing we had the palette cleanser as it allowed us to enjoy the Duck ravioli to the fullest.  This was an overstuffed creation with perfectly thin and al dente pasta encasing a considerable amount of moist and tender duck (that also had a good rebound texture).  On top we found some grated cured egg yolk, pickled mustard seed and fermented iru bean.  I can't tell you how delicious this was where the duck was definitely the star.  I found the flavours of the other ingredients to be complimentary and in balance.

My favourite course was the Lamb shoulder sausage atop chermoula with pickled carrots and grilled yam pita.  That sausage was so juicy and well-spiced, I would've been happy with it alone on a plate.  However, the chermoula complimented the rich sausage with acidity and brightness.  The carrots added another layer of tanginess and a bit of crunch.  Loved the soft chewiness of the yam pita as it was a nice foil to the meat.  The trick here was to have everything in one bite.

For dessert, we were served the black Sesame cake with cappuccino panna cotta with cardamom and ginger.  Soft and warm, the sesame cake was nutty and only semi-sweet.  Digging into the panna cotta, it revealed a creaminess accented by spice and slight sharpness.  I enjoyed how this dessert was more about subtly rather than sweetness.  In the end, I was truly blown away with the tasting menu at Arike.  It was thoughtful and the progression of courses made sense.  I love the direction they have taken with the menu as it is creative and delicious.  I will be back 100%.

The Good:
- Just downright delicious
- Creative incorporation of African spices and influences
- Reasonable pricing

The Bad:
- Currently open everyday in December, but only on Friday and Saturdays in January, hence it will be difficult to get a reservation
- Location is a bit hidden, but IYKYK

La Meza Grill

It has been awhile since I've been back to La Meza Grill.  I personally think it is one of the best, if not the best Filipino restaurant in the Lower Mainland.  The place isn't fancy, but it is modern and comfortable, complete with a Filipino grocery store attached to it.  I've said it before and have said it again, I'm still waiting for Filipino food to be the "it" cuisine.  They've been saying for years that it will happen and well, it hasn't.  Whatever the case, I brought my resident Filipino food expert in Steph to ensure that I'm not liking something that I shouldn't.

Trying to hit some of their greatest hits, we started with the Lumpiang Shanghai.  These Filipino spring rolls were on point featuring the classic thin wrapper.  It was wound up tightly enough so that the layers were crunchy.  I enjoyed how they were not overly greasy.  Inside, the pork filling was excellent.  It was juicy and delicate with a good rebound texture.  There was also no absence of flavour where the sweetness from the onions and veggies came through.  This was served with a side of sweet & sour sauce.

Moving on, we also had the Pork BBQ skewer.  As you can see in the picture, this was beautifully charred and sporting a sweet banana ketchup-based glaze.  They used pork belly and that resulted in very tender and fatty pieces of meat.  With the fat activated, there was plenty of natural pork flavour that was caramelized by the grilling.  With the charring of the sweet glaze, there was both smokiness and intense caramel notes.

We really couldn't be dining on Filipino food without including the Crispy Pata right?  So of course we ordered it!  This was excellent where it was pretty large and also fried up beautifully.  The pork hock meat was gelatinous and super tender.  Now the best part is the crackling and it was crunchy while not being hard.  It was almost airy with some sinful fat and gelatin underneath.  As usual, it was served with a soy vinegar dip on the side.

One item I've never had before was the Bulalo or beef bone marrow and mixed veggie soup.  This was a great suggestion by Steph as it was comforting, especially during these cold days.  This wasn't a complex soup, but it had a good meatiness complemented by the sweetness of corn, cabbage and bak choy.  Hidden underneath, there was quite a bit of tender beef shank.  This could be eaten as a meal by itself.

Continuing on the greatest hits of Filipino cuisine, we got the Filipino Spaghetti.  To be honest, I really like this dish, so it didn't matter if it was rather defaultish.  The pasta was prepared fairly al dente and it was sauced with the classic sweet tomato and banana ketchup mix (maybe a bit too sweet).  There was plenty of ground pork and beef with minor hints of onion. I would've liked to see a bit more hot dog wiener though.

