Sherman's Food Adventures: Dragon Bowl @ Club Kitchen

Dragon Bowl @ Club Kitchen

Back when I first visited Dragon Bowl out in New West, I was impressed with the home-style food they served.  Things were not overly greasy nor salty, which in my mind, made things a bit healthier.  Furthermore, the portion size was more than enough for my appetite as you could choose your protein, carb, sauce and side items.  The most important thing of all, is that the food was delicious in my opinion.  Now, we can get the same tasty and well-appointed rice and noodle bowls from Club Kitchen in Downtown Vancouver.  Club Kitchen is a commissary concept where a collection of different restaurants dish up eats for eat-in, take-out and delivery.  We paid them a visit to try out some bowls and drinks.

Before we got to the bowls, we tried 3 different drinks including Original Black Tea, Peach Black Tea and Lemon Black Tea.  My favourite of the bunch was the lemon as it was tangy and lightly sweet with a fairly light tea flavour.  To illustrate the home-style food at Dragon Bowl, you don't have to look much further than the Daily Soup.  The one we tried was daikon & carrot with chicken.  It was so clear and clean with natural sweetness and essence.  It wasn't salty and the ingredients were honest.

Onto the bowls, we had varied selection to try all the different meats, carbs and sides.  On that note, the way you construct your bowl is exactly choosing a meat, a carb, 3 sides and sauce.  Braised egg is extra.  So our first bowl was the Alberta Beef atop rice with black pepper sauce.  The 3 sides were sprouts, cabbage and shredded potato.  This was a good combination of components as the rice went well with the robust beef that was slightly peppery.  Veggies were fresh and kept things light.

One of their classic meats and personally my favourite, is the Lamb Shoulder.  This was on top of white noodles and the 3 sides were celery/carrots, bean curd and wood ear mushroom.  I personally would've either chosen white rice or yellow noodles instead due to the robust nature of the lamb.  It was mildly gamy and benefited from the spicy dragon sauce as it could stand up to the lamb.  The chewiness of the bean curd and crunch from the wood ear were good matches.  I would probably sub shredded potato for the veggies.

The Beef Brisket, being the most pricey of all the proteins (but only comes in large), is the only option that includes a braised egg (at no extra cost).  The brisket was more like beef finger meat, but that was a good thing as that is usually very tender and meaty.  That it was and the fat had been rendered down quite well.  Each piece had soaked up all of the braising liquid and hence, was delicious on its own.  This came with rice, which is the best match for the meat.

So far, I haven't mentioned that the bowls come in 3 sizes with the smallest coming in really inexpensive at $9.88.  This includes the beef, vegan, pork and in this case Boneless Chicken Thigh with black bean sauce.  The base was rice (which is not extra charge) while the 3 sides were bean curd, sprouts and wood ear.  This bowl in the smallest size (without the egg) would really be $9.88!  The chicken was tender and moist while the black bean sauce was rather mild, not being very salty.

With the Pork Tenderloin, it came with a mushroom sauce and sat atop white noodles.  I thought this was another example of how home-style the food is.  The pork was tender, but mildly-seasoned while the mushroom sauce was not overly salty with the natural earthiness of the mushroom coming through.  The rice noodles were slippery and was only slightly seasoned by the sauce.  Add in the 3 sides and this was not very restaurant-like.  Some would argue that there isn't enough flavour, but somehow I don't mind it because it feels healthy.

Our last bowl featured Jumbo Shrimp with dragon sauce atop steamed yellow noodles.  Yes, jumbo shrimp is an oxymoron, but really, they were a decent size.  The texture was meaty with some rebound.  Being non-spicy and slightly sweet, the dragon sauce didn't interfere with the shrimp flavour.  I thought the yellow noodles were quite good being chewy and a good match for the sauce but maybe not the protein.  So as you can see, the food at Dragon Bowl isn't necessarily complex.  Rather, it is home-style food that is not overly greasy nor salty.  You can literally eat this often and not feel bad about it.  Considering bowls start at $9.88, you can eat this every day without breaking the bank.  It is hard to find good values these days, but Dragon Bowl does offer a great mix of good nutritious food at a reasonable price.

*All food and beverages were complimentary for this blog post*

The Good:
- Reasonably-priced
- Fair amount of food for that price
- Appears to be healthier than other options

The Bad:

- Some might find the flavours a bit muted


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