Dim Sum at Red Star Seafood
Ah, Sunday..the best day of the week. Everything gets slowed down a notch or two, it seems. More often than not, it’s a late snooze, a slow meander to Starbucks and then off for another dining adventure. Lately we’ve been hitting up a lot of Dim Sum. This past week was no exception. Our mission on this day was to check out the award-winning Red Star Seafood.
Red Star has won a plethora of awards. Last year they took home the gold for their BBQ Duck at the Chinese Restaurant Awards. This year it was the “Most Innovative” award for their Dungeness Crab with Wild Rice.
As with most large, upper-scale Dim Sum restaurants, this one was packed to overflowing on a Sunday afternoon. Even with a reservation, we had to wait thirty minutes for an opening. After the third time the hostess told us, “Five minutes, we’ll call your name!”, we seriously considering crossing the street to Talay Thai. Just as I was about to bolt, our table was finally ready.
The ordering system here is somewhat confusing. The checklist is only in Chinese. The numbers correspond to the items in the regular menu. Photos of the menu can be seen here.
Here it is! The 2010 CRA Critic’s Choice Gold Medal winning BBQ Duck. I gotta say, this is damn good! Make that great! Very tender and juicy…the fat melted away to create the most succulent duck imaginable. The duck is basted for hours in a sweet five-spice marinade to achieve the beautiful lacquered finish.
To start off the Dim Sum parade we went with the Fried Bean Curd Purse with Bean Leaves and Prawns. An interesting take on the traditional steamed bean curd pocket. Sort of a slightly softened spring roll…a nice bit of crunch and a load of juicy prawn.
Things were a bit haphazard on the delivery service here. A few times dishes were dropped off that hadn’t been ordered. Understandable considering the flood of hungry customers. We fended off a couple of plates but eventually our near empty stomachs took over and we just said, “Thank you!”.
The Sui Mai (Steam Pork Dumpling with Tobiko) were outstanding. Odd that there’s no mention of the bountiful prawns. These were top-notch but not quite up there with Spicy Court’s version.
When the Deep-Fried Prawn Meatballs hit the table I wasn’t sure if another service mishap had occurred or we’d gotten someone else’s dessert. These are, in fact, tightly packed prawns covered in almond slices and deep-fried til golden. A unique concept, I gotta say. As there was a distinct lack of seasoning, these were mediocre at best. When one takes a bite the prawn is overwhelmed by the gritty almonds…none too pleasant, texture-wise.
The Deep-Fried Meat Dumplings Country Style were so good that they were ordered twice. The savory pork filling was delicious but the best part was the wrap. Spongy and a bit doughy but still crispy…nice and stretchy. For those of us that appreciate tactile food, this is a winner.
That ends round one. Time for the always gut-busting second round!
Steamed Beef Meat Balls can be hit or miss. If their not tough and over-cooked they come out slightly under-done and mushy. This time round they hit the mark…still bouncy and oozing with beef fat. Pretty remarkable considering the vast sea of diners. That kitchen is a well-oiled machine!
The Steamed Spareribs Bedded with Yam Noodles were also well above par. Although riddled with requisite fat, these were well cooked and easy to eat…no excessive chewiness. There’s no black bean sauce to make them overly salty. There’s tender pork ribs, some soy, a whack of garlic and unique bundles of noodle to soak up all the wonderful flavor.
In one form or another, Mango Pudding will always be a part of any good Dim Sum table. Red Star’s version is a heart-shaped mold with mango coulis in a pool of crème anglaise. A nice, refreshing end to an exceptional meal.