This past weekend was particularly exciting because two friends of mine got married. After a beautiful and touching outdoor ceremony, everyone gathered at Dragon View Restaurant in Richmond to celebrate the joyous occasion. I looked forward to the Chinese wedding banquet as I had not been to one in several years (the other weddings I attended had gone with Western cuisine ). The bride and groom were aware that I was photographing the dishes and going to express my opinion of the food on my blog.
12 Course Chinese Banquet
The dinner consisted of 12 courses including roasted pig appetizer platter, deep fried crab claw with shrimp paste, braised hairy melon with scallop, shark fin soup with crab meat (ack!), lobster in consomme sauce, braised whole abalone with oyster sauce, deep fried crispy whole chicken, steamed rock cod, fried rice, stewed e-fu noodles, red bean soup, and Chinese treats.
The courses are presented in the image slider below, but I will discuss certain dishes in detail.
In general, I felt that the food *tasted* good. I was disappointed, however, that one of the courses was shark fin soup. It has honestly been several years since I actually had shark fin soup, and since then I have been educated on the methods in which the fins are harvested. Because of my beliefs, I opted not to have the soup. Others felt the same way as well and either told the server to not give them a bowl or set the bowl aside if they were given one. The older generation does still see shark fin soup as a delicacy to be had at special occasions, but I think the younger generations may see things differently.
The execution is what I have the most to talk about as there were some things that were handled differently compared to what I have experienced before at other weddings. I do not know if this was the intended by the couple and their families or simply how the restaurant executes the dinner, so I am simply commenting based on my observations.
Each course was plated individually elsewhere prior to being served to each person. I felt that this was not ideal as an allure of the Chinese banquet dinner is that we can see the dish in its entirety and drool over its magnificence. All the courses were divided prior to arriving at the table and there were absolutely no extras or leftovers. This is perhaps the first Chinese banquet where people could not have a second helping or take home any leftovers (at least rice or noodles). I do not know if this was a way for the restaurant to mask the small portion size by serving them individually.
For more expensive courses, it is reasonable to have smaller portions. However, I was disappointed by the fact that the *least expensive dishes* like rice and noodles had such small portions.
Furthermore, the steamed rock cod was more bones than meat unfortunately.
Each person had just one bowl of red bean soup.
I think some better ways of execution could have been presenting the course at the table and then dividing it up at the table so that guests could watch. Another way would be to have the traditional Lazy Susan so that guests could help themselves (providing that portions are adequate).
The presentation could have been improved on several of the dishes. For the roasted pig appetizer platter, the salmon slice was not very visible and at the bottom of the dish.
The single crab claw on the plate seemed a bit lonely on a plate. Perhaps a bowl might have been better.
Going with the rice and noodles mentioned earlier, the restaurant could have made it look less sloppy. One possibility is to shape the rice and noodles to have a rounded top, but you would need a bigger portion for that…
Dragon View Restaurant’s special event menus are available online. There seems to be some substitutions to some of the courses compared to their standard menus, but my best estimate for the food alone would be *at least* $130 per person. For that pricing (which is on the higher end for a Chinese restaurant), I found the value to be disappointing.
Overall Impression of Dragon View Restaurant
The food served by Dragon View Restaurant for the wedding banquet tasted good, but I was most unimpressed by the portions. After reviewing their menu pricing for special events, I found the value to be poor overall. Dragon View Restaurant also serves shark fin soup which is controversial. The restaurant is spacious, classy and clean but I personally would not return to the restaurant and would not recommend it. Rating: 2.5/5