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J.S. Chen's, Plano. Comments on Dim Sum Please

If anyone has been to the J.S. Chen's (formerly Cathy's Wok) at Coit and Legacy and had their Dim Sum please leave any comments here.

I went today and had a mixed reaction but I don't regard myself as an expert on Dim Sum.

In particular:
1) The shrimp balls (several types) were all rather bland;
2) The Su Mai (sp?) was delicious;
3) The place has quite a following. They open at 11am and by 11:40 every seat was taken (about 100 places);
4) Strong chinese ethnic support. I was the only honky in the place!

This is the only Dim Sum I know of in Plano since Lucky House emigrated to Carrollton so I am pleased to see them.

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  1. WG - can't comment yet on J.S. Chen's - but would love to know where in Carrollton Lucky House as moved. Do you have any idea? Address? Phone?


    1 Reply
    1. re: theabroma

      I believe it is here but I suggest you call them, then let us know.


      Now: Let's get back to J.S. Chen!

    2. According to my Chinese grapevine,
      "I have not gone there myself but have heard mixed reaction to the food. The owners are from the restaurant Shui Wah Chinese Restaurant at 400 N Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX. Their food is inconsistent at best so I can’t honestly make a strong recommendation for either restaurant."

      1. I went there once and never again.
        Ordered xiao long bao, steamed pork and beef flat noodles.
        1) xiao long bao were all dry when served, not a drop of soup in them. Worst of all, the center part of the meat was frozen when i bit into one! I immediately told the waitress to take it back.
        2) The steamed pork in black beans were all undercooked. Told them to take it back too.
        3) The beef flat noodles were very oily and 99% of the dish are the noodles.

        They offered to refund my money for the frozen dumplings and and the pork.
        I walked off without a tip, never returned.
        Someone else was arguing to the old lady at the counter about their shrimp fried rice while i was there too.

        1. Never tried the Dim Sum at this location. But they do have another location at Frankford and the toll. Mostly takeout and the food was horrible. Swear never to return again.

          1. been there once during the week for dim sum, ordered a few items, turnip cake, chicken feet, etc, was ok and may satisfy your taste for dim sum, esp if one is too lazy to drive to richardson to kirin court. but i would rather save up for the trip to kirin court, they also push carts during the week at lunch

            1. The first time I ate there I thought the Dim Sum was O.K., but the last time the Fun noodles were overcooked to mush, and some of the other dumplings were dry,

              Good Dim Sum is hard to find in Dallas.

              1. Took my mother and brother there for dim sum today. All in all, I would say the experience was fair. The shu mai was ok. The ha cao my gold standard for judging dim sum, was also middling. The wrappers were thicker than I like, but the proper degree of sticky and the filling was well balanced. Our favorite dish was the shrimp and sweet potato fritters. Perfectly fried, not too greasy. We'll be returning eventually based on the strength of this dish alone. Also looking forward to trying their dinner menu. If anyone has an opinion on their regular menu, let me know. . .

                1. I am a seasoned Dim Summer and have tried it in Honolulu, Hong Kong, China, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. Overall, this place wouldn't survive in the aforementioned places. It is slightly more expensive than Kirin court or Maxim's but not as good. With that being said, the dim sum here is passable. It fulfills my craving. But I would rather drive to Greenville than go here which is 10 minutes from my house. All in all the dim sum in Dallas is not great. Vancouver is the best.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: eddie p

                    We went with another couple last Sunday night. We knew that the full dim sum menu was only offered during the day on weekends when the carts were used. We arrived at 6:30 and the restaurant was busy, but not totally full and there were empty tables. We were seated and a waitress came to take our order. We ordered steamed barbecue pork buns, turnip cakes, and then the waitress recommended shrimp dumplings and we said great. Then we ordered Peking duck and the waitress suggested that we only order 1/2 a duck so we said fine. We told the waitress that in addition to the buns, turnip cakes, duck and dumplings that we would be ordering additional items later in the meal. The barbecue pork buns and turnip cakes came promptly. Then we waited and waited and waited. After over an hour we asked where the rest of our food was. The waitress said "what other food"? and we said the shrimp dumplings and the duck. She denied that we had ordered any other food (and she was the one who suggested the dumplings and the 1/2 an order of the duck!!!). We were then told that they were out of duck (there were plenty ducks there when we arrived). She didn't bother to tell us and if we hadn't asked we'd probably still be sitting there waiting on our other dishes. We finally got the dumplings and also ordered Mongolian Beef, Mui Shu Pork and fried rice to take the place of the duck. It finally arrived, but the portions were smaller than we had seen at other tables. The good news is that the food is great. The bad news is that the service was TERRIBLE and no one seemed to care. By the time we left over 2 hours later there was a waiting line and, if our service had been better, they could have turned our table at least once more. We would like to go back during the day on the weekend when the carts are in service and the Dim Sum choices are better and we don't have to depend on a waitress to remember that we ordered items.

