Dinesty Chinese Restaurant- Way Below My Expectations

Many years ago when Dinesty Chinese Restaurant just opened, I laughed at the name thinking it was an error due to some bad Chinese-English translation. However, people told me that it was done on purpose and this Shanghai restaurant is actually pretty tasty.

I’ve tried to dine here on numerous occasions but the ridiculously long line up always deterred me away. Today, Kirma (my mama) and I finally tackled this restaurant and I have to say… my experience here was like waiting and waiting for the perfect Christmas present, and to open the pristine packaging to find a lump of coal.

The interior is quite modern and their big chairs are very comfy.

I thought the wall of teapots were pretty cool. By the way,
service here is pretty much nonexistent. I don’t think I’ve gotten such
inattentive service in a long time. I was ignored two times when I tried to get the waitress to write down my name on the list, our bill was given to the wrong table, and it took forever to get back our change.

I absolutely love their menu because it made me want to
order everything! I wish every restaurant had a menu that looked like this.

Maybe these beautifully styled pictures contributed to the
disappointment of our food because it definitely did not live up to the
expectations we had, especially after seeing the menu.

I did appreciate the completely open kitchen because it
means they have nothing to hide.

The Radish Slice Cake
came with three pieces and I have the XLB sauce dish beside it so
you can see the size in comparison.

The radish cakes were much smaller than I thought and I’ve
definitely had better elsewhere.

I liked that the pastry was flaky, but I would have
preferred defined slices of radish in it. I’ve gotten radish cakes at the food
court in Empire Center and it was wayyyyy better than this.

Kirma was very excited to get the Noodle Soup with Salted Vegetable and Pork ($6.50) but it ended up
being a disappointment because she said the traditional Shanghai
 way of making
this dish is to use white soup. Instead of a creamy white soup, it was more
like a watered down beef broth.

Also, the noodles were thick and resembled ones that one
would get in Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup. Shanghai noodles are supposed to be
thinner and softer. I didn’t mind this too much but I did agree that the dish
as a whole was neither flavourful nor tasty.

The Pork Dumplings
aka Xiao Long Bao were pretty good. The size is relatively smaller
than regular ones and the skin is very thin.

I personally like bigger XLBs because I like more soup and I
found these ones not quite as juicy as the ones from Shanghai River or Chen’s
Shanghai Kitchen (
post here).

When the Salty Soy
Milk ($2.50)
was first brought to our table, we both did a double take. The
soy milk looked kind of weird!
 Instead of the smooth creamy texture
of… well, soy milk, it was lumpy and looked kind of like tofu instead.

This was the end product after stirring it around a little
bit. Clumps of tofu-soy milk. Is this another version of Salty Soy Milk I don’t
know about? Kirma and I barely touched this because it wasn’t good at all. I
can’t even tell you how large of a difference this is to the one I had from
Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen. I’m going to stick with Chen’s
whenever I want salty soy milk.

So here’s the damage. For roughly $12/person for lunch, I
absolutely did not get my money’s worth here. From the nonexistent service to
the ‘meh’ food, I will not be coming back anytime soon. There are way better
restaurants than this in Richmond. However, don’t completely take my word for
it because other people have had good experiences here so maybe mine was not
the norm.

Service Rating: 1.5/5
Food Rating: 2.5/5
Price: $-$$ (below $20)

Overall Rating: 2/5

Happy Eating!

Dinesty Chinese Restaurant 聚 on Urbanspoon

8 thoughts on “Dinesty Chinese Restaurant- Way Below My Expectations

  • November 3, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Hahaha! Did you visit "today" as in TODAY Nov. 2nd? Because I was there too today and was just about to write a post on it 😛
    I think you ordered the wrong items. They do the buns/bread/XLB really well, and the rest of the stuff is just… blah. Luckily you didn't order the sour and spicy soup because that's just plain weird (there's black pepper in it and it's bright red).
    I agree with you on the lack of service. In fact I haven't been back since 2 yrs ago when the waitress pretty much grabbed my chopsticks as soon as I put the last bite in my mouth because it was near closing time. But I was craving Shanghainese today, and I remember the dessert buns being really tasty, so I gave it another try. I had a pretty good experience with the food this time since I ordered mainly bread items. And I hear you on the salty soy milk. I didn't think it was horrible, but definitely strange…

  • November 3, 2011 at 3:51 am

    Hahaha no way!! Yeah I went there literally today! Oh, how I wish I knew your recommendations before trying this place because I was so disappointed 🙁 I will probably end up not going back for 2 years like you from my experience today lol

    They make good dessert buns? I must read it when you post!

  • November 3, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Wow, I didn't think Dinesty Chinese would be such a disappointment :/ My mom actually wanted to try that place out too! Thanks for telling me Kip!

  • November 3, 2011 at 6:20 am

    No problem! Although you guys could still give it a try because I honestly have heard quite good things about this place 😛

  • November 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Dinesty was quite good when it first opened, by the same owners of Vogue and 筷子. Unfortunately, we stopped going for the past year (or a year and a half) due to the changes in service and quality…

    The radish cake should have julienne cuts of radish, not slices.

    Your friend was right, the authentic way of making the 雪菜肉絲麵 is clear broth, however, noodles is not always thin. In fact, due to history influence, many people (Shanghainese) prefer medium to thicker noodles (but that's another story). In the end, it's all about personal preference.

    The salty soy milk looked off, and I am sure it probably tasted off. However, a proper salty soy milk should curdle (kinda like a tofu dessert) and it's done by adding black vinegar. This is the traditional way of making this dish, however, it's not accepted by many people nowadays (especially younger generation) and it's not often spotted in Shanghai (it slowly faded for the past couple of decades).

    The XLB looked pretty much the same as I remembered. I was told by a server (who's husband was one of the XLB chef) that their two main XLB chefs were recruited from Taiwan's 鼎泰豐 and 點水樓. However, my favorite XLB in 604 is still from Long's Noodle House 小龍記.

    Also, Dinesty is a Taiwanese-style Shanghainese restaurant, so the tastes may not be accepted by many mainlanders.

  • November 4, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Wow Buddha Girl thank you for all the insight! I never knew that salty soy milk was suppose to curdle so thank you for letting me know! I think I'm still more used to the liquid kind. Especially with the dried shrimp and seaweed… it's delicious!

    I'm surprised the XLB chefs from Dinesty are recruited from Taiwan O.O because I feel there are definitely better XLBs out there. I've never tried Long's Noodle House so maybe i'll give that a try. 🙂

    And yes! I mean julienne, not slices!! What was I thinking? LOL

  • June 3, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Hi, i came here via a google search on this restaurant, and had a good laugh because my dad also ordered the salty soy milk and sent it back to be remade for the exact opposite reason – his didn't curdle properly! According to him it's supposed to look like the one you ordered 😉 we're from taiwan so maybe theres a difference between mainland chinese and taiwanese versions?

  • June 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Haha that's interesting! Maybe when I go back to Asia this summer, I'll find out which kind is which!


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