Spicy Court Chinese Restaurant

April 28th, 2008 · No Comments

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Target 7: Spicy Court

spicy court extAddress: 5638 Cambie, #101 (map)
Phone: (604) 325-1189
Dim Sum Menu: Page 1; Page 2

Range from $2.95 to $6.95

Visit date: April 13th, 2008
Visit time: 11:00 AM


Jason’s ratings –

Steamed dumplings: 70% or 24.5 of 35 possible points
Steamed other: 70% or 10.5/15
Fried & deep fried: 70% or 10.5/15
Baked & sweet: 80% or 12/15
Rice-noodle-veg: 75% or 7.5/10
Other factors (service, atmosphere, etc): 75% or 7.5/10

Jason’s total: 72.5/100 or 72.5%

Des’ ratings –

Steamed dumplings: 70% or 24.5/35
Steamed other: 75% or 11.25/15
Fried & deep fried: 75% or 11.25/15
Baked & sweet: 70% or 10.5/15
Rice-noodle-veg: 70% or 7/10
Other factors (service, atmosphere, etc): 70% or 7/10

Des’ total: 71.5/100 or 71.5%

Total Score (averaged across both raters, all variables) = 72/100 or 72%

Notes from Jason:

Once the crown jewel of the bustling Cambie and 41st intersection, Spicy Court’s glamor has begun to fade a bit. It’s not the food, nor the value – it’s still one of the better bang-for-your-buck dim sum spots in Vancouver – no it’s Spicy Court’s unfortunate placement at an important junction for the new Canada Line. In fact, Spicy Court is no longer even visible from the street, hidden behind a wall of concrete and chain link. The owners are aware of this; they haven’t bothered maintaining the sign as of late, now reading, “Spicy Cou in Restrant,” which admittedly has a pretty cool ring to it. The difference shows inside the restaurant as well, as evidenced by several empty tables during the peak dim hours, a sorry sight for a restaurant that once had several customers waiting for these tables.

But the more germane question, at least for the purposes of this author’s stomach is how has the food fared? Pretty well.

spicy court braised beefThe dim sum standards at Spicy Court (e.g., siu mai, har gao) have retained their quality, but are still nothing spectacular. The siu mai, for example, tastes of fresh shrimp and pork, but they are packed a bit too densely resulting in a slightly chewier-than-optimal texture. Fried items are a mixed bag. I enjoyed the delicately deep fried eggplant and the deep fried tofu boasted an excellent topping of cilantro, hot chili and garlic. I was less impressed with the football-shaped dumplings of pork and shrimp – they were crispy yes, but fillings were almost criminally stingy in proportion. Of the more unusual dishes, we tried a the boiled Sichuan-style beef. This dish was nothing at all what I expected, tasting more like a classic version of corned beef and cabbage, with a spicy kick. It was interesting and certainly something I would order again, if only I hadn’t ceded full ordering privileges to Des in the last “Some Dim Sum Sundays” power struggle.

The desserts at Spicy Court are a tick above average, featuring a competent egg tart and an intriguing (and delicious) gelatin creation with wolfberries scattered throughout.

Although its profile is somewhat lower, it appears Spicy Court is still a fine option for price-conscious dim summers. While it doesn’t have the more exotic options present at places like Sea Harbour and Fisherman’s Terrace, the prices are low and the dim sum is good quality. And on any given Sunday, that’s more than enough for me.

Spicy Court Chinese on Urbanspoon

Tags: Chinese · Dim Sum

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