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Another Dim Sum Suggestion Request

Hey everyone! I know that there have been plenty of Dim Sum topics, and I have searched and read through many of them. However, even after having read through them, I am still uncertain of where to go.

Here's my story: My girlfriend is coming up to visit (shes from Maryland and I live in Northern NJ). We both go to the University of Maryland and have had Dim Sum once or twice at a local restaurant in a more Asian-dense area of Maryland. As she has mentioned wanting to see Chinatown a few times, I figured why not start off with some Dim Sum... Anyway, I am somewhat confused as to where to go. From all the previous threads I have read, I have basically narrowed the choices down to Dim Sum Go Go, Golden Bridge, Jing Fong, or Ping's. Am I missing some important choices? Anyway, I was wondering where you guys would suggest out of that list. Neither of us are speakers of any asian language and I am not completely certain that we remember the names of the foods we had liked or anything. Maybe you guys could suggest somewhere that would be relatively novice-friendly but not completely americanized? I know that one of the big issues is carts vs no-carts and as I have not yet asked my g/f her preference, maybe you guys could suggest one cart option and one no-cart option?

Note: I am not sure if this really matters, but we will probably be attempting to eat around 11:30ish am and it will probably only be the two of us...

Thanks so much.

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  1. If you MUST be in Chinatwon I would suggest Dim Sum A Go Go. IMHO Chinatown is way overated. If you're slightly more flexible, I would suggest Chinatown Brasserie on Lafayette - they have EXCELLENT dim sum as well as other great dishes and drinks.

    8 Replies
    1. re: rjm

      Agreed on both counts, but I would note that Chinatown Brasserie is very expensive.

      1. re: Pan

        Agree -- it's super novice friendly with accomodating staff, and a large menu. The dim sum there ranges from traditional to a little more high-end, experimental (lobster rolls, etc.), but you'll find it hard to get out at less than $30 a head.

        1. re: kathryn

          Yeah it looks like that is going to be a little to much right now... I think we are leaning towards attempting Jing Fong...

          1. re: kathryn

            Harrison, why Jing Fong instead of Dim Sum Go Go?

            1. re: Pan

              I guess mainly because it seems to have pretty consistently decent food along with good ambiance and carts... I feel like this meal is going to be an interesting adventure...

              Is dim sum go go heads and shoulders above places like Jing Fing in quality and other aspects? Enough to forgo carts?

              1. re: Harrison486

                For a casual dim sum eater, definitely not.

                1. re: Harrison486

                  "Is dim sum go go heads and shoulders above places like Jing Fing in quality and other aspects? Enough to forgo carts?"

                  Yes, by far. Unless carts are really important to you. That question, I can't answer. But the quality is several levels higher than at any of the dim sum eating halls. It's real artisanal dim sum.

                  1. re: Pan

                    I will have to consider this...

        2. If your previous contact with dim sum has been somewhere like Wheaton, Gaithersburg or Rockville, I suggest you go to Jing Fong for the ambience factor since I don't know if New York Chinatown dim sum is any better than what you're used to. Jing Fong does convey the feeling that you're in a dim sum palace in Hong Kong, which I don't think you can say about the others.

          1. Again, I have to say that the best Dim Sum I've had in a long while is Gum Fung in Flushing. Well worth the trip. Do yourself a favor, don't limit yourself to Chinatown in Manhattan.

            1. Thanks for all the responses so far...

              In response to the Chinatown/Manhattan vs Flushing and other parts: Im taking my girlfriend into Manhattan as she has never really been into New York City before. Im going to have to take her to all the touristy places that she wants to see, like Times Square and all, so I just figured if we are already gonna be there, might as well hit up Chinatown since its another place she wants to see...

              To the Chinatown Brasserie suggestion: I have heard that this place is pretty good, but I have also heard that it is relatively expensive. Is it worth the extra money as opposed to trying some place in Chinatown?

              As to where exactly in Maryland we had Dim Sum: I am not really sure where we were, but it was just a large room with various sized tables in it and carts coming by every few minutes.

              I sort of liked the idea of Jing Fong (or some other large banquet hall) as it seems like it would be an interesting experience and all, with the many carts and large area. My only concern is it being overwhelming and not exactly novice-friendly. Am I wrong? This is the reason I was considering a place like Ping's, which I believe has carts but a much smaller eating area.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Harrison486

                i am partial to 88 Palace, in a downscale mall under the Manhattan Bridge at 88 E.Broadway...full of Chinese diners even on weekday mornings...

                re: Chinatown Brasserie...it gets mixed reviews here...some, including myself, hated it and thought the dimsum was not only expensive but just plain bad...others have enjoyed the dimsum a great deal but admitted it's overpriced...but since you are in NYC, i'd recommend going to one of the Chinatown places for the atmosphere...

                1. re: Harrison486

                  "To the Chinatown Brasserie suggestion: I have heard that this place is pretty good, but I have also heard that it is relatively expensive. Is it worth the extra money as opposed to trying some place in Chinatown?"

                  I called it "very expensive" upthread. Whether it's worth the extra money depends on how much extra money you have and how you feel about spending $9 for a little plate of 4 dumplings. I had the best dim sum dishes there that I've had in the U.S., probably (this was a few months ago). So I thought it was worth it but haven't been back and probably won't go back until perhaps some time next year or so, if that. I spent almost $100 on 4 dim sum items and 2 cocktails ($12 apiece), including tip.

                  I think on two students' budgets, it would probably make more sense to go to Dim Sum Go Go. While its dim sum is not as good as what I had at Chinatown Brasserie, it is excellent and head and shoulders above all the other dim sum places I've ever been to in Manhattan. And it's pretty inexpensive. You might want to do a search under its name for reports on specific dim sum items, but most of the items I've had there were at least very good. Their tapioca and egg custard dumplings are wonderful, and their tripe is probably the best tripe I've had in a Chinese restaurant - they use honeycomb tripe and cook it until it's tender but still just a bit chewy. Very good chicken feet, too. Etc. You can have a look at their menupages.com menu:

                  http://menupages.com/restaurantdetail...

                  I'd tend to look at the items marked "Dim Sum" and ignore the rest. Others might disagree.

                  Here's Chinatown Brasserie's website:

                  http://www.chinatownbrasserie.com/

                  1. re: Harrison486

                    Chinatown Brasserie is not in Chinatown and it is lousy. For tourists, overpriced, and very hustler staff in terms of working you to check your coat, cocktails, fancy water, etc. All the prententious stuff suburbanites love, without good food. Go to Pings or Oriental Garden.

                  2. There maybe better places according to one's tastes and quirks but no one consistently delivers the full, classic, just like you saw it in the movies, dim sum experience like Jing Fong. Still, I'd never cross a picket line to go there but I can't remember how long it's been since that's been an issue.