The Iron Chef's smartest move was turning for guidance to my favorite dumpling dive masters, Dim Sum Garden in Chinatown. The soup dumplings, beggar's purse-shaped noodle pouches filled with broth and meat, were spot-on juicy. And the pinch-necked sui mei stuffed with sticky rice, pork, and mushrooms were so good, I could almost imagine the bus fumes of DSG's not-so-scenic 10th Street tunnel corner in Philly. The savory punch of another dish - deeply steeped, cuminy lamb stew grill-pressed inside a crispy bun - is an intensely meaty homage to New York's Xi'an Famous Foods.
Now if only Garces could study up with Chinatown's Ting Wong or Terakawa to improve his Hong Kong-style wonton noodles (dumpling skins too thick) and ramen (broth oily rather than emulsified, plus too much seaweed), this brief menu could shore up its weak spot for soups. (The servers also need to learn the difference between soy sauce and black vinegar, an essential dumpling condiment.)
As is, the Dan Dan noodles with spicy ground pork gravy are the most compelling noodle bowl. But the best dish isn't even made of dough. The pork ribs, sous-vide-cooked for hours to tenderness, then slicked with a bewitching hoisin glaze, are so good with the added crunch of shaved daikon and scattered peanuts as a bonus, they could well be the casino's lucky new nibble. Let's hope for the Revel they are.
Yuboka, Revel Resorts, 500 Boardwalk, Atlantic City; 609-572-6488 or www.revelresorts.com/dining/yuboka; Entire menu from noon to midnight.