Kirin is tucked onto the third floor at 7900 Westminster Hwy. There is no fancy entrance, just keep an eye open for the sign. The restaurant is definitely upscale with staff dressed far better than us and very efficient. On the other hand, missing were the over-the-top chandeliers and decor that we often see at high-end Chinese restaurants. Thanks to a complicated system of what menu items are available when, we arrived at an ordering plan but only with the help of our server....and his advice was very good!
We started with Stir Fried String Bean with Chopped Garlic in Spicy Minced Plant-based Pork Sauce. This dish was $29.75... While you catch your breath, I will remind you that Kirin is a pricy high end restaurant no matter what you are eating and that the Abalone with Assorted Dried Seafood en Casserole will run you $95.00. Our green beans and "pork" was delicious, indistinguishable from real pork (does that really matter?) and a generous portion! Don't miss this!
Our second dish was Plant-based Smoked Fish Filet in 18 Year Aged Dark Balsamic Vinegar at $26.95. I mention the price again, even though I don't usually, as I don't want any cheap vegans to be taken by surprise! This was also an amazing dish! The sauce was rich, deep and sweet and we barely restrained ourselves from licking the empty dish! The"fish" itself was perfectly textured tasting only mildly fishy (clearly fresh!) but we didn't get much of the smokey part. Battered lightly and deep fried this was another generous portion. Between these two dishes and rice and tea, we were fulfilled.
Still to try are the spring rolls and dumplings (only available at lunch), a noodle soup and another fried fish dish.
As I browsed the packed foods that Kirin markets, I noticed that there was an assorted mushroom and truffle dumpling that was completely vegan. This was not on the vegan menu, probably as it does not contain OmniFoods products. It would be nice if they could re-organize their menu a bit to really reflect all of their vegan items and also to indicate when they are actually available (we weren't able to order spring rolls or dumplings). Still, it is a nice step in the right direction to offer anything at all. I can't complain about that!
Food 5 out of 5
Vegan options 3 out of 5
Comfort 4 1/2 out of 5
Service 5 out of 5
Value 4 out of 5