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Gitlo's Again

9
9lives Jan 12, 2008 11:29 AM

8 of us hit Gitlo's for lunch today. My first trip; but all the positive reports are spot on...we finished with the deservedly, highly acclaimed custard cream bun.

http://flickr.com/photos/61246842@N00...

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  1. c
    CambridgeFoodie RE: 9lives Jan 12, 2008 11:37 AM

    does this place have an online menu?

    2 Replies
    1. re: CambridgeFoodie
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      9lives RE: CambridgeFoodie Jan 12, 2008 03:18 PM

      Flickr's down but I can add the menu when they are running again...or see if this works

       
       
      1. re: 9lives
        c
        CambridgeFoodie RE: 9lives Jan 12, 2008 03:32 PM

        Thanks 9Lives...I went there for takeout this evening.

        Excellent, as everyone says. I ordered the Har Gau, noodles with satay chicken, custard dim sum, and vegatable rolls. Owner was very nice and pleased when I mentioned I came because of Chowhound. I'd defintely go back again.

        My only minor qualm is that 3 Har Gua for $3.25 seemed pricey.

    2. ScubaSteve RE: 9lives Jan 12, 2008 12:55 PM

      ok.
      they're open Sunday right?
      tell me there open Sunday.
      cuz if they're open Sunday me and the Kid are gonna be there.

      hoping in Haverhill,
      SS

      edit- looks like they are open Sunday. going.

      1. galangatron RE: 9lives Jan 12, 2008 02:57 PM

        popped in shortly after you. sampled a variety of items including the new char siu bao and clear noodles with chicken in chinese bbq sauce. loved the sweet potato puff. sort of like a pastry curly fry filled with whipped cream and taro. also loved the custard buns. the chopped pieces of preserved egg were a nice touch

        i suggested adding chicken feet to the menu and the two waitresses laughed simultaneously. "americans don't like chicken feet," one of them said, "they're scared of them." i told them they'd be surprised. they didn't seem phased and informed me that they'll be adding new items to the menu soon. chicken feet will not be one of them. oh well

        2 Replies
        1. re: galangatron
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          9lives RE: galangatron Jan 12, 2008 03:07 PM

          I saw you when you came in and would have said hello when we left; but you weren't there...figured you took a walk or something. Looked like you had a good crowd too.

          We had ordered the sweet potato puff; but they forgot..and we were full..:)

          1. re: galangatron
            StriperGuy RE: galangatron Jan 12, 2008 08:03 PM

            Waitresses, wow that's new. So glad this place seems to be getting traction.

          2. Sgt Snackers RE: 9lives Jan 12, 2008 04:06 PM

            We were there too for lunch today - probably while your group was there (one group of 8 was leaving as we arrived, then another group came in)... amazing! Rainbow noodles, Cantonese dumplings with chives and pork, XO sauce daikon cake (bacony goodness), char siu bao, and custard cream bun - all were excellent. What a find!!

            1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: 9lives Jan 13, 2008 03:31 PM

              Allstonian and I decided on a whim to have dinner here tonight instead of cooking. The place was deserted at 6 p.m., but Gitlo said we wouldn't have been able to get a table even an hour earlier. Seems like he had a busy weekend!

              We had eight plates in total: the sweet potato puff (which as someone mentioned a while back is almost certainly sweetened taro), the XO daikon cake, the rainbow noodles with chicken, the char siu bao, the Cantonese dumplings (delicately pan-fried and loaded with chives), the chou chiu dumplings (monstrously large and utterly delicious), the veggie rolls and the custard cream buns. Everything was excellent, as always.

              Gitlo himself wasn't very busy, so we had a couple of long conversations, and just when we were talking about how stuffed we were, he brought us out a free creme brulee for dessert. Which seems odd enough by itself, but what's odder is that I have eaten more than my share of creme brulee over the years, and this may well be the single finest one I've ever eaten. Perfect balance between the cold custard and the hot crackle of the perfectly-burnt crust, and the custard was just exquisite, a straight vanilla custard done exactly right. I really can't believe this chef is only 18.

              5 Replies
              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                Alcachofa RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jan 14, 2008 08:49 AM

                Good food is good food, but doesn't it feel kinda weird to get dim sum at night?

                1. re: Alcachofa
                  BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: Alcachofa Jan 14, 2008 08:56 AM

                  I would eat dumplings at two in the morning if I could find them. Besides, we eat breakfast for dinner at home all the time, so this doesn't feel any different.

                  As we were leaving, a party of five was trickling in. I think he's probably going to do okay with his hours.

                  I still can't get over how amazingly good that creme brulee was...

                  1. re: Alcachofa
                    b
                    bakerboyz RE: Alcachofa Jan 14, 2008 09:03 AM

                    I actually prefer it at night or at least afternoon to 11 in the morning. I know that dim sum is referred to as Chinese brunch but to me brunch is somewhat more "breakfasty", I consider dim sum much more substantial. As a side note, it's great for an appetizer party!

                    1. re: Alcachofa
                      t
                      Taralli RE: Alcachofa Jan 14, 2008 09:46 AM

                      Maybe not so odd elsewhere at least. Was taken by locals 1st night in Taipei for dim sum dinner.

