We went here because of a "free xiao long bao scratch coupon" found in a Chinese newspaper.
We ordered our food, and everything came in a timely fashion. Food was very good and portions were not bad. Prices were higher but not out of line, although the xiao long bao was indecently expensive at $5.50 for six (compared to $3.95 to $4.50 at most comparable restaurants.) We didn't think much of it due to the coupon.
But then that's where the trouble started. We presented the coupone when the bill came. The staff said we were supposed to present the coupon when ordering, and they quickly pointed out that it was in the fine print. I asked what is the difference between before and after the order, and they couldn't give me an answer. Is the service going to be different? Or the food? What? Give me something! But they couldn't. For a lousy $5.50, they were doing well at pissing off a good customer. Before I know it, three staff members surrounded me saying I shouldn't have read the fine print (when there are many words on the coupon).
I gave up and took out my Visa card, but that's when the second issue came up. They wouldn't accept visa for any order under $50! What?! I know this is not an uncommon practice but the minimum is usually $10, maybe $20, but $50???
I may be wrong but this is supposed to be illegal, or at least a violation to the credit card agreement. I googled and found this:
"According to the agreement signed between a merchant and Visa or Mastercard, the merchant cannot have a “minimum charge” policy. You might have seen signs posted in bars and take-out restaurants saying “$10 minimum charge for credit cards”. This is a blatant violation of the merchant agreement; click here to learn how to report merchants who violate this rule to Visa, Mastercard and American Express."
So I can only say that these people are unethical, cheap, and just don't know how to do good business. DON'T go there!
I want to address the service in this restaurant right off the bat. There was a disturbing lack of hospitality. This is endemic to many asian cuisine restaurants in town and is often simply accepted as a fact of life. This place hits a new low bar. In my case we went for a BC Day lunch and experienced tasty, competently prepared food but thing that really bothered me was the utterly humourless service.
Nobody looked happy to be working there. The utmost minimum was done to make us feel welcome. The servers never smiled and one in particular was so cold and curt that I felt by the end of the meal that we must have done something to offend her. Perhaps our mere presence as customers was enough for do that! Dishes were dropped at our table with nary a word. They seemed to expect us to shift plates around on the table in order to make room for the next dish instead of, you know, actually doing it themselves. When we requested some leftovers to be packed away, the grumpy server practically snapped at my dad for taking too long to explain what he wanted. This is unacceptable.
Nobody thanked us when the bill was brought to our table. Nobody thanked us when we got up to leave.
Look, if I'm to believe in this day and age the restaurant biz is struggling like the rest of us, I'd like to see them stepping up a bit and at least pretending to make an effort at customer service.
The food is quite good and at fair prices. But we're in Richmond and there are a gaggle of other places that service great food at good prices and where you'll be at least given the time of day.
Today I ordered several items for takeout from Shanghai No. 1, including Eggplant with Chili Garlic Sauce. ($6.50) When I arrived home, I discovered that the eggplant was too old (not prepared today) and had already gone bad (sour.) I returned to the restaurant one hour later after eating the other food. I was already full.
I asked the staff for a refund but she refused. She offered a replacement item. I said that I was already full. I asked for a credit for next time. She refused. I argued a bit more. She gave me back the food. I became very angry that they chose to cheat me with bad food and threw the food in the garbage and left.
The restaurant's food is generally very good, although a bit too salty. The other food I ate tonight was good: Dan Dan noodle, gluten with mushrooms, veggie dumplings, wild vegetable with diced bean curd.
I have previously eaten at the restaurant about six times. I probably go there at least once a month. Before today I was there last week.
If I had eaten in the restaurant today and complained about the food, they would have let me cancel. But since they already have my $6.50 they have a policy of not refunding the money.
They can prevent money from leaving the restaurant, but they can't force customers to bring money in. I know they really hate to give money back after they have it, but it is a good way to keep customers as repeat customers. They were willing to throw away my future money over $6.50 of sour food.
Went there last night for the first time to try out this newest shanghai restaurant in Richmond (formerly ALSO restaurant). Ordered a couple of dishes and also a sour 'n' spicy soup. The waitress who took the order was very very very rude (even though I was polite) and it was clear she didn't like working there.
The food came quickly. The serving size is alright but the worst part is everything they serve was either too salty or sour. Yes, even the sour 'n' spicy soup was too sour!!! For the $10.95 I paid for this soup, I expected more than 2 pieces of shrimps and scallops. Most places I go to only charge around $7 and is loaded with seafood ingredients.
The manager there is a "dreamer" -- I ordered a bowl of rice and after 10 minutes, I was still waiting for it and had to ask for it again.
Overall, the atmosphere and the late-night mini menu (after 9pm) are the saving grace for this new establishment. There is nothing special about this poor-service restaurant except for it being another "new" place to try out and then forget about it. I definitely won't be going back.
Beware, they don't take credit card for anything less than $40 with no mention of this anywhere in the menu or restaurant.
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