January 12, 1990 |
Lots of Chinatown restaurants now serve dim sum, the midday meal that's a grazer's delight. Lee How Fook, a small, homespun place with a loyal following, recently added itself to the list. Cheap Eats already liked Lee How Fook because it's almost impossible to spend more than $8 on any entree from the regular menu. At dim sum, the stakes are even lower: $1.60, $1.80 or $2.50 per small dish. If you are not put off by vinyl tablecloths and chairs with masking-tape repairs, and fancy presentation isn't a priority, two can feast on some very un-Western fare for a total of $10. The only dim sum menu is displayed on the wall, written in Chinese.
July 21, 1989 |
At 11 a.m. each day, the dim-sum carts start rolling at Chin's, one of the newer Chinatown restaurants that specialize in Cantonese food as it is prepared in Canton and Hong Kong. "Our menu is 100-percent Cantonese," one of the owners told me a while back. "It is Hong Kong style. Some say Cantonese is mixed-up American style. Sometimes that is true. Like the egg roll. We don't have egg rolls. We have spring rolls. And chop suey is American-Cantonese, all mixed up with vegetables.
January 23, 1994 |
Nouvelle dim sum? You bet your chopsticks. And where else but at Susanna Foo, known nationally for its upscale and upbeat Chinese cuisine. Dim sum, for the one person reading this who hasn't seen the term before, are small, light dishes that many Chinese restaurants serve from rolling carts. The diner picks the snack-like foods by sight. (Which may be why I've never been tempted to order the chicken feet or duck feet served by many of the restaurants.) Pick a dish, eat, pick another, eat, and so on. When it's over, the tally is added and you've probably spent under $10 a person and you've had an entertaining afternoon.
January 9, 1994 |
For some, the charm of dim-sum dining lies in ordering dishes by sight. For others, the process of choosing food by appearance (and guessing about the identity) seems like a gastronomic form of Russian roulette. I waver between the two extremes, but I'm in the like-to-know camp often enough to appreciate the dim-sum list I discovered on a review visit to Chinatown's venerable Riverside Chinese Restaurant. The full page (double-spaced) dim-sum menu is complete with prices. At least half of the goodies are a thrifty $1.70.
October 10, 1999 |
In the ocean of shadows that rims New Century, a dragon is at rest. The giant snarl of its hollow head is perched on a tall wooden chairback. Its festive blaze of streamers pool in a colorful swirl on the carpet below. I've wandered across this massive new restaurant from the well-lit table where my companions and I are sitting. The only patrons on this rainy weeknight in a room big enough to seat 1,000. It is eerily tranquil now. But as I move closer to the dragon, it is not hard to imagine New Century springing to life.
May 5, 1989 |
They don't have corned-beef specials, and there's no lake nearby, but the Lakeside Chinese Deli seems destined to become a name to remember. It opened about two months ago in Chinatown and appears to have been enjoying a brisk business ever since. It's a plain, no-nonsense restaurant located on Ninth Street, just behind Metropolitan Hospital. It's comfortable, clean and offers little in the way of decor. What it does have is a good assortment of Chinese cuisine - from dim sum to Peking duck and Hong Kong Cantonese dishes - which is why it gets the name deli.
December 8, 1996 |
We ordered three dim sum. Then soup for two. My dining partner and I were deep into choosing a third main dish when our Kingdom of Vegetarians waiter could no longer contain himself. "That's too much food," he said quietly. It was indeed far too much for a normal meal for two. But in terms of exploring the vast menu of Chinatown's newest vegetarian restaurant? It was just a teasing sample. The K of V kitchen routinely offers 36 dim sum, 14 soups and 112 main dishes, all of them meatless.
December 10, 1993 |
When Susanna Foo opened her new Dim Sum Cafe last month, I expected that the city's most stylish Chinese restaurant would do dim sum differently. In Chinatown restaurants, dim sum is an informal affair. No menu is needed. Carts roll through the dining room, customers look over the selection of tasting-size portions, then choose what looks intriguing (or what looks familiar, depending on one's sense of adventure). Five or six dishes may be ordered. The bill rarely tops $12. At Susanna Foo, the setting sets the tone for a more formal midday meal.
March 7, 1997 |
Edward Ho says his restaurant, H.K. Golden Phoenix, has the best dim sum in town. "We've been open only two months and we are always busy," says Ho. "My chefs learned the traditional way. They trained when they were 14 years old. " Ho's dim sum chef, Tesk Wong, worked at Hong Kong's Holiday Inn, as did his kitchen chef, Wing Wong. As you can probably guess, the H.K. that precedes Golden Phoenix stands for Hong Kong. "These men have at least 25 years of experience. On Saturdays and Sundays, between the first floor and the second floor, we have 1,500 for dim sum. " The dim sum here is, indeed, excellent.
February 7, 2008 |
Lakeside Chinese Deli was the kind of restaurant that often looked closed even when it was, in fact, still open. So I figured reports of its demise must have been mistaken. The old hole punched into its sign and the frequently half-drawn window blinds were simply the ideal camouflage from Chinatown tourists who weren't adventurous enough to pass through its unassuming door. For those that did, Lakeside was the ultimate joint. It was home to some of the best hand-crafted dim sum I've ever eaten.