I had the unpleasant pleasure of dining here with my bf's parents and reletives which brought back some even more unpleasent memories.... but onto that later. I'll have to try to give an objective review first about the most recent experience.
Of all restaurants to order lobster, crab and those "fancier" chinese dishes, I do not understand why they chose to eat at East No.1 rather than a higher end restaurant for the same price. The food was mediocre and standard -- nothing to wow about but nothing to complain about either. Service was ok and the servers seemed to frequent our table more after we ordered drinks and other "add ons" to our bill. The washroom is gross. Do not go in there or you'll be sorry.
...and now for the reason why I hesitated to go back:
Last year my bf and I decided to host a larger party for both of our parents and reletives as kind of a meet and greet / family reunion thing. We had about 60 guests and booked this restaurant (at the request of the bf's dad because as he put it, "they let you smoke in here") The restaurant quoted us $850 per table for the banquet including delicacies, etc. and required a $500 deposit so they can bring in the seafood.
We gave them the deposit but called them back a day later to postpone the event date as some reletives could not book flights for the originally planned date. The owner (man) we spoke to was nice enough and we reached a compromise of getting $250 back in cash (refunded) and $250 gift certificate to be spent at the restaurant later.
The problem was when we went to pick up the money / certificate. The owner (woman -- probably the guy's wife) greeted us with a sneer and glared at us after I told her what we were there for. She jerked open the cash drawer and yanked some bills out to count out the $250. I sarcastically mentioned to my bf "I don't think they're very happy about it" and she says (in Cantonese) "of course I'm not happy. Here, here's your money. If you already booked it, you shouldn't cancel...."
First of all, what kind of customer service is that (especially if it was agreed upon on the phone, why complain now?) Second, it's not as if I called her a day before the event, I called her a day after I BOOKED it (with at least 1 month before the event date). I never even said I was cancelling; I was post poning. And third, shouldn't she realize that while she's refunded me $250, she just made another $250 by selling me a gift certificate? By exerting no effort whatsoever?
When we did finalize the event date, we decided against booking here because of that woman. We booked at King Fortune downtown (MY favorite restaurant -- too bad they've changed now); spent just $49 more per table ($899) and had food that was 10x better. Irony is that my bf's dad took the $250 certificate and spent over $400 with his friends at East 1. If that woman owner had the foresight to understand something called return business maybe she wouldn't have been so rude.
Will I be back? Only if you drag me kicking and screaming.
NOT recommended (you can say its because I have a personal vendetta against them or because I just don't think the food is good enough to over shadow their bad service)