I recently sampled non-previously-dried Mexican whole abalone at Grand Honour (41st & Granville). It was average, although the cost of under C$20 is relatively low.
The abalone is not the dried abalone that is prized. However, the abalone was fairly large (about as 1.5 times the length of my pinkie). It did not have the elasticity and density of well-executed dried abalone. There was also likely an undue reliance on oyster- or other preprepared sauces.
The abalone is described as being stewed in "chicken jus", I was told.
However, overall, this was not a bad quality-to-price relationship. The sauce accompanying this dish went well with the sauteed pea shoots that accompanied the abalone. The pea shoots were fairly well-executed. And it is the case that the Hong Kong-based group of which Grand Honour is a part is known not only for hotpots, but also for preparing expensive dried abalone.
Interestingly, Grand Honour has a type of promotion whereby, if one orders the described abalone, one can order certain other dishes for roughly C$10.
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