By Sherman Chan,
Special to The Post
Nothing says brunch in Vancouver like Dim Sum with family.
The former Kingsway location of Grand Buffet is now occupied by Lee Garden Seafood Restaurant. I decided to visit the new restaurant with my family to try their Dim Sum service.
The space has been renovated to feature spacious seating arrangements. Tastefully appointed with floor-to-ceiling windows, there is no shortage of natural light.
We began with three orders of rice noodle rolls including the Donut Rice Noodle Roll, Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll, and Mushroom Noodle Roll. We found the rice noodle to be thin and soft, while retaining some elasticity. The salty donut was crispy and not greasy, and the shrimp was meaty rather than having a buttery snap. A dusting of flowering chives was a nice addition to the dish. The mushroom rice noodle roll was earthy and flavourful and included shitake, button and enoki mushrooms.
To make us feel better about the indulgent meal, we ordered Stir-Fried Pea Shoots . Imagine our surprise when our greens dish ended up being on the greasier side. On the other hand, it was cooked correctly and seasoned just enough that we could still taste the vegetable.
Naturally, we moved from veggies to something fried. Piping hot and crunchy, the Shrimp Spring Rolls were obviously fried at the proper temperature as there wasn't much grease. The shrimp filling was garlicky, but lacked snap. Much like the rice noodle roll, it was meaty in texture.
Onto something a bit different. We tried the Bean Curd Sheet Rolls in soup. Normally, these are filled with pork and served in a thickened diluted oyster-based sauce. Instead, the filling was fish mousse and sitting in broth. The light fish filling had a rebound texture and was sweet and lightly salted. With a good amount of greens in the mix, it broke up the monotony of the mousse. Next, we had the Phoenix Talons (chicken feet). With six pieces, this was a substantial portion, but they were somewhat overdone as the cartilage underneath was very soft. The flavours were good with a lot of garlic and a touch of spice.
Of course we couldn’t leave without ordering dumplings. With the shrimp dumplings, we found the skin to be just right; chewy but not doughy. The filling featured whole shrimp that were meaty with only the slightest of snap. It was well seasoned with a pleasing hint of sesame oil. They weren't too careful with the sui mai as one of them was completely missing tobiko on the top. As a whole, they were chewy with a touch of rebound. In terms of taste, the natural pork flavour was dominant with a touch of sweetness, but it was missing something. Perhaps more shitake, salt or shrimp would help the dish.
We also tried the Tripe and Tendon. The tripe was soft with some chewiness and gaminess. They should have done a better job rinsing them. As for the tendon, they were on the stiffer side, which meant it needed to be cooked more. The dish was well seasoned with a nice amount of garlic and ginger.
The Steamed Pork Spareribs didn't have any textural issues. They were chewy with a moist bounce, and had minimal fat and cartilage. The seasoning was also quite impactful with garlic and peppers.
In an unusual twist, we ordered three desserts, partly because my daughter ate an entire Mango Pudding by herself. The mango pudding was more gelatin than pudding, but it did have some mango essence and wasn't overly sweet. Next, we had the Steamed Custard Buns, which were fluffy and light. The custard filling wasn't too sweet, which made it bearable to eat. Finally, the Egg Tarts were flaky but a touch too soft. The custard was silky and light, and easy on the sugar.
Overall, for a new restaurant, Lee Garden held its own in terms of Dim Sum service. We may finally have a good, higher-class Chinese restaurant in the Edmonds area of Burnaby.
Sherman Chan is the #1 ranked food blogger on the Vancouver portal of Urbanspoon.com. Read more of his reviews at www.shermansfoodadventures.com.
Lee Garden Seafood Restaurant
#110 – 6401 Kingsway | (604) 428-8885
• Pleasing decor with spacious seating
• Decent eats
• Decent service
• Shrimp could be prepared better
• Prices are on the higher side