Last week, on the recommendation of a friend, I visited Regal Seafood House in Stafford to try their fried shrimp and sea cucumbers. It had been a while since my last visit, and while the two dishes in particular weren't as remarkable as I'd hoped, I was glad to reacquaint myself with Regal's dim sum, which I found on the whole outstanding.
For those who aren’t already familiar with Regal Seafood, it’s owned by the same company that brought us E-Tao in the Galleria, which earned fame early on for its magnificent soup dumplings. Regal had higher aspirations than its Galleria counterpart, positioning itself as a Cantonese seafood specialist to rival long-established restaurants like Fung’s Kitchen and Ocean Palace. There are tanks of live seafood just inside the restaurant entrance, and the restaurant menu and layout caters to large extended families, with large round tables topped with lazy susans and private rooms for multi-course banquet style meals.
However, its location — on the 59 South feeder just south of West Airport Boulevard in Stafford — means that it doesn’t get as much traffic as its Asiatown counterparts, so beginning Monday April 29, owner Edmund Mo has decided to run a promotion that he’s hoping will entice foodies to his location: $4.99 per dish for all dim sum dishes, regardless of size.
Regal’s dim sum dishes, like most dim sum places around town, are currently offered at four price points corresponding to the size of each dish. Small (S) dishes are $3.99, Medium (M) dishes are $4.99, Large (L) dishes are $5.99, and Extra Large (XL) dishes are $6.99. (Note that specialty $9.99 dishes are not included in this offer). During the special, all dim sum regardless of size will be offered at the $4.99 price, every day including weekends, from 10:30 a.m to 3 p.m.
If your tendency is to order small or medium-sized dim sum dishes, there won’t be any cost savings, but Mo’s expectation is that guests will use the special as a chance to sample some of the costlier dishes that they might otherwise balk at trying.
Case in point, we tried the dry-fried har gow (XL) for the first time during our recent visit, and it was a revelation. The har gow dumpling wrapper can be a bit thick and doughy for my personal taste, but the dry-fried version, tossed with some fresh chili, onion and garlic, had this wonderfully crisp, puffy glutinous rice texture that I greatly enjoyed. It was the first time I'd tried these dumplings prepared in this manner, and for me they easily trumped the steamed version.
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When I spied three orders of the most tantalizing-looking shu mai headed towards a nearby table, I waved our server down so I could try an order of them as well (pictured at top). Classified as a medium-sized dim sum dish, you won’t get any cost savings during the upcoming special, but it’s worth the trek to try these plump and juicy beauties — arguably the best version of shu mai I’ve had in Houston to date.
On Mo’s recommendation, we also tried the double steam egg custard, an extra-large dim sum dish, for dessert. Served in a beautiful mini white soup tureen, the exceedingly light, rock-sugar sweetened steamed egg white custard was so extraordinary, it had me and my companion scraping the sides of the dish with our spoons to get at every last drop.
The verdict: Run, don’t walk to Regal Seafood House to partake of this limited time $4.99 dim sum special. Asked how long the special would run, Mo says it all depends on how well the promotion is received. "It could be a month; it could be three months," he said noncommittally. So get it while you can. You just might find your new go-to dim sum spot.