Another favourite of mine is the Pork Sisig or aka sizzling pig face.  Yes, that doesn't sound super appetizing, but trust me, it is!  The fatty and gelatinous texture of the fatty meat crisps up with the hot cast iron plate.  Despite the heaviness of the main ingredient, things are balanced by the calamansi as well as the lemon wedge on the side.  This is best eaten with a side of garlic rice, which of course we also ordered. 

To complete all of our savoury dishes, we had another classic in the Mixed Pancit featuring stir-fried egg and rice noodles with chicken, pork, shrimp and vegetables.  At first, I thought this was a bit too mild-tasting, but as I dug into it more and mixed everything together, we found hits of garlic, sweetness and brininess.  Noodles were slippery and not clumpy while the veggies were cooked through without being soggy.

Hey, if we were doing the greatest hits, we just had to get the Halo Halo for dessert!   This had all of the elements including the base of shaved ice, gelatin, beans, flan, ube ice cream and evaporated milk.  However, the ice itself was not crushed properly where there was literally a big ice cube in the middle.  Oh well, just one minor detail in an otherwise delicious and affordable meal at La Meza.  If you haven't had Filipino food before, this is a great place to try it.  Portions are large and prices are small.  Did I mention it was yummy too?

The Good:
- On point food
- Inexpensive
- Large portions

The Bad:
- Not the biggest place, so not a lot of room for large groups
- Hopefully the next time I have the Halo Halo, there isn't a large ice cube in the middle  

Rio Brazilian Steakhouse

Fresh off a visit to Fogo de Chão earlier this year in Bellevue, it got us craving for some Brazilian BBQ here in Vancity.  Now that isn't necessarily an easy task as there is only one place to get it - Rio Brazilian Steakhouse.  They have 2 locations, one in Downtown Vancouver and the other is in Coquitlam.  Yes, there used to be Samba (run by the Thai House Group), but they have long closed.  So we headed out to the Coquitlam Rio to see if anything has changed since the last time I visited the place (that was pre-covid and I didn't blog about it).

So the concept for this form of dining is that they put a card on the table that has a green side and a red side.  They will keep bringing over various BBQ meats if your card is green.  When you want to throw in the towel, you turn it to red.  But before even getting to the meats, you can help yourself to the Salad Bar, that also featured other dishes such as beans & rice, sauteed mushrooms and paella.  Nothing out-of-the-ordinary here.  Be careful of how much you eat because it just fills up space in your stomach that could otherwise be used for meat...

Yet, even before the meat, we got the requisite sides to any Brazilian BBQ meal in the Fried Banana and the Tapioca Flour Cheese Buns (Pao de Queijo).  The fried bananas were rather starchy and not that sweet.  For me, I enjoy them this way (almost like plantains) rather than overly ripe ones.  As for the buns, they were chewy and gooey due to the tapioca flour and also the amount of cheese inside.

About that meat, the first one that came to our table was the NY Striploin.  Now this is usually my favourite cut of meat, but this was not as tender as we would've preferred.  It was, however, beautifully medium-rare, which meant it was juicy.  Despite that, it was rather tough and we didn't have that much fun eating it.  Lots of meat flavour though while the exterior was nicely salted.

Now the Picanha (or Top Sirloin Cap) was much more tender, despite not being as sexy as a NY steak.  This was also done medium-rare, hence it was juicy and moist.  The fat cap did help offer up some pretty delicious meat flavour as well.  Even though we got a thick slice from our server, it still cut easily and was easy to chew.  Once again, this was well-salted.

Another decent cut of meat was the Ribeye.  As you can see in the picture, it was also perfectly medium-rare.  You can also see on this cut, the large salt crystals on the outside.  This was also rather juicy, yet decently rested, so that it didn't leak all over our plate.  This was fairly tender and only second to the Picanha.  Of course, this was better than the striploin.

