Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant

April 10th, 2008 · No Comments

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Target 6: Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant 001Address: 3711 No. 3 Road, Richmond BC (map)
Phone: 604-232-0816
Dim Sum Menu: Page 1; Page 2; Checkoff Sheet

Small $3.50
Medium $4.25
Large $4.75
Special $6.25
Kitchen $6.95

Tea: 80c per head

Visit date: March 30th, 2008
Visit time: 11:00 AM


Jason’s ratings –

Steamed dumplings: 75% or 26.25 of 35 possible points
Steamed other: 80% or 12/15
Fried & deep fried: 75% or 11.25/15
Baked & sweet: 85% or 12.75/15
Rice-noodle-veg: 80% or 8/10
Other factors (service, atmosphere, etc): 85% or 8.5/10

Jason’s total: 78.75/100 or 78.75%

Des’ ratings –

Steamed dumplings: 80% or 28/35
Steamed other: 75% or 11.25/15
Fried & deep fried: 75% or 11.25/15
Baked & sweet: 85% or 12.75/15
Rice-noodle-veg: 75% or 7.5/10
Other factors (service, atmosphere, etc): 85% or 8.5/10

Des’ total: 79.25/100 or 79.25%

Total Score (averaged across both raters, all variables) = 79/100 or 79%

Notes from Des:

Sea Harbour is widely considered one of the superior dim sum restaurants in the Vancouver area, offering a high quality at a commensurate price – per dish, it is certainly one of the most expensive. I dined at Sea Harbour a couple of times a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot, so we thought we’d arrange for our dim sum team to visit to see whether it was still up to par. 016Being a more upmarket establishment (serving chopsticks; nicely upholstered chairs; gilded, though not unduly garish, décor), at Sea Harbour dim sum must be ordered from the menu although a few ladies roam the restaurant tempting diners with their trays of delights. One such matronly figure charmed us with some of the buns for which Sea Harbour is justly famous: the ‘Baked milk and egg yolk paste bun’ (nai xiang xueshan bao). As with other Chinese restaurants, the English names of the dishes here are unimaginatively descriptive; in contrast with their Chinese counterparts which are often poetic – if not puzzlingly mythic – and evoke a more appetizing curiosity. This ‘Snowy Mountain’ bun had a surprisingly creamy sweetness given its somewhat stodgy appearance. We also tried ‘Sea Harbour’s No. 1 Bun’, aka ‘Baked barbeque pork bun’ (Haigang di yi bao), so well known that it has even be known to make an unusual appearance on their Lunar New Year banquet menu. This baked bun with its savoury morsels was as tasty as I remembered it.

Among more standard classics, I thought that the ‘Har gau shrimp dumplings’ were fresh but not exceptional. The ‘Fried pork dumplings’ (ham shui gok; an xia xian shui jiao) were passable though the pork mince filling was almost redundantly meagre. The ‘Pan-fried rice noodles with soy sauce’ (shi you huang changfen) were nicely fried and well flavoured, so that I wasn’t even tempted to add chilli oil. The ‘Pan fried crepe with curry sauce’ (kali jian bobing) proved to be a light pancake fried just right, although I could not understand why it was served with a less than tasty curry sauce. (It reminded me of many Fish and Chip shops in England.) For Sea Harbour’s take on steamed ribs, we went for the ‘Steamed sparerib with yam noodles’ (shi zhi yusi zheng paigu). The meat was tender and the yam was steamed soft though overall it lacked flavour, especially considering that it was meant to be in a black bean sauce. The noodle bites were an unusual complement though. 023For other less common dishes, the ‘Charcoal grilled pork cheek’ (tan shao zhu jing ji) was succulent with a smoky sweetness, if a tad oily. On the other hand, both the ‘Steamed assorted mushrooms bean curd roll’ (jin gu fupi bao) and the ‘Steamed cloud ear and vegetable dumpling’ (yun er su cai jiao) were ably steamed – the former bringing out the soft sponginess of the bean curd roll, the latter allowing the delicate dumpling’s wrapping to match its crunchy contents) – though would have benefited from a richer flavour. Such dim sum are, however, meant to be lighter dishes and afford a welcome balance. Yet I did greatly enjoy the ‘Steamed minced chicken with tea tree mushroom’ (hua ji cha shu fu) which was gently steamed but with a perfect blend of fresh flavour, texture, and colour. The most surprising dim sum was perhaps the ‘Deep-fried mashed taro cake with scallop’ (pu zhi li yu daizi). While certainly scoring high on innovation, I didn’t think that the scallop went well with its flaky fried taro encasing, especially when its innate sweetness was already mauled by a curry-like sauce. Wondering whether the chefs were trying to use up reserves of curry sauce, I then saw that the Chinese read ‘taro scallops in Portuguese sauce’. Having enjoyed Macanese dishes using this sweetly piquant sauce before, I decided that both the scallop and the taro had been cheated by this experiment.

Still, it’s great to see chefs experimenting with dim sum and it’s only to be expected that some concoctions will be more successful than others. Overall, I highly recommend Sea Harbour, for its classics and its less common features, as represented by the two sweet dim sum with which we rounded off the meal. The ‘Baked custard egg tarts’ came perfectly baked, fresh out of the oven, matched by the
‘Chilled sweet chrysanthemum pudding’ (shuang hua juhua gao) with its delicate fragrance. In my view, Sea Harbour is one of the best dim sum spots in town and I look forward to visiting again.

Sea Harbour on Urbanspoon

Tags: Chinese · Dim Sum

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