As with the burgers, I decided to do a page devoted to dumplings, particularly – but not exclusive to – potstickers. In the future there will probably be a taco page so be on the lookout for that. I guess the common theme running through all these review pages are food items that have as their centerpiece meat. Sorry veggies. Perhaps I’ll throw in some veggie options as well but remember I have only one stomach and can only eat so much. The numbers assigned to the reviews ARE NOT rankings. They just mark the order in which the various places have been reviewed. I welcome any comments and recommendations for other dumplings and dumpling establishments. As with love, dumpings are meant to be shared with everyone.
1.) Dumpling House – Eldridge St (between Grand and Broom) in NYC Chinatown.
Okay, so according to the NY city search review this place occupies a tiny space that has just enough room for the cooks to work their dumpling magic and the hungry masses to stand at the counter and order. Well, no longer. This place as expanded. This is what it used to look like before. Here’s what it looks like now:
As you can see from the extremely high quality photos taken with my phone, Dumpling House now occupies at least twice as much space as it used to so now you can actually sit at a table and consume your dumplings, soup, noodles, sesame pancake or whatever. Good luck getting a seat though because this place still packs them in and because the seats and tables afford a certain level of comfort, people are more likely to eat at a leisurely pace instead of inhaling their food which was more the case when there was just a crowded sauce splattered counter in the back of the place where you were lucky to get a stool. In addition with the added space, the counter where you order that separates you from the kitchen has expanded and there’s even a system for lining up and ordering. Whereas before you would enter the place and immediately rush the counter, try to get someone to notice you and order (or if you were me, use your busted up elementary Mandarin to hopefully convey that you wanted $2 worth of dumplings and a beef sesame pancake). Then if you were lucky they might have what you wanted and you could get it immediately or you’d have to wait several minutes and pay attention so you could claim your food through the confusion of more people ordering and doing the same thing. Now however there’s even a sign instructing people where to line up.
And when while you wait in line, you can look through the observation window and check out women in the back of the restaurant expertly folding the dumplings. I think they fold them about 3 times faster than I’m able to eat them, so they are fast. You order, you’re given a number and then pick up your order at the front of the house where someone calls out your number when it’s ready. This last part- picking up your food – can still be a bit chaotic as orders don’t always get called out in numerical order and different items come out at different times. For example, I saw my dumplings sitting on the tray getting colder while the sesame bread for my beef pancake was still frying.
Ok enough about the renovation. How were the dumplings? Well, despite the expansion, the dumplings are still true to form. Delicious. Although, now a dollar buys you only four potstickers instead of five. That’s a 25% increase! I guess they have to pay for the remodeling. But, even with the increased price, the dumplings (I prefer the pork and chive) are still worth it because they’re porky, chivey and delicious. I like mine with vinegar and ample sriracha (which unfortunately, at the Dumpling House is offered in a really watered down version) My friend Waine thought the dumplings were a bit too greasy and the skin was too thick. But I liked the greasy juiciness and I also like the thickness of the skin because it reflects the hand made nature of the dough (as proof, check out the folding process). And as long as the dumplings are freshly cooked and hot, the thick skin is a nice compliment to the meaty filling. Alright, so the dumplings are delicious, but what remains a standout for me and Waine agreed, is the beef sesame pancake. The combination of deep fried, sesame covered, crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-insidebread housing thinly sliced cooked flavorful beef and a healthy dose of grated carrots and cilantro is a real winner. And for $1.75 you really can’t go wrong especially when paired with some dumplings.
All and all even with the pricier dumplings, the Dumpling House with it’s expanded seating and ordering area remains a place that I highly recommend when you’re in need of a quick and satisfying dumpling fix.