HML Seafood Restaurant

Restaurant: HML Seafood Restaurant
Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum/Seafood
Last visited: May 20, 2011
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond Central)
Address: #200-5890 No. 3 Road
Price Range: $20-30

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2
Service: 2.5
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 2
Additional comments:

  • Cantonese Chinese cuisine
  • Fancier atmosphere
  • Chinese & English menus
  • Spacious
  • Ample seating
  • Live seafood tanks
  • Weekly specials
  • Accepts Visa/MC/Debit
  • Free parking
  • Dim Sum: 9am-3pm
  • Dinner 5-10:30pm

**Recommendations: If you’re curious about Alaskan King Crab and you don’t want to spend a fortune, they have a food deal. They have a good lobster deal too.

This spot is kind of tainted. It reminds me of that spot in Yaletown on Mainland that used to be Pinky’s Steakhouse, LK Dining Lounge and then Charlie’s Restaurant & Bar, and now I don’t even know what it is. Anyways this restaurant is located on the second floor and has changed names and I think ownership a few times, but I haven’t been here since it used to be called Kingford a couple years ago. However when they advertised a great deal for last of the season Alaskan King Crab, it was pretty much impossible not to be tempted. I haven’t heard anything about it for a while so a small group of us decided to give it a try.

I don’t understand this sign, but they offer this lobster special too. I hope someone will comment the translation below.

But this is what I came for! I don’t understand the sign for this either, but it was $158 King Crab with three main courses of your choice. It was a pretty small crab though and it was definitely under 10lbs, and I didn’t even know they got so small. The deal was pretty good and the value was there, but the meal itself was not that great and at most mediocre.

If you’ve had delicious Alaskan King Crab dinner at nice restaurants before, then forget about coming here because it won’t do it justice. This restaurant does give the illusion of being one of those “nicer” restaurants though, but it’s not really. If you’re just curious to try Alaskan King Crab and want the “bang for your buck” deal then sure, try this place, but please know it gets much much better than this.

For us, we were desperate for that last of the season King Crab. After vetoing the $35/lbs King Crab offered at Kirin last week, we decided to check this place out. $35/lbs is ridiculously expensive, even considering the season, but let me just say you do get what you pay for sometimes… and it wasn’t much here.

It was the night of the Canucks game but we had pre-ordered the Alaskan King Crab so there was no way out.

But luckily there was this!

A TV! Yes, not uncommon for a Chinese restaurant.

So as you can see, the place is pretty much empty. There were only 5 small tables going on the entire night, but apparently they’re more popular for dim sum. The place looks relatively clean, spacious and comfortable, but the food was a step up from Floata Seafood Restaurant. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t good either. From what I could see, my dishes seemed clean and the service wasn’t bad, unlike Floata. On another note there was a large fruit fly batting around our dishes and that kind of grossed me out. If it was a dive I would be a bit more forgiving.

Okay now I didn’t know until after dinner was finished, but this place was recently written up for having rats and they had to close for a week and clean their gig up. After learning that, it made me question everything. (To Follow Me Foodie reader Inspector Stanley: I sense that you will chime in with a comment or updated health report… ) I don’t know if that’s why it was so empty, or if it’s always this empty, but they’re definitely doing something wrong to keep the crowd away… and I highly doubt that the crowd that would come here were sitting at home or at some pub watching the game.

On the table:

Garlic Steamed Alaskan King Crab Legs2/6

  • They actually gave us choices on which sauce we wanted it to be made with. It was an unusual option, but the garlic steamed version is a standard and classic for the legs.
  • This was good, just because it was Alaskan King Crab, but on the grand scheme of Alaskan King Crab it was a 2/6.
  • I’m nervous. I’m nervous that some of it was frozen. I can’t confirm it, but the flavour seemed a bit frozen, but not all of it.
  • Some of the pieces were very juicy, sweet and meaty, whereas some of the legs were almost a bit dry with that frozen aftertaste.

