61 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 924-9220

When I was working in Chelsea, Rickshaw was often my go-to place for a cheap and fast meal. Note, I did not say delicious. Sadly for me, and I'm pretty sure most everyone else, it was never better than mediocre.

Rickshaw's open kitchen inspires a nice feeling of cleanliness, and it certainly looks spotless. And modern. The high ceilings and decor are cool and trendy and while I've never actually eaten here, I think that I could be quite comfy sitting down, eating my dumplings, drinking my soup and just being alone with a magazine. That's a nice thing that Rickshaw has that most other places I frequent don't.

The menu is all over the Asian map in terms of what ethnicity Rickshaw is supposed to represent. Chinese, Japanese, Thai. I refuse to call it fusion. But although every one of these cultures serves a variety of dumplings, the characters are Chinese. So I'll classify it there. Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, as the name suggests, serves dumplings. Six varieties. They also have soups and salads. Once you make your dumpling choice, you decide whether you want it fried or steamed. Do yourself a favor and order them fried. Concerns about trans-fats aside, the steamed option will come somewhat chewy and bland.

For this visit, I ordered three types of dumpling. When I used to go more regularly, my favorite, through experience, was the Fried Peking Duck, stuffed also with scallions and cabbage. These are not bad. I would go so far as to say that they are, in fact, good. Every dumpling comes with it's own dipping sauce, and the Peking duck dumplings come with a very sweet, dark brown Asian duck sauce. Next up I ordered the Steamed Chicken and Thai Basil, stuffed with lemongrass, carrots and glass noodles. Yes, steamed. I felt guilty ordering the fried duck dumplings and paid the price with flavor. They're okay, not great, and the spicy peanut dipping sauce was a welcome addition. More than anything else, you taste the carrot. Finally, the Steamed Seasonal Vegetarian that is additionally stuffed with five-spice tofu. These were the most bland. Bland vegetables encased in bland dumpling. Saved only by dipping them in the mystery green sauce, these were not worth the money. The Miso soup's not bad.

It's like this. The dumplings are miss or sorta-hit. But they're quick, they're cheap, you can eat here alone, and they're cheap. Do what I do, find one you like, stick with it, and enjoy. Did I mention that they're cheap?

Rickshaw serves dumplings in packs of six or nine (like McNuggets) for around $6 or $8, respectively, including tax. Take my advice and order them fried. For an extra few bucks you can add a salad or a soup.

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