Dim Sum Report Yangtze River, Lexington 10/29/06
i was reading through this very helpful and well documented dim sum blog and discovered the v. inexp dimsum and buffet at lexington's Yangtze River, so we went today but got there late.we did miss out on some items, but much of what we had is pictured in the above food blog july/06 entry.
I would say that it was definitely worth the cost, $11.95, but that great or extraordinary it was not. Out of the approx. 12 cart items , I was most impressed by the Pork stuffed eggplant, the Black bean spare ribs (bite size pieces), the Pork Stuffed Tofu.
Out of the approx. 30 buffet items, I was most taken by the Szechuan cucumber spears, the sauteed oval chewy Rice Cakes, the chicken and beef stir frys, the mahogany colored sauteed tofu, the scallion pancake sandwiches filled with Star Anise Beef, and a neat variety of chinese sweets.
service was very attentive and helpful. what was most disappointing was that so many of their cart item fillings tasted identical and their shrimp shu mai was not wonderful.
so many things were not available that make chinatown dim sums memorable: shrimp cake with crispy taro coating, wide rice noodle 'crepes' with shrimp filling, silver noodle, sticky rice packets, duck, eggplant sandwiches with beef filling, deep fried taro balls filled with pork , pork bao, etc.
it seems as if yangtze river has chefs that learned some rudimentary dim sum preparation, but who are really more comfortable with non dimsum cooking. maybe that's why the buffet is so extensive and the dim sum variety is not.
given all that, you can easily find enough items to enjoy yourself and have a diverse feast for MUCH less that if you ordered ala carte(sorry for the pun; i honestly didn't see it until i just saw it!
If you're out as far as Lexington, you're better off going on to Woburn to the China Pearl weekend dim-sum, just off the Washington Street exit from 128. They don't have as much as their Chinatown place, but it's vastly superior to the Yangtze. All on carts, priced per plate, like downtown.
I would agree with the above comments but would add that when I have taken my family there it has always been very frustrating because they make so little to put on the carts that it's almost alway all taken up by the fist few tables near the kitchen.
We don't go there anymore because while it is a good value it's such a frustrating experience that it's not worth it.
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Good review. We feel the same about Yangtzee. The buffet items are the stronger items, where the cart is all very similar and a bit off as you noticed. The bowl of plain/rubbery rice noodles cut up is perhaps the worst item off the cart. Sometimes they have a taro pudding type thing made in a molded shape. That one is different and interesting.
I too like those chewy oval rice noodles on the buffet.
Overall its a decent value for a quick fix at a fixed price but really doesnt hold a candle too even the worst of the Boston places. Ocasionally there is an item that i think is really good there but overall its average. Lately for a suburban dimsum we have been going to Oriental Pearl in Framingham. Now that we have found that, I doubt we will go back to Yangtzee. Even there, some of the items are off or just strange but the overall experience is more authentic.
Dim Sum chefs are very expensive and the food is very labor intensive. Due to volume, I just dont think anyplace can match the quality and variety of Hei La Moon, CCC, China Pearl or any of the major Boston Dim Sum establishments. China Pearl Woburn I would say is probally the closest suburban place to the Boston experience. Still not the same though.