Claudia Kwan/for metro vancouver
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Red Star Seafood Restaurant
8298 Granville (and 67th)
Open for lunch and dinner daily
Lunch for two, including tax, tip and drinks: $45
**** (out of 5)
Ask most food enthusiasts for a place to go have dim sum, and you’ll get a list of usual suspects. It’s become a mission to find some of the less-explored establishments thanks to a pal who has an unending fascination for nibbling on sweet and savoury tidbits.
We head to Marpole, and score one of the free underground parking spots at Red Star. Once inside, it’s clear that this place is a cut above those two-buck-a-plate joints, with tons of waist-coated waitstaff bustling around to make sure teapots are full and plates are cleared.
Fine dining dim sum restaurants often eschew the din of ladies calling out the items on their trolley carts in favour of ordering items through a server, and here we find an obstacle at Red Star. While the extensive menu is in Chinese and English, the card where you select what you want is only in Chinese, which makes getting food akin to playing Memory.
We start with old standbys like pork dumplings (shui mai) and beef balls, which demonstrate a commitment to good quality and a take-it-easy approach to seasoning. The generous portions continue with beef wrapped in rice noodle, and deep-fried prawn balls encrusted in almond slivers. They’re almost greaseless, and the textural contrast makes chewing a delight. Then it’s on to a hard-to-find favourite; “supreme” dumpling isn’t made in many places anymore because the delicate seafood and soup-filled noodle concoction often breaks open before it gets to the table, rendering it unservable.
This version is packed with scallops, shrimp, shiitake, and a ton of other first-rate ingredients. We don’t have room to special-order any noodle or rice dishes, but we can’t resist Szechuan green beans with pork. They’re perfectly pan fried, but could use some more spice. We round off the meal with sweet sesame seed paste buns, and conclude we should have brought more friends along.
Prices are on the high side, but you’re definitely getting the quality you’re paying for. Step out of your comfort zone and you’ll find lots to savour at Red Star.