Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dumping the Dumpling House

My brother Z recently moved to DC, and while it's not NYC, I was still so excited for him to be living a lot closer to me. As soon as he got settled, we figured out a weekend for him to come up here. In the week leading up to his visit, we must have talked every night and emailed dozens of times trying to plan the perfect culinary weekend. You see, I may be Miss Menu, but my brother takes the cake on being the ultimate foodie of the family!

We were heading down to Tribeca for a concert, so we thought it'd be fun to check out a restaurant a little further downtown than I normally go. Since dumplings are all the rage right now [there was even a NYC Dumpling Festival yesterday -- bummed I missed it!], I did some research to find a good, cheap dumpling place in Chinatown. Obviously there are so many dozens of options, but one name I kept seeing mentioned was Dumpling House. When I looked at the menu online, my jaw dropped at the prices. Eight dumplings for only $2?! Sold.

We got up to the counter to place our order and were a little overwhelmed by all the options. Since everything was so cheap, we thought it'd be fun to order a lot of different things and get a little taste of each. The bill came to $18, and that included 2 cans of soda and tax. When they finally called our number, we were laughing so hard that our food couldn't fit on one tray. The tourists at the next table next were definitely making fun of us. I may not speak German, but I am fluent in non-verbals like pointing and laughing!


I ordered the vegetable boiled dumplings, a chive & egg Beijing-style bun, and chicken & corn soup. My brother ordered the chive & pork fried dumplings, wonton soup, and a sesame pancake with duck. We also split the cold noodles with smashed sesame sauce and an order of edamame.

Our dumplings were very tasty. The veggie ones had recognizable vegetable inside, as opposed to mushy green concoction found in some. My bro said the pork dumplings were good, and after trying one of mine, thought the fried style was much better. Both the soups and edamame were pretty standard. The bun and pancakes were different and interesting flavors...it's not so often that I eat my Chinese food in sandwich form!

The noodles were rather disappointing. The sesame sauce was very dry and needed a kick. After adding soy sauce and the Sriracha that they had available on each table, we realized something was off. Both of them were watered down! WTF?!?!? Is that really saving Dumpling House that much money by watering everything down?! Then, we were looking around and noticed that only the tables with local Chinatown patrons had the real dumpling sauces on their tables, and everyone else had the watered down options. Gross.

All in all, we left very full, without emptying our wallets. The dumplings were good, but nothing blew me away. And not even having hot sauce or soy sauce at regular strength to give the dishes a much-needed kick really turned me off. I will definitely be picking a different dumpling place to go to next time Z is in town. Any suggestions???

Vanessa's Dumpling House
118 Eldridge Street
b/t Grand & Broome Streets
Menu Pages listing

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