Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Legend House

Legend House is a fairly new Northern China cuisine restaurant in Coquitlam. The restaurant makes their own dumplings along with hand stretched noodles, and offers a variety of Szechuan dishes.

Walking in, there is an open window kitchen concept and the interior is very nice. The restaurant has a rustic modern interior; unfinished wooden floors along the walls, bricks, a high ceiling and nice chandeliers. In addition, the restaurant is fairly big!

There are comfortable booth seating arrangements and plenty of tables. Asides from being one of the larger Chinese restaurants in Coquitlam, Legend House is definitely one of the better looking ones. As for the staff, everyone was friendly. Our waitress double checked our order on her tablet and a few other waitresses came by to see if we needed more drinks.

SZECHUAN HOT AND SOUR SOUP, "Pork, shrimp, bamboo, mushroom, and egg in a spicy sour soup ($6.95).
Rating: 2/5.
Legend House offers only one size of soup and the portion is huge, definitely enough to serve five people. As for the taste, the consistency is very watery and the soup is neither hot nor tangy. The two of us could not help but feel like it makes more sense to serve a smaller portion, but a better quality.

The soup overall is very watered down and tastes bland. We even requested for the soup to be "actually spicy" before ordering. As for the ingredients, the soup includes bamboo shoot, fungus, green onion and egg.

CHICKEN WITH SPICY SAUCE, "Tossed in a spicy Szechuan peppercorn dressing and garlic" ($7.95).
Rating: 2.5/5.
The "mouth watering chicken" does not taste spicy and the Szechuan peppercorns are not even there. The sauce is a mix of chilli oil along with XO, but does not even taste spicy. There could have been more XO sauce as well and, actual Szechuan peppercorns. However, the XO sauce does have a nice flavour and the chicken would have tasted better if there was more. As for the meat, the chicken is a free range and the rib cut is served so there is not much. Personally, mouth watering chicken is all about the sauce to me!

LEGEND BEEF ROLLS, "Five-spiced beef rolled in a crispy green onion flat-bread and sweet hoisin sauce" ($6.95).
Rating: 4/5.
THE. BEST. ITEM. OF. THE. MEAL. Honestly. The pancake is housemade, tastes fresh, and has a nice crackling in every bite. BF thinks the roll is too big and I was more like whatever, it tastes freaking amazing. Sometimes I wish my stomach would let me eat more because I wanted to order another one!

Other than the perfect pancake, the legend roll has a perfect amount of hoisin, tender slices of beef, and slivers of green onion. The beef actually tastes moist too and does not need to rely on the hoisin!

SHANGHAI "XIAO LONG BAO" SOUP DUMPLINGS, "filled with minced pork, ginger and savoury sauce" ($5.95).
Rating: 3.5/5.
The xiao long bao tastes juicy and the broth is very flavourful; there is a good level of saltiness along with a rich ginger flavour. Furthermore, the meat tastes smooth, tender, and not gritty. Since the XLBs are more traditional and not that large, I recommend waiting for them to cool down a bit and having them in one bite! As for the skin, it is thin and proportionate to the twirl. Way better than Dinesty's.

MANDARIN PORK DUMPLINGS, "Filled with pork, chives, cabbage, green onions" ($6.95).
Rating: 4/5.
After the dumplings were dropped off, our waitress came by with a bowl and mentioned the kitchen forgot one. Neither of us would have known we were missing a piece and I like how the waitress mentioned what the bowl was rather than leaving us confused.

About the dumplings… ohmygosh they are so good! The dumplings are very juicy and flavourful! There is also a good amount of fatty meat and the pork does not taste gritty. Furthermore, the skin tastes soft and neither chewy nor doughy. The skin also does not dry up fast and tastes so fresh.

TOTAL: $38.60 + TIP $9.40 = $48.00.

Legend House is definitely a welcomed addition to Coquitlam and the restaurant serves great food (except for the Szechuan dishes). My recommendations are the legend beef roll, xiao long bao and mandarin pork dumplings. We actually wanted to order the pan fried dumplings but the restaurant was sold out of them at 4:00pm, I could not help but think… can't someone make them? LOL. As for the service, our waitress was very friendly and genuine.

Since I enjoyed Legend House so much, I wanted to revisit again! I seriously loved the legend roll. The revisit was on a weekend during dinner time and the restaurant was packed when we drove by. I called to make reservations and shamelessly requested a table for three… because I did not want to be stuck at a small coffee sized table LOL.

