Updated: 26th Sep 2010: This restaurant is replaced with Beijing Cuisine.
Did any of you noticed that there had been a lot of restaurants that had been closed the last few months? We did. It is sad that many of our favourite restaurants are no longer there. What is sadder to learn is that some good restaurants were opened for just a few months.
One such restaurant we like was Vogue. We had blogged about our lunch at Vogue before here.
When we were back at the Continental Mall last weekend, we were puzzled standing in front of this restaurant where Vogue used to be. It is all familiar except that the name Vogue is absent from the signboard. Vogue had the same distinctive all white signage with black cursive Chinese characters for a logo. Moreover Vogue had always been known as a Taiwanese restaurant.
In place is a restaurant that is simply called Taiwanese Cuisine. We decided to check this place out instead of the other place we wanted to go for lunch.
The interior is different from what we remembered of Vogue. The same high-back dark leather chairs seems to be the same. We were curious and so we asked the waitress how recently had they opened. We were told that it’s the same restaurant as Vogue! It seems like they had just rebranded the place and did a bit of renovations here.
Obviously, Suanne and I were puzzled as to why would a restaurant want to do that. The only thing we can think of is perhaps they had some problems with Vancouver Coastal Health but no, they do NOT have that problem, we checked. I can see that the waitress does not want to answer more of my questions and I just let it rest to focus on food.
Do any of you know what strategic reasons there are that restaurants spend money to rebrand their restaurants? I can think of another Richmond restaurant that had just undergone rebranding. Zephyr in the Sky is now known as Delicious Cuisine. Maybe both Zephyr and Vogue are the same owners and they are consolidating the brand to something Cuisine? You reckon? He he he … me and my logic!
Service was not stellar. I don’t like it. You see … this time it was just Suanne and I. This restaurant has way too many large tables and all the small two seater tables were taken. What is left are the five and ten seaters. They want us to take the ten seater tables. We said no because we sort of suspect they will force us to share tables with other customers. We pointed that we would like to have the nearest five seaters table but she said it was reserved (no reserved sign was there, fine). I then pointed to another five seater and only then she reluctantly gave that to us. Guess what, just shortly after we were seated another party came in was seated at the table they told us was reserved. From the overheard conversation, the party did not have a reservation. They lied to us!
Enough of that. One thing about Taiwanese restaurants … do you notice, most of them stick a printout of your orders on the table? They check the items off as they deliver each item to the table. I see this method employed mostly in Taiwanese restaurants.
For starters, we ordered Jellied Pork. We don’t know what this is and ordered this simply because it was something new to us. This dish costs $6 and is served cold with julienne raw ginger. It had an odd texture and tasted quite bland. Both Suanne and I did not like it at all. We ate half of this and left the rest untouched.
Now the next order was much better. Suanne opted for their combo dish. The above is only $8 and came in a large tray. So it is a lot of value for money if you ask me. There are a a total of 16 choices from this combo set. The one that Suanne ordered is called the Crispy Chicken.
The Crispy Chicken is really nice and very much like popcorn chicken pieces. It is deep fried and so it was crunchy. It was a bit kind of dry eating this alone with steamed rice. However, the combo have also …
… sides of stewed tofu and stir fried beansprouts. We thought if the tofu is spicy it would have been better.
The third sides is the salad which had an odd pinkish color to the dressing.
For me, I ordered the Stewed Seafood and Tofu with Crab Meat Sauce. This $13 dish is served in a claypot and does not come with rice. I find it odd that for something that costs $13 it should have rice with this. For that price, I had high expectation for this dish. It turned out to be quite flavorless and had a lot of soft tofu … too much as a matter of fact. I can’t find any crab meat in the hotpot … maybe they blended it in the stew, no?
The bill came up to just under $30 before taxes. Hmmm … we were not awed by our visit here (it is our way of saying we are disappointed!). I had better experience when this place was Vogue. Taiwanese Cuisine accepts only cash. Here is their menu:
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Yum, the tofu looks tasty. I’m a huge fan of tofu in clay pots, cause it just soaks up all the sauce. Ugh, I’m starting to drool now. Woops!