                    2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                      StriperGuy RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jan 14, 2008 03:21 PM

                      I just had the creme brulee myself. I agree, quite possibly the single best I have ever had. Remarkable. Almost started a new thread about it. Talked further with Gitlo. It was me who said the chef was 17 or 18, but I must have misunderstood. It is true that he has been cooking in Hotel kitchens in China since he was 11, but he is 26 or 27.

                      One other note, they really do aspire to bake, but can't afford a serious pastry oven ($9-$10,000). I dunno, the first chow-investor fund??? Supposedly the chef does an amazing Japanese style cheese cake among other things.

                      Hopefully they will succeed wildly and be able to afford the neccessary accoutrements soon. Gitlo also has his eye on a pastry case...

                    3. beetlebug RE: 9lives Jan 14, 2008 09:15 AM

                      This was a fun meal and a great find. Since there were 8 of us, we ordered two of everything. Here is summary to go with the pictures.

                      Taro Shiu Mai - absolutely delicious but funny looking. Probably because they looked like they were upside down. The taro tasted very meaty (a good thing).

                      Shrimp dumplings - delicious wrappers with a fair amount of shrimp carefully crammed inside.

                      Seaweed Shiu Mai - I really liked the seaweed around these dumplings.

                      XO Sauce Daikon Cake - this rendition was ok. It was sort of warm (more on the cool side) and not at all crisp. I think our order was rushed because the third plate went to another table. I was very disappointed after reading and hearing about the raves.

                      Taro Spring Rolls - these were delicious. Thin crisp skin with the right filling to skin ratio.

                      Veggie Spring Rolls - great fry job but the filling was bland.

                      Char Shau Bao - these were ok. The bao was excellent but there wasn't enough meat to bao ratio. I prefer the traditional char shau flavor.

                      Rainbow Clear Noodles - the two batches on our table were completely different. Our side's order was delicious and flavorful. Right out amount of bite and flavor to each noodley bite. The other plate hadn't been wokked enough and it was bland.

                      Satay Chicken Clear Noodles - these were also tasty. I'm curious about the difference between this and the sa cha chicken clear noodles. I thought I ordered the sa cha ones (one of my favorite flavors) but the satay came out. Still a winner.

                      Custard Cream Buns - wow. I'm still in awe of these dumplings. As I stated earlier, the baos here are perfect. Fluffy but with substance and the filling in this was phenomenal. Egg yolk that hasn't formed into a custard since it came out piping. Little sugar granules to sit on the tongue and to balance out the creaminess of the yolk. Other diners warned me about the potential to squirt out the filling so I waited a few long minutes before I dove in. I took the smallest of bites to savor the fillings. This dessert isn't for everyone. The filling is quite sweet but the bao does balance it. Absolutely scrumptious.

                      We also ordered an assortment of shakes. Flavors included green tea, lychee, honeydew and mango. They were all delicious but the honeydew was intense and tasted like summer.

                      The waitresses were very sweet but some kinks still have to be worked out. We were very clear with ordering and pointed out what we wanted. These items never made it on the order or to the table: Cantonese Dumplings, Scallop Shiu Mai, Sweet Potato Puff.

                      They were pretty busy. We were a party of 8 and there was a smaller party sitting by the window. There was another large party waiting for our seats. I do think some of our food suffered because of the crowd. Some items just weren't wokked enough (XO daikon cakes and one set of rainbow clear noodles). But, this place definitely has a lot of potential and a lot of artistry in the food preparation.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: beetlebug
                        Allstonian RE: beetlebug Jan 14, 2008 09:56 AM

                        When BFP and I were in last night, Gitlo said that they had been absolutely slammed this weekend, and that it was almost more business than they were prepared to handle. (He's already made a mental note to have two people waiting tables on the weekends, which would free him up to lend a hand in the kitchen.) Our large order was taken by one of the waitresses, and she seems to have learned her lesson - she reviewed the order with us after we'd given it, and I noticed her checking things off as they came out of the kitchen. We didn't even have any problem adding in an order of char siu bao that we'd frogotten on the first pass. On the other hand, as BFP noted above, there were no other customers during the hour we spent there. (Well, there was one woman who came in to pick up a takeaway order, and a party of 4 or 5 arriving just as we prepared to leave.)

                        Keep in mind that the place has only been open for about 5 weeks now, and that they opened just before neighborhood business dried up with the BU holiday break. It's not surprising if there's a little glitchiness in such a sudden transition to brisk business.

                        It's really too bad your order of the XO sauce daikon cake was under-fried - last time we were there together ours suffered a little of the same problem, and it does make the dish a bit dull. Last night our order was perfect - hot and crispy. We were fighting over the last few cubes.

                        1. re: Allstonian
                          beetlebug RE: Allstonian Jan 14, 2008 10:02 AM

                          I could tell that they were slammed and I was giving them slack. I also realized that they were open for a short period of time. Even with the undercooked daikon cake, i could tell how amazing they would have been if they were uniformly cooked. I did snag a slightly crispy one and liked the bits. Plus, the flavor, even lukewarm and undercooked was still tasty.

