I always have a good experience when I eat here. The food is consistently good and service efficient. They also have a wider range of dim sim here than other places. I also really love the old time ambience. Be warned you have to queue and wait on the weekends.
Place u wanna have real traditional Hong Kong style at a old building near to Chinatown area! Many locals visit this is the place! Like their beef stomach soup and HK style porridge ~ also like their Siew mai :)
Food ok not super super good!
I don't know the reason why this restaurant is so popular. Maybe because it provides really cheap dim sum - but at mediocre quality and at the expense of wasting time to queue up and experiencing lousy service.
One has to queue up for a considerable amount of time (20 to 30 mins) just to get a table. At the table, it is very natural to feel lost - no one seems to bother about you, and the dim sum carts take forever to come to your table. If one isn't proactive enough to find the dim sum push-carts yourself (i.e. walk everywhere in the restaurant to find the food yourself instead of sitting at the table waiting), one can spend a good 2 hours there with only 2 plates of dim sum on the table. Why are we paying restaurant prices, when we have to "serve ourselves", and eat food that's of foodcourt standards?
The quality of food there is really mediocre and in such small portions. It's totally not worth the money. Dim sum like 猪肠粉 aren't even fresh with the still floury texture and extremely dark sauce. This isn't how it should be done. The 叉烧酥 was not even crisp at all. The porridge wasn't real Cantonese style porridge either, and came in such a small bowl. There was only century egg in it and some fritters, no shreds of pork or anything. Yet it costs almost the same as porridge in places like Crystal Jade. The spare ribs was super oily - and more bones than meat. I don't know what I was eating. The phoenix legs was also bad.
Service standards are very poor and very slow as I described above. Ambience wise - enough said. It felt more like a Chinese New Year night market at Chinatown. Noisy, rowdy, packed, stuffy.
We spent almost $80 for 4, and felt like I ate almost nothing, apart from a few pieces of hawker style food. For the same price at Crystal Jade dim sum, I can enjoy quality food and service and feel full.
TIP: people going back there because of nostalgia does not necessariyl translate into good food or service.
let's start with the good points: it is an old place which people may mistake for "quaint". not true. "quaint" does not comprise of dingy lighting and uncleared tables strewn all over the place. and that's the first impression on walking into Red Star on a weekday afternoon as a first timer after hearing so many reviews about it.
the place is big, yes, but the previously occupied tables have not been cleared which leaves a choice selection of tables near the kitchen entrance. but let's back track a little to a question so basic that many of us take for granted:is it free seating or will there be a hostess to guide u to ur tables? for a supposedly "high class" setting, it may seem like a redundant questions to regulars but first timers will be left loitering aimlessly by the door, unsure of how to proceeed.
i had to approach an auntie by the counter to ask where to sit. more about aunties you'd expect in restaurants like these soon. without saying a word, she turned and went to look for a table, leavign me stranded again. only after she turned back and waved at me did i follow her.
finally seated, she gave us the menu which doubles as ur bill. push cart girl from china enters stage right. starts bombarding us with questions on what we want to eat. not to be outdone, the auntie starts asking us if we want tea. freaking MLM hard selling man. and that's even before we had the chance to look at the menu. and boy will u be amazed by the menu.
i tell impatient auntie to come back and take 1 "long" of siew mai from push cart china. auntie exits stage left. almost spat out the food when i saw the menu. FOUR BUCKS FOR A LONG OF SIEW MAI AND EVERYTHING ELSE?????????
let me tell u about the siew ma. u know the coffee shop dim sum stalls? u're better off eating that. and that's without considering the price. horrible horrible horrible and rip off. phoenix leg was mediocre also.
all these while push cart china was standing behind us pushing stuff. and when we turned back to the menu, she continued having a bloody loud conversation with another staff behind us.
impatient auntie enters stage left. by this time me and my friend were really pissed off. no, they were not going to suck any more money out of us. we tell her we don't want tea. she gave us attitude, they're gonna charge us anyway, so we better order.
SUpER PISSED OFF! she totally destroys the image of the warm friendly cantonese speaking aunties u normally find in dim sum and chinese restaurants in general.
swallowed the tasteless food and hot water mixed with leaves and left.
total bill: $12.xx for 1 siew mai, 1 phoenix leg and 2 tea.
verdict: take the food from ur neighbouhood coffee shop, throw in a bad experience and that's Red Star for you.
My colleagues' jaws pretty much dropped to the floor when I announced that I hadn't been to Red Star before. Within 5 mintues, I found myself in one of their cars on the way to the restaurant.
My first impression of the place? Huge, but old. This restaurant was probably one of the hotter venues for weddings back in the 80s but well, it's time for an upgrade, to be honest.
Experience wise, I enjoyed the fun of craning my neck every time a trolley passed by, and wishing that the cart with items we want would come our way. The food was decent, with a fair spread for vegetarians, but I would not find myself going out of the way to have a meal here.
Maybe for the novelty if friends from out of town would like some dim sum, but not for the dim sum itself.