As a treat to my parents, I took them out to the new Dinesty restaurant at Aberdeen Centre. It opened in early December 2013. This is the third restaurant in the franchise (2 in Richmond, 1 in downtown Vancouver on Robson) and features glorified Taiwanese, Chinese, Shanghai-nese food fare. Beware, this place is not for the frugal or cheap.
The place is brand spanking new with clean floors, attentive waitresses, and shiny decor. One thing to note (especially for tourists) is that Dinesty likes to display a wide array of Chinese-esque tea pots as well as Chinese artistry on the walls. They give off an “ancient artifact” vibe but we all know this is purely for looks.
When one thinks of Shanghai-nese restaurants, one must order “Xiao Long Bao“. A direct translation would be “Small Dragon Buns”. These are typically small steamed soup dumplings packed with minced meat and vegetables. If prepared well, meat juices seep out and make the “soup”. And damn, these dumplings were good. The skin was thin and juices bountiful. One nibble and it was a burst of meaty flavour. My parents have had their share of dumplings in their lifetime and they were quite satisfied with this dish. In fact, they ordered a second round.
Next was Deep fried oysters with basil. It smelled scrumptious but fell flat for several reasons– It was soaked with oil. My mom tried to use a napkin to soak up the excess oil while my dad wanted to wash one in his tea. Furthermore, we noticed that they were not individual oysters but small cut up portions of an oysters. Despite the great smell and taste, this was definitely not worth it.
Third was Marinated spare ribs with bak choy. My mom complained the most– The flavour doesn’t fill into the meat completely leaving an unsatisfying taste. However, the portions were quite large. Chunks were given, however, it was not worth the premium paid for this dish.
Lastly, we had Satay beef with tong choy. This wasn’t too bad but it didn’t excite us. Satay flavour was well developed and there was plenty of tender beef strips to go around. For the sensitive, the spiciness was mild. However, eat one of the red chili peppers and you will definitely experience the heat.
Dinesty has an extremely long and well thought menu. Dishes include chicken, beef, lamb, vegetarian, seafood, snacks, noodles, rice and desserts. However, look out for the prices. The parents were careful not to choose any bling dishes like they usually do since the expense was on me. For a party of 3, it was about $55. Those dishes can really add up. While the menu is full of colorful choices (you can order crab!) , you can still get some simple dishes for cheap (Onion pancake, beef noodle soup, stir frys, etc).
We are not too keen on returning as most dishes are expensive and mediocre. BUT Dinesty’s Xiao Long Bao are fantastic. Definitely worth some future snacking.