One of our favourite cuts of meat wasn't beef at all.  Rather, it was the Bacon-Wrapped Chicken featuring white breast meat.  We actually had this on 2 separate occasions and the second time, it was much more juicy and tender.  The smokiness and saltiness of the bacon really penetrated the chicken meat offering up impactful flavours.  In theory, it also kept the chicken moist and prevented juices from leaking out.

Although the Chicken Drumsticks should be more tender and juicy than the breast meat, it really wasn't.  That didn't mean they were dry, but they weren't that moist either.  However, the byproduct of being slightly overdone was that the skin was properly rendered and sported a golden brown sear.  The meat wasn't as aggressively seasoned, hence it as a bit bland tasting.  I didn't get a good picture of the Chicken Hearts, but they were one of our favourites being juicy and well-salted.

The worst cut of meat had to be the Pork as it was super dry and chewy.  This had a lot to do with the cut as it was super lean.  Secondly, this appeared to be put back on the BBQ (which is standard, to keep the meat warm and to cook the meat further as the middle portion is often less done).  To top things off, this was also lacking in seasoning, so we did a hard pass on the second go-around.

Another table favourite was the Slow-Cooked Beef Short Ribs.  Oh boy, these were so tender and fatty, that they practically melted-in-our-mouths.  Good thing the cooking process helped render the fat, so we were left with flavourful and well-seasoned meat.  Naturally, this was served on a platter and since we were sitting upstairs, it didn't make it up to us.  Rather, they sent us up a plate, showing that they remembered we were up there.

Even though Pork Sausages aren't the most sexy item to have here, they were still quite good.  They were well-charred on the outside without being burnt.  Nice smokiness and slight crispiness on the casing.  Inside, the meat was not overprocessed.  Instead, it was had good chunks of meat that was mixed well with just enough fat.  I found the sausages not that fatty.

Lastly, we had some slices of the Cinnamon Pineapple that was cooked enough so it was warm and juicy with the sugars activated.  The charred cinnamon on the outside was slightly sweet and smoky.  So I'm sure the biggest question you are wondering is: how does Rio compare to Fogo de  Chão?  Well, not well to be honest.  Fogo is superior in meat quality and selection.  However, Rio does hold the advantage of being considerably less expensive.  Furthermore, until Fogo opens up a location here (which is rumoured to be coming), there is no competition for Rio.

The Good:
- Only Brazilian BBQ in town
- Excellent service
- Fun eating

The Bad:
- Meat quality isn't the best
- Meat selection is limited 


Royal Palace Seafood Restaurant

There are some Chinese restaurants that have been around forever and continue to exist with their original names.  However, that is the exception in the Lower Mainland rather than the rule.  I'm sure this phenomenon happens in other places, but I'm focusing on the musical chairs of changing names of Chinese restaurants locally.  One of which is the current Royal Palace Seafood Restaurant on Hastings.  It started off as the popular International (or Gwok Jai), then Dung Sing Chin, then Tung Sing Chin and finally Van Dragon, where it closed not too long ago.  Seeing how I've tried every iteration of this place, we went for a quick Dim Sum lunch recently.

Now, it took a little longer than we thought because we ended up waiting for a table even though there was no lineup.  There seemed to be a shortage of staff and we were not attended to for a bit and then we had to wait for our table to be cleaned.  Looking over the menu, we noticed that the prices were not exactly expensive, but it wasn't that cheap either.  When the Steamed Shao Mai with fish roe hit the table, it made sense why it was priced at $9.38.  Instead of the usual 4 dumplings, we found 5 of them (that were quite large).  They were good with a good mix of bouncy processed pork along with chunks of meat.  There was shrimp that were properly textured as well.  Seasoning was on point and overall, these were solid dumplings.

I was so excited about eating, I forgot to take a picture of the Shrimp Dumplings (Ha Gau), but luckily, it was in the background of the Rice Rolls with Crispy Bean Curd Skin and Fish Paste.  Once again, the ha gau came in a set of 5.  These were solid with medium-thick dumpling skin which had good elasticity.  Inside, the shrimp filling was meaty with a sweet snap.  Seasoning was a little light though, but we could taste was sesame oil.  It needed a bit more salt.  As for the rice roll, it was thin and delicate with some chew.  Inside, the filling was crispy and the fish paste had a nice rebound.