  • It was topped with lots of garlic as it should be, but the garlic wasn’t right. It tastes much better when it’s sauteed or deep fried and browned and nutty like the one here.
  • The garlic was sweet and it brought out the sweetness in the crab meat as well, but it gets so much better than this and it was very hard not to compare.

Deep Fried Alaskan King Crab Knuckles in Spicy Salt & Chilies2/6

  • We chose Spicy Salt & Chilies for the flavouring of the Alaskan King Crab knuckles. It’s quite the classic choice for the knuckles.
  • Again, it’s good because it’s Alaskan King Crab, and I love this seasoning for the knuckles, but they did a poor job of it here.
  • The pieces were heavily battered and there wasn’t much meat and the meat it did have was a bit dry.
  • There was also too much chili and too many seeds that it overpowered the salt and there wasn’t a good balance in the seasoning.
  • It didn’t have enough crispy garlic, or onions and the batter was almost chewy and overwhelming. It really ruined the crab and it felt like such a waste.
  • This seasoning almost makes anything taste good and these Deep Fried Alaskan King Crab Knuckles in Spicy Salt & Chilies should have looked more like this – see here.

Alaskan King Grab Suteed Garlic Egg Noodles2.5/6

  • +$10 ($5 for one serving of noodles and we asked for two)
  • They use the remaining garlic sauce from the Steamed Garlic Alaskan King Crab Legs for this noodle dish. This is only done upon request and it’s the 3rd course for the crab.
  • The noodles were a bit too soft and I found it bland, although it was still edible and okay.
  • The boiled noodles are stirred with the steamed garlic crab juice, tomalley (crab guts), and some added bean sprouts.
  • I’ve had this much better before too, and it was only okay here.

Braised Leather Jacket Fish with Preserved Vegetables3/6

  • I really like Leather Jacket Fish although it does have quite a bit of bones. They’re big ones though and easy to pick out.
  • It’s a very mild firm white flesh fish. It’s not very fishy tasting and there’s quite a bit of meat to them.
  • There was a lot of fish and they were lightly battered and deep fried before they were braised.
  • It was wok tossed and lightly coated with a combination of sweetened soy sauce, black bean sauce and what I think was Hoisin sauce. It was sweet and the sauce was a bit thick with that Hoisin flavour.
  • I liked the flavour of it and there was a nice tang as well from the picked Chinese cabbage.
  • There was some sauteed ginger for aromatics and some sweet peppers and celery to help enhance the flavours.
  • I love the crunchy tang and sweet aspect of the veggies, but the fish was a bit dry (it naturally is), and I’ve had better versions of it at other Chinese restaurants for dim sum.

I must give a shout out to the tails of these fish. They were delicious! They were the seafood version of pork cracklings! They were 100% crispy and crunchy, battered, deep fried and glazed with sweet soy sauce. It tasted like fish chips and the whole thing was edible. Bones and all! Lots of calcium. Definitely not to be wasted!

Spare Rib & Pumpkin with Black Bean Sauce in Clay Pot2/6

  • I’m a sucker for pumpkin or squash. I would much rather have the Black Cod Braised with Squash & Roasted Pork Belly at Kirin Restaurant, although that’s comparing apples to oranges. Well it’s more like comparing a bruised apple to the most premium apple out there.
  • It was a generous portion with lots of pumpkin and spare ribs, but the best part was the the spare ribs and only some of them.
  • The pork was quite decent and the meat was rather tender and somewhat juicy. Not bad!
  • It was almost a pumpkin and pork spare rib stew and there was an overwhelming amount of sauce that had a faint taste of garlicky pork gravy, texture of melted pumpkin, but overall it was gluey from too much corn starch.
  • The sauce was more or less bland despite the garlic, pork, onions, and ginger and it wasn’t sauce you cared to finish with an extra bowl of rice.
  • It had some canned Chinese straw mushrooms in it too, which I’m not a fan of, and I would prefer Shiitakes, but given the price, I get it.
  • The pumpkin pieces also weren’t that tender and they didn’t melt in my mouth which was disappointing.

