Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine
6360 #3 Rd, Richmond (Map)
I don't typically blog about a restaurant right after I visited, simply because I have other post lined up, but this time I really have to interrupt 'regular programing' for some breaking news: Alaska King Crab (AKC) for $9.99/lb. How is that breaking news? Well, you see AKC is on sale at T&T for $10.99/lb, but you can have the exact same thing except cooked. To make the deal even sweeter, someone will also wash your dishes and take out the trash ;). The question 'where is it?', the answer 'Imperial Court restaurant in Richmond'.
Chowtimes did a post on AKC and listed a whole bunch of Chinese Newspaper ads, and Imperial Court just happens to be the cheapest one @ $10.88/lb. However we we got to the restaurant their sign read $9.99 and with the slogan "Cheapest crab in town" (of course in Chinese that is). Anyways, we were certainly happy with this surprise and ordered ourselves a nice and fresh 12lb AKC (this big guy was feisty).
Of course no meal is complete without soup, so our waiter suggested this crab and fish maw soup. I have to say I liked his recommendation. The soup had that seafood umami taste due to the real crab meat and the fresh fish maw they used.
I know many restaurant offer several ways to cook the AKC, but here you only get it for one way. If you add another style, it will be $10 more. We decided to stick with just steaming the crab with garlic sauce, because it's simply the best way to preserve the fresh taste. I must say, we weren't disappointed. They brought us 2 huge plates of pre-cut steamed crab legs. The garlic/seafood aroma was heavenly.
The crab meat was succulent and juicy, you can definitely tell this was really fresh. The best part eating AKC was the no fussy meat removal process, because all you have to do is simply lift it up with a fork.
Although we opt to cook the crab only one way, but we did opt for the baked fried rice in the AKC shell for $15 more. The fried rice was quite yellow, so I believe this was a Portuguese style fried rice topped off with some creamy cheese sauce. The rice was a bit dry, but the cream sauce provided the necessary moisture. However there wasn't enough sauce for all the rice.
We also ordered a cod/tofu hot pot ($13.99). The portion seems smaller than other restaurant, but at least the taste was great. B thought the usually bland fish was really flavorful here, because it absorbed the sauce quite well.
Next is the garlic style gai lan ($12.99). The vegetable was fresh and crunchy, but I thought it could use a bit more flavor. I could barely taste the garlic.
Last but not least, we got the braised pork belly ($16.99). Honestly, I was really disappointed when I saw it. The portion seemed really small (they really need to have better plating). Although the meat portion was small, but I pretty sure the it wasn't meant for only 3 people, why they give us only 3 pieces of Chinese bun was beyond me. Anyways, the meat was actually really good, it has the savory yet has a nice sweet flavor, and the fat/skin just melt in your mouth. The buns were perfect for soaking up the sauce, but there just wasn't enough. Although the taste was great, but I really didn't think it's worth the price of $16.99.
Service here was not bad. They all moved at light speed, but still paid attention to us by changing our plate and filling our tea often. One thing worth mention was that, they didn't only move at light speed, their dishes also came out in record time. The soup was on our table being served 10 minutes after we finished ordering. Soon after, other dishes just keep rolling out one after another. Another thing I want to point out was that the prices for regular dishes were not cheap, the only reason I gave it a 'fair' is because of the incredible AKC deal.
As I already mentioned, I am writing this post now simply because this is too good of a deal to pass up. The other reason is that AKC season is short and almost over, so if you want to enjoy some AKC for cheap, then make sure you make that reservation within the next week or so.