We came to the Grand Chinese Restaurant after reading an article on FanTuan’s (a Chinese food delivery service) website about how good this place is. After dining here, I now know what a paid review article looks like. Grand Chinese Restaurant has an ambitious name with disappointing food. For our readers who don’t read everything, know that this is a Cantonese cafe in disguise of a Szechuan cuisine restaurant.
Strength: Close to transit
Weakness: Food quality is below average
Other Chinese Restaurants
- Miss Fu In Chengdu (4.5 Stars)
- Fortune Lamb Dining (3.5 Stars)
- i-Cafe (3.5 Stars)
- TerraCotta Boyz (4 Stars)
Located near Brantwood Mall
The Grand Chinese Restaurant has illuminated signage with a red background to catch potential customer’s attention. They are located near the busy intersection of Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue, but being recessed by the parking lot make this restaurant not very noticeable. Their Chinese name indicate they are Szechuan cuisine focused restaurant. The menu resembles the Canadian cultural diversity where different food types can shine, but the food actually tastes like the American melting pot where nothing stands out.
Blurry glass at the dumpling station
Usually, Chinese restaurants feature a see-through kitchen to showcase either a clean kitchen or their skills in making the noodle/dumpling dish. Grand Chinese Restaurant also has one of those display kitchens but somehow the kitchen doesn’t look clean. Throughout my stay, I can hear the three staff inside chatting louder than customers without masks on. This makes me worried about what I am actually eating.
Worn chair and the wet table
Before I sat down I noticed our table might be recently wiped. I say that because I got the seat right when I walked in and did not see anyone wiping the table. However, the table was very wet with beads of water. Everything on the table was wet and the menu stuck to the table.
I have also noticed the skin of the leather chairs was peeling off at the edge.
Generic tableware with chopsticks at different lengths
Generic tablewares are used. If you pick up the plate, there will be a circle of water droplets underneath. Stainless steel mugs are used for tea.
Xiao Long Bao 8pc $8.50
The Xiao Long Bao is a Shanghai cuisine, and they can be ordered by either 6 pieces or 8 pieces. They are made to order by the 3 ladies behind the display kitchen. They look pretty good and the skins are relatively sturdy. There is an acceptable amount of juice within each Xiao Long Bao, but not to the point of flowing out. The taste was pretty bland, and there’s nothing memorable about them.
Szechuan Meat Salad $10.95
The Szechuan Meat Salad is beef innards with some meat, cilantro, and crushed peanuts. This is supposed to be a spicy dish, but all I tasted was soy sauce.
The edge of some cilantro has rotten
The cilantro is supposed to be an edible garnish to provide crispy texture variation in this dish, but the stem of this cilantro was thick and tough to chew. When I saw the rotten edge on the cilantro, I considered returning this dish. There is no way for me to know how much of the rotton portion has been mixed in with the meat.
Is this rice? $1.50 per bowl
The rice was very densely packed. I’m sure this speaks value for some, but this flushes the quality straight down the drain. I mean look at this rice pyramid’s angle of repose. It literally felt like I was eating one piece of rice cake.
House Special Boiled Fish Fillet in Chili Broth $18.95
The Boiled Fish Fillet in Chili Broth is another Szechuan Cuisine. After all, we came here thinking this is a Szechuan restaurant. The fish is your generic supermarket frozen fish. They seem to have been lightly fried to help with shape retention, but the texture was soggy. As expected, this dish is also not very spicy. Perhaps it’s spicy for their Cantonese customer base who is not used to eating spicy food, but this is definitely not authentic Szechuan cuisine.
604 Food Critic Assessment
The menu here is like a patchwork with no focus. This tells me they can make everything, but does not excel in anything. It’s kind of like an upgraded version of a Cantonese Cafe. They serve Southern Chinese cuisine like Szechuan food that is not spicy and Shanghai food that is not delicate. They also serve Northern Chinese cuisine like pancakes and noodles that I did not dare to try. The price of $26 per person is simply too high for the poor quality of food.
How to get in touch