                  2. I'm not one to eat Dim Sum a lot so I personally can't offer much. But, it was reviewed, and received 4 stars, the last week's DMN.


                    15 Replies
                    1. re: kirakat

                      I agree with Worzel, their shu mai is good. Packed full of meat, juicy, and doesn't need any sauce. Though I can't agree with the assessment that they are excellent as a whole and I wouldn't go out of my way to try them. I guess it's a good go-to if you live in Plano and don't want to make the drive to Kirin Court or Maxim.

                      1. re: air

                        Just go to Kirin Court and all your Dallas Dim Sum whoas will vanish. not all that far of a drive from Plano to Richardson, maybe 6 minutes? During the week they have really cheap dim sum, not a huge selection, but from the sound of what you ordered, plenty. The really great and unusual stuff starts on Saturday and even better choices on Sunday. Either weekend day go early or go late to get a seat, or be prepared to wait. On the weekend I can get my favorite lobster balls.

                        And yes you will be the only person that is over 6 feet tall.

                        1. re: DallasDude

                          What dishes are served only on Sun at Kirin Ct? We usually go on Sat and don't know what we're missing!

                              1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                                Ah now, I don't remember all the wacky names, but I will try to go down a list of a few notes I made over time. But the gist of my prior message was during the week at Kirin (you horrible man LH you have been there probably just as much as me and probably on all days of the week) and I believe it is 1.50 dim sum for lunch (11 to 3 every day)during the week. Weekends the regular pricing structure is in place with items ranging from a few dollars a plate to upwards to eight (my lucious lobster is on the high end but after all it is served with what seems to be a homemade mayo).

                                During the week you will get your dumplings of all sorts - char sui bao, so fan gao, lin yung bao, shumai and the sticky rice laden with sausage or the bbq pork. Your shrimp balls are prevelent, har gao. The wonderful bbq pork rice flour roll. Various meatballs. Pretty standard fair, and I don't believe I have even seen chicken feet during the week.

                                Weekends afford you so much more choices, many I have never seen (and I have been to Hong Kong but that doesn't mean much). This is when you see many of the pastries, fried rice, soups, a few lovely squid dishes and many more seafood items. Also noodle dishes.

                                They set up a stir fry station in the main room near the dance floor for even faster turn around and the carts are flying fast. Better items like gai lan, stewed beef tripe, stewed bean curd in a brown sauce, stuffed eggplant, taro dumplings, fried shrimp, and sticky fried rice. I have seen shark fin dumplings on the weekend and centrury eggs.

                                What I have not seen at Kirin, and cannot seem to ask for it correctly is a steamed squid in curry and seaweed salads.

                                Hope this helps. For certain a quick and inexpensive lunch can be found at Kirin, in a beautiful environment and delightful service. Weekends beg for more calamity, a packed house, busy carts and certainly more expensive. However, the energy and and basic goodness of selection on weekends should call out to everyone. And by all means try the fung jao.

                            1. re: DallasDude

                              Wonder who it was that suggested you go on a sunday :)

                              And why go to Kirin Court? IMO they have slipped over the past couple months.

                              1. re: air


                                Who do you go to for dim sum locally that is solid? Maxims, Hong Kong Royal, Kirin Court or JS Chens?

                                1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                                  Air just wailin' again. Pay no attention.

                                  happy thoughts, happy thoughts...

                                2. re: air

                                  LOL, lots of hot AIR on this site. JS Chen's is very near where i work, haven't had their dim sum, but colleagues and i have had other menu items, it's hit or miss IMO.

                                  1. re: joanna.mcmaster

                                    That is my thoughts exactly Joanna. I can't see where the 4 stars came from for JS Chen's when just down the way Little Sichuan only got 3 stars I believe from Lawson Taite when the place first opened. Is Lawson Taite still on the staff? Have they reviewed it since 2006/07? Oh wait nevermind DMN deleted the review when they went to update GuideLive. Besides who travels outside the "loop" and eats ethnic food anyway.

                                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                                      Not to mention, the staff is not always the friendliest. last time we went, we weren't sure if the man behind the counter wanted to bring us our drinks or slit our throats.

                                      1. re: joanna.mcmaster

                                        So we scratch that off the list? I was wanting to go there today since it was close to your office and I have a mad hankering for dim sum. sad face.

                                        1. re: DallasDude

                                          Awww, like I said, it is hit or miss. We can give it a shot, I'm not sure, but they may only do dim sum at lunch.

                                          Yep, just checked, they only serve dim sum from 11:00 am- 3:00pm. : (

                                          You're not missing much, I promise :)

                                          1. re: joanna.mcmaster

                                            I haven't had any -bad- experiences per se at Kirin Court but it has ranged from mediocre to good. I say this mostly based on item availability and quality. I always try to show up before the 11 AM rush rolls in otherwise I know it'll get difficult to get some dishes. Now when they are trying to roll out as many carts out on the floor as possible, the quality sometimes gets rather iffy, I'll get a couple dumplings that aren't put together well and easily fall apart. The egg tarts sometimes don't have as much filling.

