I woke up today with a craving that I just couldn’t ignore. It is the type of craving that drives men to take mad quests to downtown Manhattan, and to order plates of delicious steamed dumplings.
I jumped off of the subway (Q train at Canal St.) and ducked into the first place that looked appealing. It had a glowing neon sign that said “Dumpling House.” Whenever a restaurant actually contains its specialty in its own marquee title, most of the time you can rely on it to be pretty good. It is also a brilliant marketing strategy to say the least. There was a no-frills interior, but every table was full. I knew that this spot would be prime-time for proof-time.
Hot tea was already on the table along with the appropriate instruments. Chopsticks? Check. Soy sauce? Check. Hot sauce? Check. Napkins? Check. Tea? Check. Scalpel? No actually. But I digress.
The lightning fast speed of the food flying out of that kitchen was awe-inspiring. Two minutes after I had ordered, my twice-roasted duck and pork dumplings were situated in front of me, an array of delights so magnificent that I nearly cried. Of course other goodies were flying out too. I saw their sizzling Thai-style chicken-fried rice go by on a cast-iron skillet, and I must say that it looked very impressive. I know I will be ordering that next time. Also the steamed pork bons looked pretty tantalizing.
The dumplings were sublime indeed. I went with the pork, because I do
what I want. Delectable. These folks know how to steam a dumpling. Apparently the reviews in the window of “Best of Downtown 1990-1995” weren’t lying, also apparently they were mentioned in the New York Times in 1998, amongst other reviews that were wallpapering the restaurant. The dumplings had an amazingly delicate texture, and the pork inside was super juicy. My main course of twice-roasted duck and veggies came out looking very pretty on the plate. The duck was falling off the bone, cooked to perfection. The vegetables were cooked very nicely, the mushrooms had a nice robust texture, and the pea pods were al-dente. Perfect.
I was very satisfied when I left, and the bill was only eleven dollars plus tip. To my delight, I discovered that my craving was gone, and also my belly was full. Due to these determining factors I am obliged to I give this dumpling house a proof-positive.
“Excellent Dumpling House” is located at 111 Lafayette Street, Manhattan.