I was wondering why you didn’t get the Taiwanese beef noodle soup, until I skimmed the menu. The menu looks like any other Chinese restaurant’s menu, with the addition of a handful of dishes that are Taiwanese. I guess it’s to attract a wider range of customers.
Great post Ben!
We went there for dinner and was thinking of putting it up on a blog, but it was so bad we decided not to. your dish is probably a ‘dish’ and doesn’t come with rice, it’s like ordering a regular order of sweet and sour, it never comes with rice unless it’s a personal sized portion or combo.
we went there for dinner, the food was subpar and so was the service, they are owned by the same people as Dinesty where they have great XLB, but it’s night and day from that place. We had the XLB here, and it’s not fresh like Dinesty, it’s frozen. we had the jellied lamb, not much lamb. we had the crab tofu….really really bland. we had the shredded pork….way too sweet and salty.
we’re more picky than you, if we encounter poor service, we’ll walk out right away, part of the eating experience is the service and ambiance, if that’s poor, we’re not going to enjoy the meal and they don’t need my money that i worked hard for.
Here’s some background on the whole Delicious Cuisine/Zephyr/Vogue ownership.
Originally the Zephyr side was Insomnia karaoke bar, I have no idea why it shared the kitchen with Delicious Cuisine…then later on Insomnia closed and Delicious Cuisine took over both sides. Zephyr didn’t really change their name to Delicious Cuisine…it still has the same name in Chinese.
Now, onto Vogue. Vogue’s owner is the son of the owner of Delicious Cuisine. He decided to open up his own place. This info is a couple years old tho…so I dunno if he still owns Vogue. (BTW, Vogue changed its name to “Chopsticks” in Chinese…it’s not just called “Taiwanese Cuisine”.)
I know all this because my uncle is a good friend of the owner of Delicious Cuisine.
The receipt still says “Vogue”!
I used to go to Vogue a lot. I really liked their food and their hot waitresses… er, I mean I really enjoyed staring at Vogue’s hot waitresses, um…ah forget it.
Anyway, I’ve been back a couple times since the name change and found the experience to be pretty similar. They still make one of the best “3-Cup Chicken” dishes imo.
However, with the name change, they also seem to have a new less-hot staff 🙁 Hence, I don’t go there as often as I did. There are so many good restaurants in that complex (Pearl Castle, Sushi House, G-Men Ramen, Posh, …).
I think your “Stewed Seafood and Tofu with Crab Meat Sauce” is a bad translation of the dish. From the Chinese print out on the receipt, it means “Stewed Seafood and Tofu with Crab Guts”. Direct Chinese translation is “Crab Yellow”.
Well, Vogue was pretty bad before it closed down. No more pretty waitress and food was bland… I guess it’s the same owner since the receipt has the old name on it.
Ah … that figures, Winnie. No wonder I could not see Crab Meat. Ben
I think they are just too cheap to pay for programming change to replace the vogue name on the receipt.
Sometimes restaurants are “re-branded” if they come under new ownership to start “fresh” in the eyes of the consumer. Other times the same owners may wish to re-position their business to better compete with emerging trends.
I’ve been to Vogue upon your first review. It was ok but didn’t stand out in quality nor value.
Your recent review to me seems generous on the food (at least the crispy chicken). If you look at the three side dishes of sprouts, tofu and corn niblets on Thousand Island dressing on top of iceberg lettuce, all three are virtually freebies from the restaurant. Even the chicken portion doesn’t seem generous enough for the $8. If you really like the Taiwanese crispy pork chop or chicken, I’ll send you two recommendations around your office, one is by walking distance, the other 5 mins by car !
Oh wow, I didn’t know that Vogue closed down. I used to go to Vogue a lot, but stopped because we received bad service from them. The food was pretty good, but we haven’t went there for awhile now, so I have no clue about the food.
Anyway, there’s a place called Kalvin’s Restaurant on Victoria and 36th, right across from a Chevron gas station. It’s authentic Taiwanese food, and the service is excellent. Although they don’t have the hot waitresses, the food is too good for us to care. Also, it’s not that expensive, but it can get quite squishy in there because it’s really small.
This is our substitute to Vogue, and we haven’t gone there for a long time now.
