Thursday, December 25, 2014

Top Gun J&C Restaurant 名堂公館 : Dinner


When I used to hear the words "Top Gun restaurant" which refers to a chain of restaurants in Vancouver, I always cringed. The reason is because back in my elementary years, there was a Top Gun Sushi restaurant in New Westminster. It was an All You Can Eat Japanese restaurant and the quality was not good, as in on par with Sui Sha Ya. Then there is Top Gun in Crystal Mall which is a Chinese AYCE hot pot restaurant, but serves dim sum during the day. I remember going to Top Gun Hot Pot throughout high school but the restaurant did not compare to any of the ones in Richmond and the prices were higher. Also, my parents never took me to try the dim sum there before so I always assumed the restaurant was nothing special.

But years later, I discovered Kingsway Sushi and Richmond Sushi which are also affiliated with the Top Gun Group. It was not until last year when I discovered both restaurants too, thanks to BF for knowing the food is not bad. We actually argued about trying those restaurants before because I was ignorant and believed all AYCE Japanese restaurants were like Fish On Rice, Kawawa and Sui Sha Ya! But turns out Kingsway Sushi and Richmond Sushi serves very fresh sashimi, as fresh as it can get. So with that being said, we purchased a membership card last year for $20.00 (which is only $10.00 now, lame!) and decided to make use of it at other Top Gun restaurants.

My expectations regarding Top Gun J&C were similar to the other restaurants in the group, negative at first and not very high. However, Top Gun J&C is actually considered a fine dining restaurant and I had no clue. The interior surprised me and looks fairly "fancy". There are white linens, chopstick covers, gold seat covers, cloth napkins, and spacious seating arrangements. In addition, the staff were attentive, courteous, friendly and professional. There were only three seated tables on a weekend visit throughout our duration however, but the service was consistent and did not disappear (which happens a lot at other "fine dining" restaurants for us).

Also when ordering, our waiter was very informative when we inquired about the menu. BF asked a lot of questions because some of the prices seemed off (as in too cheap) and the waiter treated us like it was our first visit at Chinese restaurant. He was really courteous and genuinely wanted to help us.


HOUSE ASSORTED DRIED SEAFOOD SLOWLY BOILED ($9.80).
Rating: 4/5.
The double boiled soup reminds of Lao Ren Cha, which is the Chinese method of preparing tea. The soup is served in a clay teapot and is consumed from a teacup with small sips to maximize the aroma and flavour. There is no mess or fuss and you drink the soup as if it was tea. The soup has a rich dried seafood flavour and the kitchen boiled the heck of the ingredients, resulting in one of the most flavourful slow cooked soups I ever had at a Chinese restaurant.

CHICKEN AND CORN SOUP ($5.25).
Rating: 3/5.
The chicken and corn soup has a mild sweetness from the plentiful amount of sweet niblets, along with a nice thickened consistency. The soup does not taste watery one bit and there are nice egg white swirls. Moreover, the chicken broth tastes fairly rich.

2.9LB LOBSTER IN SUPREME BROTH ($14.99/LB).
Rating: 3/5.
There is currently a promotion for membership card holders, 40% off live seafood which is a good deal. The lobster tastes just cooked where the meat tastes bouncy and not rubbery one bit. As for the sauce, the broth tastes light but tasteful and there is a hint of sweetness from the onions. There is also no lack of sauce despite the appearance and the broth does not dry up fast.

After we got close to finishing the lobster, a waiter asked if the kitchen can start on the other dishes which we appreciate. The food expedition was perfect at the restaurant and we did not feel rushed or have too many dishes on the table at once.

PAN FRIED SCALLOPS WITH MATSUTAKE SAUCE ($25.95).
Rating: 2.5/5.
Whoa, the scallops are huge! Top Gun J&C serves the largest scallops I have had at a Chinese restaurant, including higher end restaurants such as EmpireKirin and Sun Sui Wah. Although unfortunately, the scallops are overcooked. The scallops are not stringy, but are practically creeping there. As for the matsutake, the flavour is too light and lacks that rich aroma. The green peas and celery on the other hand, taste fresh and crisp. But, the highlight should be the scallops and matsutake.

PAN FRIED STICKY RICE WITH PRESERVED CHINESE MEAT ($19.80).
Rating: 3.5/5.
The sticky rice is somewhat similar to an order of yeung chow fried rice, consisting of dried shrimp (instead of shrimp), egg, Chinese sausage (rather than barbecue pork) and green onion. The plentiful amount of ingredients also have a fused together flavour and one ingredient does not overwhelm another. Top Gun J&C does not cheap out on the dried shrimp too which some restaurants do. In addition, the rice is nicely cooked and tastes soft along with sticky but not mushy.

DOUBLE BOILED WHOLE PAPAYA WITH ALMOND JUICE ($7.95).
Rating: 4/5.
We ordered two items for dessert, one being a steamed papaya with almond juice. The almond juice tastes very rich and has a hint of sweetness. As for the papaya, the fruit tastes tender, juicy and sweet.

DOUBLE BOILED BIRD'S NEST WITH ALMOND JUICE ($18.80).
Rating: 4/5.
The second dessert is the bird's nest which we inquired about before ordering because of the cheaper than usual price. We wanted to confirm if there are actual bird's nest in the soup, but still remained skeptical regarding the quality. Fortunately neither was an issue however. The almond milk tastes rich with a mild level of sweetness like the above and there is plenty of bird's nest. The bird's nest is not the highest grade of course, but is not the lowest either. Furthermore, the bird's nest is well cooked, tastes soft and there is generous amount. The dessert is a higher quality than Kirin's and tastes much better.

TOTAL: $130.05 + TIP $19.95 = $150.00.

On the way out of the restaurant, I snapped a photo of the interior and one of the owners was very friendly. He joked about taking more photos to do free advertising for him and throughout our dinner, all the staff were genuinely friendly and engaging. The people here are one of the nicest staff I have encountered at a restaurant, including non-Asian fine dining restaurants. With regards to the food, the desserts were better than the entrees and the double boiled soup is very good. I will most likely revisit for dinner just because of the desserts along with the soup, but also since I have a membership card.

Top Gun J&C exceeded my expectations overall and their dim sum looks pretty good too. The next restaurant on my dim sum list is definitely here! Although I heard the Burnaby location is supposedly better, but… the photos from the Richmond location looks better.

POSITIVES
- Above average food
- Good food expedite
- Comfortable atmosphere
- Attentive, courteous and professional staff

NEGATIVES
- Overcooked scallops
- Higher prices (like many restaurants in Richmond)

LITTLE THINGS
- 10% off for gold card members
- Current promotion on live seafood, 40% off for members
- Other Top Gun restaurants include Kingsway Sushi, Richmond Sushi, Top Gun Hot Pot and Garden City

Food: 3.5/5
Service: 4.5/5

Top Gun J&C Restaurant 名堂公館 on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. Hi is this meal only for 2 people?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The meal was only for two people, but could easily feed three.

      Delete

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