To celebrate L’s birthday, I took him to Vancouver. My parents picked us up at the airport. When we exited her car, I mentioned to Boss Lady that she drives like Mario in Mario Kart. She rolled her eyes and retorted, “I know where I’m going. People just need to get out of my way.” For this post, let’s listen to “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne.
I wanted to eat at Chef’s Tony or Continental Seafood Restaurant but Boss Lady vetoed my suggestions. She wanted Shi-Art Chinese Cuisine because there is plenty of parking. I informed Boss Lady that if we ordered before 11:00 a.m., we would receive 20% off our bill. She looked unimpressed and said she didn’t care about the discount.
One of the best dishes we tried was the Mushroom and Scallop Congee ($12.99). The scallops were plump and soft. The mushrooms were mild in flavour and silky in texture.
The congee was simple and delicious, cooked to a thick smooth consistency, lightly seasoned with salt. I added white pepper because it gives the soup a prominent peppery zip.
My least favourite dish was the Steamed Shrimp Roll ($7.99). There was plenty of large shrimp in the roll, but the shrimp lacked a crunch to it. The noodles, even with the soy sauce, were bland.
I requested Beef Tendon Rice Rolls ($21.99). The beef was soft but parts of it were dry or fatty. L disagreed and said the beef was delicious. I enjoyed the rice rolls, which were seared on the edges with a noticeable charred wok hei aroma. The tendon was so gelatinous I didn’t have to chew. I prefer tendon with more of a chew to it.
My mother mentioned several times that the beef tendon wasn’t as good as the other variation she normally orders at Shi-Art, the Braised Beef Brisket and Beef Tendon in Noodles ($21.99). She wrinkled her nose and added that she’s glad she tried this version as I requested it, but her dish was better.
Our favourite dish was the Pan Fried Pumpkin with Spicy Salt ($12.99). Ludwig and Boss Lady mentioned this dish isn’t served at many Chinese restaurants. The pumpkin was lightly battered and crisp. Boss Lady enjoyed nibbling on the spicy seasoning of shrimp, fried garlic, green onions and hot peppers. I’d order this again.
The House Steamed Shrimp Dumplings ($7.39) were tasty. The wrapper was dry and not overly steamed. The shrimp itself was large and plump. Far better than what I can get in Calgary.
We all enjoyed the Preserved and Dried Meat on Chinese Donut Rice Rolls ($7.99). I liked the crunchiness of the deep-fried donut against the softness of the rice wrapper.
L and Ludwig raved about the Seafood E-Fu Noodle ($18.99). The noodles were piping hot and lightly sauced. The fish, prawns, scallops and squid were nicely cooked. I’d order this again.
Doug, who appeared to be the day time manager, was chatting up a storm with a customer sitting across from us. My mother interrupted his conversation to ask for some more tea. He didn’t like that one bit and he waved her away with his hand. He took a few steps away, reluctantly turned around and grabbed our tea pot. I saw him dawdle at the tea section and walked slowly back to our table. My father sat up erectly and politely thanked the Doug for the tea. I opened the lid to make sure there was no sign of tampering, like spit.
My mother was pissed. She said the manager is always rude to her and why is he always talking instead of working? I was surprised when ten minutes later, Boss Lady interrupted his conversation again to ask for the bill. Why didn’t she wave someone else over? Doug completely ignored her. Lucky for us, another server got us our bill. L jumped in and snatched the bill before my mother could pay. Our server was impressed. She said it’s rare that young men display such excellent manners. My parents both beamed with pride and chatted with our friendly server for a bit. Boss Lady asked L to ensure we received the 20% discount. With the discount, our bill was around $80.
L and I thought Shi-Art used a lot of MSG because we were both incredibly thirsty after eating there. L enjoyed the food. For the most part, the dishes were fresh, hot and tasty. I wouldn’t return. I want a dim sum experience without the theatrics. Perhaps the next visit, Boss Lady will permit me to pick the restaurant.