You can thank Mack for the eye-rolling title quote.
It’s always nice to have more options within walking distance of the office, so when signs of a new restaurant where Rosie’s used to be on 106 Avenue and 100 Street appeared, I was excited. Urban China opened up in the fall, and I was eager to give them a try.
Dickson and I met up for a dim sum lunch one afternoon. A handful of tables were occupied, with one or two non-Asian groups seated when I entered. The host immediately greeted me in Chinese, to which I ungracefully replied in English, and was led to a table.
The interior had been completely redone, with fabulous results. Unlike most Chinese restaurants that utilize too many gold accents and fake fauna, Urban China chose the sophisticated route of dark wood, leather chairs, bright aquariums and a single red accent wall. It is a sleek space that seems destined to become popular for special occasions and banquets.
Of course, that previous statement would only be true if the food matched the expectations set by the décor. At Urban China, dim sum is both a cart and paper affair. For the limited number of tables, it seemed rather silly for the restaurant to offer carts at all, even though I prefer the jostling atmosphere incurred by drive-by hawkers. Because of their limited pre-cooked selection, we ultimately ended up ordering a few dishes directly from the kitchen anyway.
The dim sum litmus test of ha gao and siu mai ($4.25 each) wasn’t overly positive for Urban China – the shrimp dumplings were the better of the two, but for the price and wavering quality, we were better off at a cheaper establishment.
The rice crepes with shrimp ($4.75) were probably the best of our dishes that day, which contained a fair amount of shrimp encased in a silky wrap. My BBQ pork buns ($3.75) on the other hand were poor, a congealed meat filling with an almost pasty quality in every bite. Dickson was similarly unimpressed with his steamed egg yolk sauce buns ($3.75), commenting that the frozen versions at T & T were better.
Rice Crepe with Shrimp
BBQ Pork Buns
Sharing small plates for lunch is always a nice way to go, particularly in a clean and chic environment. But at least for dim sum, Urban China doesn’t provide the best value or quality. I’ll have to come back to try their dinner menu to see if it holds up.
10604 101 Street