If you’re ever around the area, try it out!
Hi Stinky Tofu:
I had tried Kalvin before but never blogged about it. Thanks for the reminder — we will most certainly check it out one of these days.
I’ve been told that sometimes the name change is for tax evasion~!!
He he he … maybe the word tax avoidance will be better description. 🙂
Hey Suanne and Ben, have you guys tried Fortune Garden on Broadway west? It’s a Szechuan restaurant and their Tan Tan Noodles are superb, as well as the pork chops that comes with it. I’m from Calgary and whenever I go to Vancouver, I would always pay a visit. Hope you guys try it out and tell me what you guys think 🙂
1) Next time you’re in town, try this “new” (1.5 yrs ?) Beijing/Northern restaurant called Peaceful on West Broadway between Cambie and Ash. Small place but clean and cheery. Good service, excellent food at very decent prices:
Menu and prices are on their site.
2) Another relative new place of same cuisine is Lin, also on W. Broadway 1/2 block west of Granville. Again very good authentic food, esp. their small steamed buns (xioa long bao) and dan dan noodles:
Hi LotusRapper: Interesting … we love The Place and will definitely check out Lin’s too. I hope it is as good as The Place.
Ben, as mentioned in that Chowhound thread, The Place’s co-owner is the new founder/owner of Lin’s. I got some takeout from The Place maybe around Christmas and it wasn’t the same at all (in fact, much worse) as your (or my) meals there before. Perhaps Lin’s brought over the cooks that were working at The Place ?
Lin’s is so far a highly regarded venue food-wise. We eat there (or take out) regularly about once every 4-6 weeks in the past year and they have yet disappointed. One dish I would recommend is the “Happy Family Hot Pot” for $16. It’s not really hot pot (bad translation) but rather a HUGE bowl of long-simmered clear broth soup with napa cabbage, glass noodles, egg dumplings and other ingredients ….. a very warming dish for the cold wet Vancouver winters. This dish is good for about 6-8 people so a tremendous value. You can even order it in advance by calling, and bring your own 6-8 quart stock pot and they’ll fill it for you for the same price as eat-in. There’s my lil’ secret for ya.
Sam – been to Shalin Noodles about three times, strangely their food don’t appeal to me. Can’t explain it. My favorite (so far) noodle joint these days is Laoshandong on Kingsway at Nelson. Ben’s blogged this one not too long ago, it’s practically steps from his (and mine) office. I was there for lunch just two days ago.
Have you been to Sha Lin Noodle House on broadway? I don’t know what they call it in English, but it’s along the lines of “knife cut noodle” it’s pretty good the broth is very good as well. Of course it’s been 2 years since I’ve been there.
There’s a good Shanghainese restaurant in Richmond called Shanghai Wind.
Overall, Fortune Garden is my all time favorite.
Sam – been to Shalin Noodles about three times, strangely their food don’t appeal to me. Can’t explain it. My favorite (so far) noodle joint these days is Laoshandong on Kingsway at Nelson. They’re more northern Chinese and Taiwan beef noodles. Ben’s blogged this one not too long ago, it’s practically steps from his (and mine) office. I was there for lunch just two days ago.
Fortune Garden …. walked by there probably hundreds of times but never been in. They always look crowded which is a good sign. Will have to keep them in mind.
Ooops, LIN actually has a website !
have you tried Chiffon Chine Cuisine? They taste way better. you have try it if you haven’t. Chiffon is better in my opinion!!
Hi Kenneth: Is Chiffon new? Come to think of it I had never driven into that strip mall for food before. Maybe it’s because of the hedge around it and also the car wash operation makes people think there is nothing there. I will check it out.
Ew the jellied pork looks really gross! I’m writing my review for it right now. I tried a couple of their Shanghainese dishes but wasn’t too impressed. Some of their claypots looks decent though.
This restaurant changed names yet again. Went here last night and it was called Shanghai Cuisine. I found it interesting how the name is so similar to the previous one. Menu seems pretty similar to all the other Shanghainese restaurants around Richmond and looks like decor is pretty similar. They do have one of those glass windows where you can look into the kitchen though.
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