Country Style Fish Hot Pot3/6

  • This came recommended and it was pretty food, but slightly bland.
  • It was quite similar to the Braised Leather Jacket Fish, but the sauce was less tangy and more mild.
  • It’s a very home style and traditional dish.
  • This was a dry fried dish so there wasn’t much sauce at all. It was understandably a bit more oily too.
  • The fish used was parts of a white fish (either sole or Basa) and it was different parts of the fish, and predominately parts of the head like the cheek. It was a bit dry, mild and has no strong fishy flavour.
  • There were a lot of pieces of fish, but 30% of them were bones, however there were enough meaty pieces that made it okay.
  • Again the fish was lightly battered and deep fried and there was too much batter on them just like the Deep Fried Alaskan King Crab Knuckles.

  • The sauce was a garlic soy sauce and there was a ton of aromatics going on from an excessive amount of onions, whole garlic cloves, green onions, Chinese celery and ginger. I would have preferred some dried shrimps for flavour, but those are pricey so I can see why they weren’t included.
  • My favourite part was actually the creamy sweet cloves of whole garlic which were tender, creamy, and delicious eaten alone.

Baked Tapioca Pudding with Taro2/6

  • I usually love this dessert and it’s one of the very few Chinese desserts I like. When I heard they were serving this as the complimentary dessert as opposed to the typical red bean soup, I was ecstatic. (They also had the red bean soup upon request though).
  • Anyways this is a baked Chinese egg custard with sago (tapioca) and pieces of taro root.
  • It was very creamy, gluey and a bit too clumpy and very bland, but the taro root was tender.
  • It’s usually not that sweet, but this was almost flavourless.
  • For an excellent one, try the Baked Tapioca Pudding with Taro Paste at Empire Chinese Cuisine (which also has better Alaskan King Crab – see my post for their version of it here).

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HML Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

7 Comments

  • Linda says:

    wow the rating for this restaurant is terrible – 30%!!! crazy!

    the alaskan king crab is so small! but i guess with this deal, it’s somewhat worth it.. i think the top sign says that with the lobster, you are given three complimentary appetizers? i’m not totally sure though :) out of all the dishes here, i guess the country hot pot dish looks the most promising – nothing really strikes my fancy.. well the complementary dessert looks good – very orange though!

  • Bow says:

    I know your raison d’etre is to write rstaurant reviews, however Osaka was having a sale of large Atlantic lobster(4 to 9 lbs.) for $6.99/lb. That 6 lber, in a tarragon Pernod sauce,plus a couple of bottles of Pffafenheim Pinot Gris would have come a lot cheaper. Then you could have written a redux review of Thomas Haas chocolates again.
    It’s a shame that HML is only a step up over a won ton house, given the decor and the price( not the cooking). Be wary of dirty restaurants…the best and fastest cure for diarrhea is a natural one: Mexican pharmacies give poor people 6 to 8 ozs. of malt vinegar to drink. Bacteria don’t survive in vinegar. It’s fast, it works, but tastes awful.

  • Michelle says:

    The lobster sign says get a 6lbs live lobster with 3 dishes for $98.00 and eating in only :)

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – I know!!! Yeah I usually like that dessert. Thanks for the translation help!

    @Bow – lol thanks bow for your always informative tips!! Yeah nicely phrased with your won ton house comment. really vinegar? I didn’t think it’d be strong enough though. Now I know! How bout lemons?

    @Michelle – Michelle to the rescue!!! Thank you!!!

  • Alice Yu says:

    I went to this restaurant last week for the king crab. The crab didn’t taste good, I suspect they’re frozen. When I informed the manager about the not-so-fresh crab, he tasted and said it tasted good. I’ve had king crab few times before and they’re fresh and sweet.

    When I was leaving the restaurant from the parking lot, the manager came down from the restaurant and watched my car leave. He might want to know my car’s license plate.

    I will never return to this restaurant anymore.

  • Mijune says:

    @Alice Yu – I wasn’t a fan either :(

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