We also got the Seafood Congee for the kids and they enjoyed it.  We found exactly 2 each of the prawns, scallops and fish.  All of them were cooked properly where the fish was flaky and moist while the prawns were large and had a meaty snap.  The star of the show was the huge scallops which were buttery and sweet.  The congee base itself was very smooth with a medium viscosity.  It was seasoned enough where we didn't need to add anything (other than white pepper).

The kids wanted BBQ Pork Buns and well, whatever they want, they get...  Good choice though as these featured a fluffy bun that was lightly sweet and soft.  Inside, the BBQ pork filling was fairly lean with only some fatty pieces.  The glaze was typical sweet with some savoury elements.  We liked how there was enough of it that it helped flavour the rest of the bun.

For myself, I had to get the Beef Tripe & Tendon in Special Sauce.  Not being very descriptive, the special sauce was sweet with some garlickiness.  Both the tripe and tendon had soaked up the flavours from the braising.  However, they were cooked a bit too much where the tripe was rather soft while the tendon was bordering on melting.  However, with that being said, I much prefer this than these being chewy.

Another dish for me (mainly) was the Bean Curd Wraps with enoki mushroom.  Unlike many other versions I've had, the bean curd skin was actually rather chewy and somewhat hard.  Now you would think this is a negative, but in fact, it was rather appealing with a good mouth-feel.  The chewiness gave way to a juicy pork filling that was tender, yet at the same time exhibited a good meaty rebound.  It was mildly seasoned, but there was enough starch-thickened sauce to help things out.

Back to the kids, they had to get their favourite in the Deep Fried Garlic Spring Rolls.  Another solid offering where the outer wrapper was crunchy and easy on the grease.  It was wrapped somewhat tightly where it was full of shrimp.  The shrimp were cooked just enough (being juicy) where there was still a cold-water crunch.  They didn't ease up on the garlic as we could get a burst of flavour in each bite.

Lastly, we got the Rice Casserole with Spareribs and Chicken Feet.  We found the rice to be nicely dry and chewy.  Hence, even when topped with wet ingredients and doused with sweetened soy, it did not get soggy.  As you can see, there was quite a bit of spareribs on top.  They were tender while still having a chew.  Seasoning was mild, but it was enough.  The chicken foot (singular) was pretty good where the cartilage and fat underneath were tender.  We didn't end up having dessert as we were pretty full.  Portions were fair and the quality of food was overall good.  We would have no problem coming back in the future.

The Good:
- Above average eats
- Decent portions
- Okay service, but see below

The Bad:
- It wasn't as if service wasn't friendly, but there just wasn't enough of it (kind of the theme these days with all businesses)
- A little pricey, but portions reflect it


Dolar Shop (Burnaby)

It may be a surprise for many, but this is the first time I'm posting on the Dolar Shop.  It isn't as if I didn't have the opportunity to do so, especially since they opened a location in Burnaby at Station Square.  However, there are so many places to eat and frankly, so little time.  Well, we did finally make it with the whole family including my parents.  Unlike the Richmond location, the one in Burnaby is more compact and less opulent.  So if you desire a bit more space as well as nicer seating arrangements, then you should head out to their other location.  For me, I didn't want to drive that far and besides, they have covered parking at Station Square.

For those who do not know, diners choose their individual hot pot broths and do not share a big pot in the middle of the table.  They do, however, share the a la carte ingredients ordered by a tablet.  With that being said, they do have lunch specials that are individualized and also, if you are not one to share, you can order things for yourself only.  We ended up with the following soup bases: Black Truffle Mushroom, Pork Leg Bone, Tomato and Exquisite Silver Soup.  For myself and Viv, we had a half & half pot each in the Szechuan & Tomato and the Szechuan & Chicken.  We found the tomato as our favourite as it was super flavourful and tomatoey with depth.  The Szechuan had a kick with numbing spiciness.  Even though it was the most expensive at $16.99, the truffle mushroom was mostly mushroom forward.  The best deal was the exquisite silver soup because it included a side plate of chicken and tripe for $10.99.