NORTHERN CURRY FRIED RICE, "diced pork, shrimp, egg and vegetables stir fried with curry" ($10.95).
Rating: 3/5.
The fried rice arrived within a couple of minutes after ordering and tastes great. There is a rich curry flavour which does not overwhelm and the rice tastes soft. The flavours are properly fused together and there is even a bit of wild rice which provides a nice chewiness along with a nutty flavour. As for the ingredients, the shrimp has a nice bounce and there is some sweetness from the peas along with a crunch from the carrot. Asides from the fried rice itself, the highlight is the barbecued pork. The pork tastes housemade, tender and juicy.

SWEET CORN AND CHICKEN SOUP, "Pureed corn, diced chicken and thredded egg" ($6.95).
Rating: 2/5.
The very large portion of soup has a light chicken broth flavour and does not taste salty. There is some sweetness from the corn and the chicken tastes very fresh. The shreds of chicken taste tender and the soft egg swirls are not overcooked. However, the soup could taste more rich (it is not as watered down compared to the hot and sour soup).

SICHUAN MARBLED PORK AND CABBAGE, "Pork belly, five-spiced tofu, leeks, garlic and chilli pepper" ($11.95).
Rating: 1/5.
This is a bit of a disappointing dish. Only a few slices of pork taste tender (including the lean portion) but majority of the meat is fairly chewy due to the thick slices.

There is even one random huge end piece that is inedible and rock hard, which should have been left out. For a restaurant to specialize in Northern Chinese cuisine… it is a let down. However, the cabbage tastes very tender and is well cooked. I rarely have cabbage because I simply do not like the vegetable, but liked this much more than the pork. As for the sauce, there is a black bean mix with chilli oil and tastes only slightly salty but not overly.

SZECHUAN MEAT SALAD, "Beef tendon, five-spiced beef and beef tripe tossed in spicy peppercorn sauce" ($7.95).
Rating: 2.5/5.
The slices of beef are sliced paper thin and tastes tender. In addition, the tendon has been cooked to a nice gelatin. As for the tripe, the meat tastes tender and not mushy nor gamey either. The ingredients are well executed.

If anything, the sauce needs to be more flavourful. There is a nice tanginess along with a mild spiciness, but the flavours need to be stronger. New Szechuan in Burquilam, serves the best beef salad I have had.

LEGEND BEEF ROLLS, "Five-spiced beef rolled in a crispy green onion flat-bread and sweet hoisin sauce" ($6.95).
Rating: 3.5/5.
Of course… the legend beef rolls! This time around, the pancake is not as crispy and looks smaller (about a regular size, which is obviously more than fine).

Since the pancake lacks that nice crackling from the first visit, the beef stands out more. The meat tastes very juicy, tasteful and tender. No wonder only a brush of hoisin is needed! Compared to restaurants that douse the beef rolls because they use dry and tasteless meat…

PAN FRIED PORK BUNS, "Filled with pork and scallions, soft bun, crispy bottom" ($6.95).
Rating: 2.5/5.
When the pan fried pork buns arrived, I was disappointed. I like the buns that use baking soda which results in that nice pillowy soft skin. As for these, there is a nice crispy bottom but I am not a fan of the noticeably stronger yeast flavour (a personal preference).

As for the meat, the pork tastes moist but there is no juice in the buns. I recommend the xiao long bao or dumplings over these for sure! Wish I ordered the pan fried dumplings instead too.

SHANGHAI "XIAO LONG BAO" SOUP DUMPLINGS, "filled with minced pork, ginger and savoury sauce" ($5.95).
Rating: 3/5.
The Shanghai soup dumplings are a touch saltier than the ones from the first visit, but still tastes good. I do not consider the XLBs a Top Five, but are worth ordering and better than some restaurants' in Richmond!

TOTAL: $60.55 + TIP $10.45 = $71.00.

From my two visits to Legend House, the dim sum dishes are better than the Szechuan. Nevertheless, Legend House is one of the better Chinese restaurants in the area and the staff is friendly. On the revisit, the restaurant was packed but numerous waitresses still walked by more than a few times to see if we needed tea. Legend House overall is a pretty good restaurant and I wish I lived in the apartments near by so I could visit frequently! I mean, the restaurant is even better than some in Richmond.

- Friendly staff
- Nice atmosphere
- Great dim sum items!
- One of the better Chinese restaurants in Coquitlam

- Spicy does not mean not spicy
- Soup and Szechuan dishes can improve
- Where are the Szechuan peppercorns?

Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5

Legend House on Urbanspoon

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