VEGETARIAN DIM SUM HOUSE
24 Pell Street
New York, NY 10013
24 Pell Street
New York, NY 10013
As you may have noticed, the economy sucks. And not in a good way. Nope, it's sucking in a totally sucky way. This means finding ways to eat out without breaking the ever-more fragile bank. One time-tested method is to befriending broke-assed hipsters who, after binging on camera equipment, have become pros at eating on the cheap. Another is the Tom Colicchio wallet control system. Here at Craftsteak, they will serve you half-sized portions of their entrees, half-sized portions of their cocktails, and half-glasses of wine for... half the price! It's like restaurant week all over again, but with less hooch.
Of course, you could either stop eating out altogether, but my addiction compels me to seek out fooderies that fall into the less expensive category. Vegetarian Dim Sum House was a Mr. Dogz suggestion. He insisted that eating out on the super cheap could be done here. And done here it was. Big time.
As many of you out there do, I like my meat. But before you skip this post, allow me to assure you that during my meal at Vegetarian Dim Sum House, I not once found myself craving anything but another round of their dim sum. The food was, in a word, incredible. There was a short wait this Saturday evening. We ended up sharing a table with two other people, but it was a table for eight and we sat on one side and no one was bothered. Three people would have been annoying, but two groups of two was no biggie. A pot of tea arrived, and we began to pick things off of the checklist dim sum menu.
Mr. Dogz and I began our feast by sharing a small bowl of Sweet and Sour Soup. Note that I said small bowl. This "small" bowl came with smaller bowls so that the soup could be ladled into it. I can only assume that the large comes in a bucket. The soup itself was fantastic. Spicy enough to get my nose to run, but not such that I couldn't taste any of the dishes that followed.
Of the numerous solid dishes that Mr. Dogz and I ordered, the first to arrive were the Rice Flour Rolls with Deep Fried Dough. Oh my God. If licking the plate clean was an option, the dishwashers in the kitchen would be out of work. Picture a glazed doughnut, wrapped in a sticky noodle with a drizzle of some soy sauce-esque syrup on top. It may sound weird, and it was, but this was amazing. You won't be disappointed. And if you are, I suggest returning your tongue to the manufacturer and replacing it with one that works.
After the fried dough, the dishes started arriving fast and furious. Fried Turnip Cakes were the first thing I dug my chopsticks into. These were the worst dish we ate that evening and they weren't really that bad. You just have the get past the texture, which is akin to eating huge bricks of snot. It's virtually impossible to pick them up without cutting the slime in half. But once you did, and once you dipped them in the requisite thick brown mystery sauce, they were pretty good. They really didn't taste like anything I can describe though, so order them and tell me what you think. This was followed up by the green Spinach Dumplings and the orange Shark Fin Dumplings, both of which were excellent. Very different flavors each, but neither one tasting quite like what their names would have one believe. I'm curious as to what the shark fin refers to, since I'm thinking that since all of the fish on the menu was "mock" fish, this must have been something else. But I'll order it again and it won't make any difference. Both dumpling dishes came in sets of three, and each were rather large. Finally, the Buddha Bean Curd Rolls. Dogz and I each had one of the two large rolls, soaking in a soy sauce. I didn't taste any bean curd, but whatever was buried within them tasted mighty fine. Picture a large, dripping wet stuffed cabbage, Asian style, and you sorta get what this is like. This was Dogz's favorite of these four.
We then took it upon ourselves to order some of the sweeter dumplings as a kind of dessert. Steamed Sesame Paste Buns and Red Bean Cakes were the dumplings of choice for this part of the meal. The sesame paste buns were a bit like eating sticky buns filled with peanut butter. Very sweet, and technically moist, but everything stuck to the roof of your mouth, giving it that dry feeling. Order them anyway, since they're worth it. Just drink the tea. The red bean cakes were the exact opposite. Here the whole dish was sweet, from the glazed clear rice coating to the beans encased within. And may I say that these two dishes specifically were very heavy. Lots of starch. If we weren't full after eating everything else, we were now.
We split the bill for everything, $17 each, including tax and tip. This was a laughably cheap meal. Vegetarian Dim Sum House also happens to have a vast regular menu with sections for mock pork, mock beef, etc., but these dishes are way more expensive. It seems silly to spend $15 on a single entree when you could spend that much on four dim sum dishes that will fill you to bursting.