Sorry for not uploading any new content recently, but we’ve been super busy at Tapenade. Lots of Christmas parties and tis the season to be busy. “Sales Mix” has been cracking the proverbial whip and the boys in the kitchen and I have been “sweating to the oldies” all week-long. December is a non-stop onslaught and it’s go-go-go time, all the time.
There’s a Chinese restaurant about 8.5 minutes from my house called Yan’s Garden[ 9948 Lougheed Hwy, Burnaby, (604) 421-8823]. We stumbled upon this restaurant a couple of years ago when one of “Monk’s” sisters, who lives in the hood, took us there for lunch. Last Monday, “Jazzy”, “Monk” and I were in the hybrid(with its new gangster winter wheels) on our way to find some vittles, when I had this urge to have some dim sum. We rarely go out for Chinese food, but on occasion I have a deep hankering for dim sum. So instead of jumping on the highway, I called an audible, made a right turn and off to lunch we went.
Yan’s Garden is a standard looking Chinese restaurant, stuck in an L-shaped strip mall. Tucked in beside a seedy looking tanning salon, it reminds me of the adage of not to judge a book by its cover. In the past, we’ve eaten there a few times and we even threw “Jazzy’s” coming out banquet at this restaurant. When we arrived, we were sat quickly, hot jasmine tea was served and the food started arriving like wildfire. Over lunch, we sampled quite a few different items. If memory serves me, 4 kinds of dumplings, braised duck feet, dry fried glutinous rice, fried salt water pastry, a warm tofu dessert and a baked tapioca pudding. The food was good, everything was tasty, fresh, reasonably priced and it satisfied my dim sum cravings. My only complaint is dim sum is more enjoyable with 4 people, that way you get to try more dishes. I must admit I’m rather spoiled, I’ve tasted some high-end, “fancy schmancy” dim sum in my day, thus I find myself continually searching for those perfect textures, tastes and techniques only found with dim sum crafted by true master chefs.
While we were eating, we were recognized by the manager and he greeted us warmly. It’s always nice to be greeted personally and addressed by name at a restaurant you patronize often and as a guest it makes you feel welcome and special. At Tapenade, it’s one of our core service ideals and “Sales Mix” pushes the front of the house staff to make those connections with our guests on a daily basis. When I occasionally leave the kitchen dungeon and wander into the dining room, I try my best to greet and thank our regular guests personally.
It was a nice leisurely lunch; a good opportunity for “Monk” and I to catch up on simpler times. Overall the food at Yan’s Garden is very satisfactory, but unfortunately the food lacks wow factor. In their defense, I will say that at “Jazzy’s” banquet, the roasted squab and lobster courses were delicious and they wowed me and “Godfather” considerably. Issues and concerns; the servers are too pushy with the food, continually asking if we want dishes that we’ve already declined or already ordered on numerous occasion and the decor of the restaurant is definitely a little worn and dated. Overall the service is very attentive and congenial and we look forward to visiting again sometime in the new year.
On my chef’s night out scale, Yan’s Garden receives 3/5 SOB (slices of bacon).