When i eat chinese food, i split my judgment and reviews into 2 categories.
cateogry 1 is authentic chinese food.
category 2 is westernized chinese food.
i enjoy both categories, but when it comes to judgment, it's only fair to be specific. for dinesty, i judged it based on its authenticity because it's a restaurant that is reliant on such backgrounds and cookery. when you go to a westernized chinese restaurant, it is very apparent because you will get dishes that are mostly alien or uncommon in authentic chinese places.
anyways, to keep things "short", this place's cooking is solid and some of its dishes were quite good, especially it's small dim-sum style dishes.
for entrees, we were a bit disappointed in them because of lack of flavor and blandness.
we ordered a total of 7 things for lunch, with the bill coming to 60.00 total with tax and tip included. this to me was very reasonably priced. at 2 people for lunch, we ordered many items and had to pack at least 30% of them left over.
as for the dishes, we ordered the following:
- hot, sweet soy milk in a bowl
- chinese donut and pan fried shao bing
- crab flavored tofu
- rice cake with jie chai
- a triplet of shanghai style spring roll
- a peanut sauce, cucumber glass noodle with shredded chicken dish
- a basket of xiao long bao - soup dumplings with shrimp and vegetable stuffing
the soy milk was good and i wasn't too sure if they'd made it in-house or ordered in from central place.
my favorite was the shao-bing. it was just delicious. shao bing is kind of like puff pasty that's pan fried. you dip this in soy milk and it is absolutely scrumptious and heavenly.
crab flavored tofu used to be better during it's earlier debut days in richmond.
rice cake was bland. no flavor, not enough seasoning.
spring rolls were very tasty and well seasoned.
the peanut sauce glass noodle dish was also bland despite the freshness of the ingredients.
xiao long bao was a disappointment. there were no soup consomme in the dumplings, which is what gives the dish its name in the first place. the dumplings were just dry inside - shriveled up poor little things.
overall, i'd eat here as a daily eatery, but to compare this place in terms of taste or mastery of chinese cuisine, it's not the best or one of the best in vancouver. however, when it comes to chinese food, there are only a few places i would consider top and also reasonably priced. however, having said that, this place's value is very strong. you get many choices, well cooked meals at good prices and portions. plus it's a very clean, modern and well serviced restaurant.
when dinesty first opened in richmond, i was one of their earliest patrons (gone there on their first day!) and their food had more taste.
now it's going towards the bland side, but on a positive note - at least that to me is healthy. it never hurts to eat less salt and seasoning but some dishes do require such so i will leave this part to the individual eaters.
my final taste and value verdict is this. it's a place that is solidly flavored in some dishes, fresh in most dishes, light on the salt in most dishes and well valued in all dishes.