Restaurant: Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant
Last visited: January 15, 2010
Area: Vancouver, BC (Waterfront/Downtown)
Address: 355 Burrard Street
Price range: $30-50
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Fine dining Chinese cuisine
- Popular for larger groups
- Popular for dim sum
- Popular to people working downtown/white people
- Known for seafood, I think Kirin is better
- Expensive feels more like “tourist trap” to me
- Spacious, 2 floors
- Dim Sum/Lunch/Dinner
- Dim sum 11am-2:30pm daily
- Seats 300, 2 floors, Private rooms available
- Set menus available (variety of price ranges)
- Open everyday for lunch-dinner
Recommendation: I wouldn’t really recommend anything…the food is edible, but for what they’re charging…nope. There’s better.
Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant has the reputation for Chinese fine dining – it competes at the level of Kirin, but doesn’t come close to delivering. For me it’s expensive Chinese cuisine for white people or business people in the area. There are Asian people that eat here, but it’s likely due to convenience… or maybe they get a discount? I don’t know, but the food is very mediocre. If I’m going to be paying top dollars for Chinese food I would resort to Kirin over Imperial Seafood without hesitation.
I came here for a very casual banquet style dinner so the food wasn’t top of the line, although it was fancier than what you would order on a regular night. We were a table of about 15 so everything was pre-orderd and portioned out for us to make things easier. The dishes we had are representable of a lower-end banquet food, so I can’t speak for their gourmet dishes. I think most of the food we had shouldn’t even be on the menu.
Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant offers around 5 versions of chow mien and 5 versions of fried rice from low to high price points. I think they should just make 1-2 versions of each, and stick to the gourmet versions. If they aim for a fine dining audience than people will pay for itÖbut the quality has to be there. What’s the point of serving food your restaurant doesn’t represent? It’s very misleading.
I will only briefly comment on everything because if I wrote with my usual details you’ll be here until tomorrow.
On the table
Roasted Peking Duck with Crepe – 1.5/6
- The skin was crispy, but also very fatty and oily. This version had a little bit of duck meat to it too. I like the one at Kirin much better.
- The crepes tasted too floury.
- I didn’t get to try the shrimp crackers because they didn’t serve them to us…I don’t know why…
Stir-fried Broccoli with Mushrooms and Dried Scallop – 3/6
- The broccoli was tender and there was lots of dried scallop which was great ñ that’s what gave it an extra 1/2 point – otherwise 2.5/6.
- It’s a pretty saucy and flavorful dish – common at many Chinese restaurants.
- I don’t like how they used canned straw mushrooms and I think it really cheapened the dish. Serve it with Black Chinese Mushrooms or Oyster Mushrooms and just charge more.
- It’s a simple sauce that’s not too salty, but it’s made out of stock and corn starch.
Sautéed Sliced Chicken, Snap Peas & Squid – 2.5/6
- Everything was tender, but it was lacking some veggies other restaurants would include like celery, carrots (there were a few decorative ones). This is a bit on the oily side too.
Shark’s Fin Soup with Shredded Chicken
- I don’t eat shark’s fin, so I didn’t try the soup. I used to love it, but then I went to Shanghai and visited the aquarium there, I got all anti-shark’s fin. I won’t preach on here.
- I could see quite a bit of Shark’s fin in the soup though.
- Tasty Twist Idea: Add half a shot of Crown Royal to a bowl of shark’s fin soup and it really enhances the flavour of everything. I did try a sip of the broth with it and it was really good! (It was a friend’s idea and I thought he was crazy at first)
Sautéed Crab with Ginger and Green Onion – 3/6
- There wasn’t enough sauce. Parts of it were juicy and maybe it was the way they portioned it out, but it was lacking flavour.
- I did try just the ginger and green onion sauce from the “head” part of the crab and it was quite buttery and tasty. I wanted more.
Duck Lettuce Wraps – 2/6
- This was a very bitty lettuce wrap filling. It was too minced up and I couldn’t tell what I was eating. I like the one at Kirin much better.
- There wasn’t much duck, and the duck there was wasn’t very tender.
- It had a very smoky flavour overall, it really stood out and I wasn’t expecting it.
- The Hoisin sauce they used almost enhanced the smoky flavour. I don’t think they use a good brand of Hoisin sauce. The standard is Lee Kum Kee Hoisin sauce.
Soy Sauce Chicken – 2.5/6
- The meat was really tender and slippery; however it was a tad on the salty side. I didn’t find that the soy sauce absorbed into the meat, it was just kind of on the outside of the skin.
Steamed Cod with Green Onions – 2.5/6
- The fish didn’t taste fishy and it was pretty good, but there was a lot of MSG in the dish. It was skinless and boneless so it was very easy to eat.
Shrimp & Scrambled Egg Fried Rice – 1.5/6
- The shrimps were frozen, and I think the execution was pretty poor.
- The eggs were over cooked, but at least it wasn’t oily.
Soy Sauce Chow Mien – 1.5/6
- Talk about lazinessÖmind you it was getting late, but still! Just because we’re not seeing it at the table doesn’t mean you should bring it out like this. I don’t care if you’re plating it at a separate table in the back ñ I felt like I was at a cheap Chinese food buffet.
- The noodles were like food court noodles. Barely any bean sprout or green onions. I don’t even think Imperial should put it on their menu. It doesn’t represent the image they try to aim for and they don’t even do a good job with the dish.
XO Chili Sauce – 4/6
- I love XO chili sauce. The one here is good, but a bit on the salty side. There’s lots of dried scallop with is great.
Mango Pudding – 4/6
- This was actually the best part of the dinner. It wasn’t even THAT good, but it’s because everything else was so blah that this stood out.
- It’s served with some evaporated milk and it gives the pudding a slight creaminess and sweetness.
- They use real mango in it because I literally had the stingy mango parts to mine. Not necessarily a great characteristic, but at least I know it’s real.
- It was very pureed so I had no mango chunks, although I do like mango chunks in my pudding.
- It wasn’t too sweet and I would have rather eaten 3 bowls of this and gotten full off that rather than some of the other very average to poor dishes.