Located in Central Richmond on Odlin Crescent, Negative Space Chinese Restaurant offers a wide variety of Chinese food, ranging from traditional, tapas-style to fusion dishes. Food quality and creativity are outstanding, with good service and ambiance to boot. I recommend this restaurant to food lovers for all occasions.
Negative Space... yes, that indeed is the name of the Restaurant. Usually owners want to creative a positive vibe, but perhaps it is part of a marketing scheme to attract the attention of potential patrons. Nonetheless, the name did not affect my experience and the rating in this review.
Food (5): A glance down the menu will leave most unsuspecting first comers a bit overwhelmed, as was the case with our first visit. The menu is packed with all kinds of food, from cold appetizers to tapas to grilled bbq skewers to seafood mains and hot pot, just to name a few. Worried about the "jack of all trades, master of none" syndrome, we asked for the waitress to make recommendations. First we had a cold tofu dish, which was simply tofu served cold with bonito flakes and sauce. It was refreshing but nothing spectacular. Next was spicy clams which came with a burner underneath. The clams were huge, very tasty and fresh, in the sense that the flavoring was strong but overpowering. What followed was the deep fried tiger prawns, and oh my were they delicious. Cooked and seasoned to perfection, the shell was so crispy and flavorful that it didn't make sense to peel it off. The flesh itself was very juicy and had a good texture to it.The seasoning used had a distinct but unique flavor that kept me wanting more. Moving on to entrees, we first had the whole lobster with cheese sauce. Again, the lobster was cooked perfectly, retaining its juices and texture. What made this dish special was the cheese sauce, which was rich yet delightful, full of aromas and surprisingly went very well with lobster. The marriage of cheese and lobster makes this a one of a kind dish. Up next was the award-winning spicy crab, which was highly recommended to us by the waitress. The entire crab sat beautifully on the dish, covered with spices and seasoning, creating a feast for our eyes... then our noses were penetrated with a complex and mouthwatering aroma. It looked like a sichuan dish, as it was covered with dried red chili, peppercorn and sesame, but I don't recall ever tasting a dish like this in a sichuan restaurant. The flavor was complex and intense, but easy and enjoyable to ingest. The spiciness is not overpowering and plays a nice complementing role to the crab which, again, was cooked to perfection. To sum it up, the ingredients were fresh, the creativity is inspiring, and the execution was flawless.
Service (4): We were attended to by the manager who was very helpful throughout the ordering process. The waitress who served us was prompt, friendly and overall quite useful. Not much to comment here other than that the service was a positive and didn't take away from the dining experience,
Value (4): There are many ways you can look at value. For what we enjoyed, I think the value was more than fair. It's much cheaper than higher-end establishments, but the bottom line is that you pay for what you get. I'm sure you can have a $10 meal here if you want, but you can also spend much more if you want to enjoy their seafood and alcoholic beverages, which I might add, are fairly priced.
Ambiance (4): There is a black and white color scheme and some decorative touches throughout. The decor is nicely done, kept clean but leaning on the small side. Might be an ideal place to host parties or gatherings of 35 people and less. Casual and lay back setting.
What more can I say other than to go and try it for yourself. Contrary to what the name suggests, you might find yourself having a positive experience at Negative Space.