Off to the good stuff,
we had the Boneless Short Plate which was very fatty.  However, that is what made it super buttery and of course, tender and full of flavour.  Even though it was only AA beef, the meat still ate really well. Hands down, the most excellent dish we had was the Hand-Cut Prime Short Rib.  These were fairly thick-cut, but oh-so-buttery soft.  The marbling ensured the meat was tender and moist while providing plenty of beefy flavour.  We would've ordered another plate of these but we were looking for more variety.   At the end, we added the Wagyu Short Plate and that was also very good.  I would say it wasn't as buttery soft as the short rib, but it was quite close.  Again, plenty of fat to make it taste good too.

In terms of seafood, the Fresh Ling Cod Slices and Jumbo Scallops were top notch.  Served on a pile of ice, the ling cod was indeed super fresh and great quality.  When cooked in the broth, the fish generally stayed intact and came out buttery soft.  It was naturally sweet with the taste of the sea (with no fishiness).  Oh those scallops were a real treat as they were jumbo as described.  With just a quick cook in the boiling broth, they came out soft and tender.  They were super sweet and had the beautiful taste of scallop.  Near the end of the meal, we added The Dolar Shop Shrimp Pâté presented as a big ball in a small metal pot.  It was hand formed (with a spoon) into balls and placed directly into the broth.  These were fantastic with a wealth of shrimp flavour and texture. There was an appealing snap to go with the softer and springier mousse binding portions.

With the meats, we also added the Boneless Chicken Leg and the Kurobuta Pork Shoulder Collar.  Now don't scoff at these selections even though they aren't as sexy as the beef.  Due to the marinade, the chicken was soft and tender, even if it was overcooked.  It kept moist throughout, even the leaner portions of the thigh meat.  Furthermore, it was nicely seasoned as is, even without dipping it into sauce.  As for the pork shoulder, it was sliced thin and cooked up really quickly.  It was meatier in texture than any of the other meats, but was still soft and easy to chew. 
We also got the Hand-Crafted Noodles that came in a plate of three.  These turned out in accordance to how much you cook them.  I like mine al dente, and I cooked them as such (with the eye test).  They were chewy and once again, tasted great due to the delicious tomato broth.

One of the most surprising items was The Dolar Shop Mung Bean Noodles served as small sheets.  We liked them so much, we ordered them twice!  These cooked up relatively quickly and it was really dependent what texture we personally wanted.  So it could range from chewy (in a good way) to completely soft.  For me, I liked them chewy while soaked in the delicious broth.    Unlike some versions, the Fried Gluten was soft and cooked up fast.  I would've preferred them to be chewier.  Of course we had to get our veggies in the form of Napa Cabbage, Spinach and Taiwanese Cauliflower.  Oh, the Quail's Eggs were not veggies, but hey we like them.  Things were fresh and we particularly enjoyed the cauliflower the best due to the firm texture that had a nice crunch.

Of course we can't forget about the Sauce Bar, where you can make your custom sauce for your hot pot.  This was not as elaborate as some places, especially HaiDiLao and in fact, was a bit smaller than Liuyishou.  Despite this, it had all the necessary items including some kimchi, grapes and peanuts.  At the end of our meal, we were served Soft-Serve Ice Cream in waffle cones.  This was a sweet and cold finish to a boiling hot meal.  We could've had another cone if we wanted too!  In the end, our experience at the Dolar Shop was a good one where the quality and service were top-notch.  Prices reflected that fact though.  If I had to compare, I would say Liuyishou would be the better value pick, while HaiDiLao has a better sauce bar and more options.  You can't go wrong with any of them and I would say that the Dolar Shop has the premium individual hot pot thing all to their own.

The Good:
- Quality ingredients
- Excellent service
- Individual hot pots

The Bad:
- Sauce bar is a bit basic

- On the pricier side
- This location is more cramped and less opulent than the Richmond one


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