Kirin Seafood Restaurant (Starlight Casino) – Dim Sum
Our misadventures in dining seem to be an on-going theme with us. We were checking out the new Lowe’s down in Queensborough and decided to try out the Kirin Seafood Restaurant located in the nearby Starlight Casino for dim sum.
One of the nice things about this location is that they have plenty of free parking available for the casino. It was a bit sunny outside so we parked in the covered parkade under the casino/restaurant. Even in the daytime, the parkade is a bit spooky… it’s eerily quiet except for the muzak that they have piped in. I guess it’s supposed to drive people into the casino (to avoid the muzak) but it just reminded me those horror movies where a couple are walking in a quiet parking lot (cue creepy music) right before some big bad comes out to cause a bloody mess.
Anyhoo, this was our first visit to this location of Kirin (we usually visit the Kirin in City Square). The entrance is located on the outside of the casino on the main level. If I had known, I would have parked closer on the open-air parking lot steps away from the restaurant. When we walked by the front entrance, the door was closed and there were no signs indicating that it was open. We were pretty sure that it should have been open (and that we didn’t arrive too early like we’ve done for so many other restaurants in the past) so we were about to chalk this up as another one of our misadventures in dining.
That’s until we saw a couple walk up to the restaurant and, magically, the sliding glass entrance door opened up for them. We immediately thought “WTF?” We were just standing right there but the door didn’t open for us! So we cautiously went back to the magic door – it didn’t seem to open right away but it finally opened when we were a couple of inches away from it. I suppose the motion sensor might be to blame but I think it’s probably just our luck :-(
Kirin is one of the classier joints for dim sum. This location had large tables with plenty of space between the tables (unlike many of the sardine-crammed dim sum restaurants that really try to pack people in). The prices are a little more expensive than other restaurants but you usually get what you pay for.
For example, our Chinese Donut Rice Roll came out presented in a long serving dish that they covered with a clear plastic shell to protect the shredded pork from blowing off while they brought it to the table. I doubt a lot of other restaurants would even bother.
We had a bit of difficulty in deciding what to order but picked the Shrimp and Shredded Scallop Dumpling. I thought the wrapper was nice and thin and the filling was more than generous.
The Steamed Beef Rice Rolls was just want we expected – nothing too extraordinary – in fact, we thought the filling was very similar to the meat that they use for the minced beef balls. Still, it was nice that the rice rolls were completely filled and the wrappers were silky smooth.
Speaking of the Minced Beef Balls… we couldn’t resist ordering these. I think one of the reasons why we enjoy this dish so much is because of the worcestershire sauce.
Like so many other restaurants, our waiter tried to talk us out of ordering more food. Seriously, I never understood this practice. We wanted to order the Braised Rice Noodle Vermicelli with Seafood and our waiter wanted us to just order a small size of it instead. But we stuck to our guns and ordered the full size dish and were pleased with the results. You can’t really tell from the picture, but there are actually two different types of noodles in this dish and it had plenty of shrimp, scallops, squid and fish.
The Lychee Jelly was equally impressive – you could actually see and taste the pieces of lychee in the dessert. I have to admit that this dish is a good test of your chopstick skills… The jelly is delicate enough that if you use too much pressure, your chopsticks will cut right through the jelly. But if you don’t use enough pressure, the jelly will just slip through your grasp. Even if you try the basic tactic of skewering the jelly with your chopsticks, you have to be quick otherwise the jelly will fall right off.
I also like the fact that they bring out freshly steamed hand towels to us at the end of our meal.
Food: 4 / 5
Service: 4 / 5
350 Gifford Street
New Westminster, BC