NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own personal experience.
Seafood boils have been exploding in Vancouver and appears to be the new trend. I guess that means we don’t need to go down to Seattle for Crab Pot! A few weeks ago, I was invited by ChineseBites to attend a tasting at 21 Nautical Miles in Yaletown.
The restaurant took over the previous tenant, Society, so the decor is still somewhat similar with high ceilings. High tables and chairs with a bar feel is what I would describe the restaurant. I do find that the decor is slightly odd for the type of food we’re eating, but we are in Yaletown.
At the entrance though, you get the Asian decor with modernized paintings and cute chairs. As you can tell, the restaurant features seafood boils with Asian flavours.
We started off with a 3 litre tower of beer. Definitely reminded me of the times when we had this in Spain, but I haven’t seen this anywhere in Vancouver yet. Great to share across the table! They also have wine and pretty much any other drink you want since they have a large bar.
Seafood Party: Garlic Butter
And then the Seafood Party started! The seafood boils come in a metal bowl and are dumped onto your table which has been covered with parchment paper. Each diner will have a mallet and wooden board so you can smash open your crab. You’ll also get plastic gloves and a bib so you can get as messy as you want! There is a two person minimum order and it’ll cost you $38.95 per person. This will get you BC Dungeness crab, selva tiger prawns, blue mussels, clams, corn and potato. If you want to get fancy like we did, you can also add on Alaskan king crab, lobster tail, and snow crab. There are also four flavours to choose from, and pictured here is the Garlic Butter. This is perfect for those who can’t eat spicy and is really the only option since the other three are all spicy. This was a crowd pleaser since you really can’t go wrong with garlic butter flavoured anything!
Seafood Party: Black Pepper
Moving on to something a little spicy was the Black Pepper flavour. This flavour reminded me of the late night clams you get at Cantonese restaurants. The Alaskan king crab was delicious by the way. Normally, I don’t really care for king crab because I find that our BC Dungeness crabs are quite meaty already, but man, these were juicy! I highly recommend splurging a little to get the king crab here! One leg is plenty to share with your guests.
Seafood Party: Xi’an Spicy
Another level up in terms of spice gets you the Xi’an Spicy. With red chili peppers giving that extra kick, I actually really enjoyed this as it had a depth of flavour and wasn’t just plain spicy and numbing. Oh and the tiny lobster tails were juicy and delicious.
Seafood Party: House Special Spicy (5/5 Spice Level)
Then onto the spiciest you can get is the House Special Spicy. We had ours at 5/5 spice level, but you can choose how spicy you want when you order. Many of our group couldn’t take spice so this was a struggle, but I actually didn’t find it as spicy as I had though. I didn’t mind a few pieces in between the other flavours, but I thought that this was more of just plain numbing and spicy rather than having any additional flavour. If you like spicy, I would suggest the Xi’an Spicy instead since it has more flavour. And to be honest, I found the snow crab to be just average as they have long legs but the abundance of meat is very little. I like my crabs with lots of meat!
Overall, the seafood boils are great with the seafood being quite fresh although many of the spicier flavours will cover any freshness. If you really want to taste the seafood flavours, I’d recommend getting the Garlic Butter. I also wish there was some bread to soak up all the flavours. The seafood boils are OceanWise by the way, so always a plus!
Seafood Party: Wok Fried Spicy
Next up was the Wok Fried Spicy, a dry seafood dish which featured crab and spot prawns. These had a nice kick but the flavours really came from the outside crumbs covering the shell as the inside is not seasoned.
Kung Fu Soup
To clean our palettes, we tried the Kung Fu Soup which is an abalone flavoured soup with goji berries. Served in a beautiful tea pot and cup, the soup was light but full-bodied. I loved this and highly recommend ending your meal with this to calm your palette!
Stone Cooked Scrambled Eggs
Other than seafood boils, they have some other dishes on the menu including this very interesting Stone Cooked Scrambled Eggs. The staff brings over a very hot pot with hot stones inside. They then pour a blend of eggs, shrimp, and green onions in the pot and cover the pot. Because of the hot pot and stones, the eggs get cooked. It’s fun to watch but the stones are not very practical because you have to scoop them out before eating the egg.
They also have Grilled Oysters which are filled with lots of garlic. I found these to be slightly too salty and you could barely taste the oysters.
The Chicken Wings are flavoured with preserved plum but tasted like peanut butter to me. Very crispy on the outside but the salty and sweet flavour threw me off a bit.
Beef and Lamb Skewers
The Beef and Lamb Skewers are flavoured with cumin spices and brings an Asian flavour. I found the beef (top) to be quite dry, so I did prefer the lamb (bottom) much more.
Sichuan Style Boiled Fish
A new dish that the chef let us try was the Sichuan Style Boiled Fish. This is served with flat glass noodles and tofu. The tofu really soaked up the spicy sauce, while the glass noodles did the opposite. I think a different type of noodles would have worked better and the noodles were also too hard for my liking. This was made with a 5/5 spice level, but it can be customized for milder tastes. This was mostly numbing so I wish there was another dimension of flavour to it.
Then came the Crawfish Tower which was a crowd pleaser with everyone trying to get the perfect shot with the liquid nitrogen smoke. However, I’m not a huge fan of crawfish just because I find that it’s a lot of work to get so little meat!
The flavours were the same as the seafood boils, including garlic butter, black pepper, Xi’an spicy, house special spicy (spice level 5/5).
Blue Crab in Chef’s Special Sauce
As if we did not have enough seafood, the chef brought us the Blue Crab in Chef’s Special Sauce. This turned out to be a favourite with the dish featuring blue crab, chicken wings, chicken feet, and potatoes in a special chef’s secret recipe from his Xi’an hometown. I find that there isn’t much meat in blue crab, but this sauce was tasty!
Mango Thousand Layer Mille Crepe
To finish off our large meal, we had the Mango Thousand Layer Mille Crepe. These are super popular these days, and even my sisters has been obsessed at making them. This was quite good with a nice layer of mango jelly in the centre. They told us it was directly imported from Taiwan but my sister actually found this at Price Smart when she was looking for crepe cakes to taste test. She’s pretty sure it’s the same one because of the special layer of mango jely in the centre. As well, when I ate it, it was slightly frozen so it seemed like it was frozen and then defrosted. So I guess you could still say it’s imported from Taiwan… It was still good but not even close to the ones at Lady M!
Overall, 21 Nautical Miles definitely is a great place to visit if you want to try seafood boils with Asian flavours. The prices are not cheap, but you also get a fancier ambiance.