Christmas Day came around and of course, it was spent sleeping in and visiting family. Normally, my mom makes a couple of cornish hens with stuffing and we call it a night. This year though, my grandma was joining us for dinner, so Asian cuisine it was! Mom chose Emperor’s Palace as the destination, although I had warned her of the atrocious rating is has on Urbanspoon. Granted most of those were probably based on diner’s dim sum experience, but ratings are ratings.
Walking in, you’re faced with a bunch of stacked chairs to your left (an open storage space?) and to your right, the Emperor’s golden chair. The restaurant’s office is straight in front, paperwork lying around and a computer in open view. A bit odd… but okay.
We arrived for an early dinner so the restaurant was only occupied with a few tables. Service was quick and very attentive. The menu is extensive so if you’re looking for something new to try, it’ll most definitely take you a few minutes to decide.
To start, we had cream corn and fish maw soup. This is by far my family’s standard Chinese dinner soup. It wasn’t spectacular but it was nicely done. Add with a bit of red vinegar and a sprinkle of white pepper and you’re set.
Although I’m a fan of Peking duck, nobody else in my family seems to think it’s ever worth getting. Instead, they opted for the crab. It’s available in many different preparations but my favorite is the spicy salt and fried onions. Complements with the sweet taste of crab, rather than the slimy green onion alternative.
For my mom and dad, they enjoy the simplistic dishes of beef and broccoli and a chow mein dish of sorts. For the most part, they’re easy enough to make yet somehow a lot of Chinese restaurants either under season or over season their dishes. Surprisingly, these dishes were well seasoned and the chow mein dish was made with fresh ingredients, including the seafood.
For dessert, I wanted to try something different besides the purple rice pudding included with that night’s meal. The mango pudding was smooth and silky, even though the canned fruits were doused in the sweet syrup which it came from. In order to get this dish, we had to struggle a bit with the servers to get their attention. By the end of our meal, the restaurant was filled and the service drastically declined. I could see why the reviews were less than stellar. Seemed like they didn’t have enough staff for the night (granted it was Christmas Day, a holiday where most people stay at home to make dinner).
On your way out, displays of Chinese delicacies are featured on the back walls: dried shark fin and the special bird nest, where the nests of swifts made from interwoven saliva strands are made into soups. Interesting! Have yet to try either soups but maybe next time. It wasn’t the best Chinese dinner I had in my life, but it wasn’t bad! My family was full and happy with the night. I’d return to try more dishes, hopefully a Peking duck next time, which seemed to be on every table except ours!