I happen to be in Vancouver this week and had the opportunity to try out one of the restaurants that is partaking in the first ever Signature Dish Dining Festival, which runs from November 1 to November 18, 2011. As part of the annual Chinese Restaurant Awards, they have introduced a new component this year, the Signature Dish Dining Festival. For this festival, 18 restaurants in the Greater Vancouver area have been featuring set Dinner Menus showcasing some of their signature dishes as well as some new innovative dishes. My friend wanted to organize a small group dinner and we decided to try The Jade Seafood Restaurant in Richmond as we had heard some good reviews about it. Since there were six of us, we ordered the Dinner Menu Set for Six.
Dinner Menu Set For Six $150
Baked Oyster & Enoki with Amoy Special Sauce
Healthy Pumpkin Seafood Soup
Sautéed B.C. Dungeness Crabs & Mixed Mushrooms with Amoy Premium Soy Sauce
Alberta Beef Brisket Braised in Amoy Light Soy Sauce
Award Winning Smoked Grandpa Chicken (Whole) (2010 & 2011 Critics’ Choice Signature Dish Award)
Poached Fish & Chinese Cabbage in Soup
Pan-fried Guangdong Chan’s Village Rice Noodles
We started with the Alberta Beef Brisket Braised in Amoy Light Soy Sauce. The brisket was flavourful and relatively tender. But I wouldn’t say it’s the most memorable beef brisket I’ve ever had. Personally, I still prefer the version I tried at Good Choice Restaurant earlier this summer.
Our next course was the Healthy Pumpkin Seafood Soup. Normally, I’m not always a fan of pumpkin and initially, I wasn’t sure what to expect for a Pumpkin Seafood Soup. I was impressed with how tasty this soup was. The soup was slightly sweet and reminded me of butternut squash soup. The soup was silky and smooth. The seafood consisted of perfectly cooked shrimp and tender slices of fish. This Pumpkin Seafood Soup turned out to be one of my favourite courses of this dinner.
Our third course was the Sautéed B.C. Dungeness Crabs & Mixed Mushrooms with Amoy Premium Soy Sauce. We were impressed with the presentation of this dish as they took the time to recompose the pieces into the actual shape of a crab rather than just randomly pile them on the plate. Flavour-wise, I really enjoyed how this dish was prepared. This is the first time I’ve had crab fried with mixed mushrooms and I thought the flavours were really tasty. However, we were not impressed that the crab meat was sticking to the shell. I’m not sure why that was the case but we had a really hard time getting the meat out.
For the fourth course, we had the Baked Oysters & Enoki with Amoy Special Sauce. Again, this is not a very common preparation/pairing for oysters. The oysters were cooked well and the dish was flavourful. I thought the dish tasted ok but it didn’t have much of a wow factor for me.
Our fifth course consisted of Poached Fish & Chinese Cabbage in Soup. Flavour-wise, this was a very mild and delicate dish that some may even interpret as being bland. The dish was correctly executed as the boneless fish slices were tender, the tofu was silky, the Chinese cabbage was toothsome, and the vermicelli in the soup was al dente. I can appreciate it for what it’s worth but I wouldn’t go out of my way to order my fish prepared in this way.
Our next course was the Award Winning Smoked Grandpa Chicken. This was my other favourite dish of the evening. The chicken was perfectly cooked so the meat was tender and silky. I loved the subtle smokiness of the chicken so I could totally understand why this was an award-winning dish.
For our final savory course, we had the Pan-fried Guangdong Chan’s Village Rice Noodles. The rice noodles in this dish are not the traditional flat rice noodle. They are a special rice noodle called Chan Chuen Fun, which directly translates to “rice noodle from the Chan village” and hence, the name of this dish. This special rice noodle has the appearance similar to Cheung Fun (rice noodle roll) but has no stuffing. It is translucent in appearance and has a slight springy, chewy texture to it. More commonly, I’ve seen these noodles steamed along with spareribs and black bean sauce as a dish for dim sum. The texture of these rice noodles lends itself well to absorbing the flavours from the sauce. This is one of the rare times I’ve actually seen a pan-fried preparation of it instead of the typical steaming.
The Special Dessert consisted of a taro coconut tapioca dessert soup. Personally, I wouldn’t exactly consider this as a “special” dessert soup as it is actually quite common and I’ve had it many times before. I didn’t mind as it is actually one of my favourites. I like it much better than the generic red bean sweet soup that is typically served at Chinese restaurants.
Overall, this was a good meal and the service was very good. I thought some of the dishes were better executed than others. The highlights for me were the Pumpkin Seafood Soup and the Smoked Grandpa Chicken. I would consider this meal to be sort of Chinese fine dining. It’s nice to see they’ve tried to be somewhat experimental or innovative in some of the preparations.
The Jade Seafood Restaurant
8511 Alexandra Road