                                            Maxim's has overall been a lot better about consistency and having plenty of good items in supply.

                          1. I actually like their Dim Sum restaurant on Legacy and 75. I just order a bunch of different dumplings and some chinese broccoli and I'm happy! :)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: dianaxpooh

                              I have found Maxim to have less selection, poorer service and lower standards 100% of the time. I have an attorney friend that works very close and all he ever had was maxim's. I converted him on a Friday. I still don't get the beef. Some people will never be pleased, or admit it.

                            2. It being sim sum, I can't care less about the service, the crowd or anything else, but I can't ignore the quality of food itself.
                              I don't think I am a picky eater, but I got mad almost every single time I eat out in DFW for Chinese food. If I was dining with non Chinese friends I worried about our culinary "images" being misrepresented. If I was eating by myself I wondered why I was paying 4 times more for things I could do better at home. Unfortunately J.S. Chen is another place that got me mad.
                              Well of course I can't make dim sum at home, and the day I went I was a Chinese friend, so J.S. Chen falls into its own "making me mad" category: I wish I ate in Kirim Court.
                              Almost all meat, from shrimp to pork was not in good quality, they tasted borderline spoiled. Har Gaw requires very good quality fresh water shrimp which you can't overcome by "cooking". This place simply does not buy good quality shrimp in my opinions. Turnip cakes were too mushy at least for my taste.
                              Kirim Court is still the best place in DFW, although it's still only so so, it has not made me mad (no, waiting for a long time does not make me mad, that's part of dim sum ambiance). Sad commentary I know, but we are not in Hong Kong or Vancouver ...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: shengtang

                                So so was my definite impression or Kirin Court too. Everyone says it's the best dim sum here ... apparently we don't have good dim sum here. They kind of did make me mad, because they started to bring out stuff that looked really good toward the end, when everyone else at the table was so full they were turning everything away ...

                                1. re: foiegras

                                  They bring deep fried stuff (smelt, squid and shrimp) close to noon so you have to pace yourself for the goodies :-) We love their smelt and squid.

                              2. Whats the deal with Hong Kong Royale. I have read elsewhere its decent dim sum, yet I have never heard of it. that makes two places in Dallas that have been around forever and didn't know about. How is this possible?

                                Anyway, I need the low down on it. The web site doesnt have times, but some nice pics of food and pretty much thats it. I am talking dim sum and regular dinner menu.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: DallasDude

                                  I visited Hong Kong Royale today for a late lunch. They do serve dim sum all day, but it is not cart service during the week, However, Saturday and Sunday it is.

                                  In speaking to one of the managers, she claims that HKR was in the location where Kirin Court now resides, they just moved some years back. The place is not as asthetically pleasing as Kirin, but it is not a dump. Just a bit cluttered in a section of the building.

                                  There is the infamous white board that is oft associated with the more authentic Chinese restaurants, and the waitress spoke wonderful English and was willing to explain the various dishes. i will be back with Missy ChowChick for some of these, but today I was on a mission to try out their dim sum.

                                  I was given a large dim sum menu replete with photos. I immediately spied some old familiar favorites not always available at Kirin (I usually go during the week when the selection is pale). I brought along my boss, as he was dim sum unitiated, and was looking to score some points and take off early for the weekend.

                                  We started with several easy dishes, Yellow Curry Squid (tender, slightly spicy and deliciously prepared with a slight over abundance of meat), Har Gao (the wonderful steamed dumpling with an embedded crunchy shrimp), and a delightful dumpling made up of shrimp and green onion, then seared with sesame seeds on each side. Juicy, tender and packed full of flavor which often isn't the case with many dumplings.

                                  These items took more than several minutes to prepare, so when we were nearing the end of these tidbits we decided to round off the meal with some braised Chinese broccolli and the stuffed tofu that is often found on dim sum and swimming in a shallow bath of a pork based brown sauce.

                                  I will definitely go back. The lunch check was twenty dollars for two with hot tea. I would love to see them execute their cart service, but I was more than pleased with the menu service. Highly recommended and a good alternative to Kirin.

                                  1. re: DallasDude


                                    Let me know if you need the dim sum menu for HKR. I was glad to hear that they moved to Carrollton. Another score for those of us who have been making the drive all these years

                                    1. re: DallasDude

                                      Yes they were originally where Kirin is now. Then they moved to Plano for a while as "Lucky Chinese" they were good but were in a horrible location. They moved to Carrollton and seem to be doing better.

                                      1. re: DallasDude

                                        DallasDude -
                                        Great review of Hong Kong Royal. I love dim sum and I love how there always seems to be a thread going on Chowhound about it. It definitely helps me learn about some of the dishes that I might not have otherwise tried.

                                    2. Reasonable dim sum place. Good quality but food seems a bit cold. Price is expensive. Dim Sum at the Coit location is much better than the Asia World one. Service is good but management needs to smile more especially a young lady that's at the cash register.