                          None of my constructive bits of criticism will prevent me from going back. Sweet and earnest servers get a lot more slack from me than pretentious and haughty ones. I really want to try the scallop shau mai and the cantonese dumplings. And, of course, fully cooked XO daikon cake, more custard buns and the sa cha sauce noodles.

                        2. re: beetlebug
                          gini RE: beetlebug Jan 14, 2008 10:13 AM

                          Nice rundown, beetlebug; nice pics ninelives. I'll point out that this is the second time in a row that the XO daikon cake was underfried - really irksome, but when it's crispy it's so great that I just keep hoping for the best. You're right about the bao on the char sui buns - really perfect, but the filling was a little off for me. I think their regular pork buns are better. I loved the satay chicken clear noodles - what a great taste! I keep having such enjoyable experiences there - can't wait to go back and try more!

                        3. jgg13 RE: 9lives Jan 14, 2008 09:50 AM

                          How does the ordering work here? Do you just put in an order for everyhting you want at the start, or do you order as you go?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: jgg13
                            b
                            bakerboyz RE: jgg13 Jan 14, 2008 09:58 AM

                            I've only done take-out but I don't see why you couldn't do either way.

                            1. re: jgg13
                              beetlebug RE: jgg13 Jan 14, 2008 10:04 AM

                              We ordered everything at the beginning except the custard cream buns. I wanted those more like dessert so we waited until the end.

                              But, they did space out the servings of the dishes. It's not like everything came out at once. This way, we could nibble and finish, nibble and fight for the last piece(s) and then wait for the next set of stuff to come out.

                              1. re: beetlebug
                                Allstonian RE: beetlebug Jan 14, 2008 10:29 AM

                                Even if you order the custard cream buns at the beginning they won't serve them till the end - we've had that happen both times we've ordered them, and last night the waitress actually presented the steamer basket with the announcement, "Dessert!"

                                I agree that they do a nice job pacing the flow of dishes out of the kitchen. I was really surprised that we had been there for a full hour last night - the first dish didn't take long to arrive, and after that the orders came one or two at a time, at just the right speed that we were never waiting idly for the next item but we also never had so many different dishes that things got cold before we could eat them.

                                1. re: beetlebug
                                  t
                                  that_reeks_ugly RE: beetlebug Jan 14, 2008 10:32 AM

                                  my food did come out all at once, but one cool thing is that they leave the lids on the bamboo steamers. My DC and i just left them on until we were ready to tackle them.

                              2. ScubaSteve RE: 9lives Jan 15, 2008 07:22 AM

                                well we (Kid & me) went this past Sunday and all i can say is 'Wow!'

                                we got there around 2pm and got a deuce near the register with no problem. now i have never really had Dim Sum and the few times i have had it i was pretty hung over so my impression was not good.

                                we had read all the reviews and pretty much saw that everything was good so we ordered Scallop Shiu Mai, Crystal Rainbow Bun, Cantonese (chive) Dumplings, Bean Curd Skin Shrimp Rolls, Rainbow Clear Noodles (with chicken satay) and the Char Sieu Bai.

                                we were both impressed with the flavors being very fresh and right up-front. also as our only real experience with dumplings have been XLB we were impressed with the varying textures of the fillings. this is not boring food.

                                we did find the Char Sieu Bai a little goofy.

                                we liked this place so much that we took a menu with us so that we could try everything we didn't order the next time.

                                the server did a smashing job even though she was a little unsure of herself. we tipped big.

                                my only worry is that Gitlo is going to get hired away to some other place and we'll lose this Gem.

                                1. h
                                  hargau RE: 9lives Jan 15, 2008 06:13 PM

                                  Went tonight. Wasnt very busy at all. Gitlo spent alot of time talking to us about various things including chowhound. He even mentioned talking to striperguy!

                                  We had the Sesamee pork buns: Nice ratio of filling to dough, panfried bottoms with sesamee seeds.

                                  XO pan fried rice noodles: very tasty and nicely fried.

                                  Cantonese Dumplings: These were my favorite. Loved the chives and waterchestnuts inside. He only had 3 (full order is 4) so he gave them to us for free.

                                  Taro spring rolls: very good spring rolls. Burnt my mouth on them they were so hot!

                                  Veggie rolls: not very much different the the taro spring rolls. DC wanted them so added them at the end. I would have preferred something else just cause they were so similar.

                                  Custard Cream buns: He said these are called "moving sand" buns in china because of the loose middles. Very hot and fresh and sweet.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: hargau
                                    h
                                    hargau RE: hargau Jan 16, 2008 05:04 AM

                                    Question about XO sauce... I thought this was a spicy sauce made from seafood. When we got the Xo pan fried rice noodles it had what looked and tasted like bacon on it. Nothing that seemed really spicy or seafoody... I guess Xo is also a type of Cognac. Curious what they are using here.

                                    1. re: hargau
                                      9
                                      9lives RE: hargau Jan 16, 2008 05:12 AM

                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XO_sauce

                                      I wasn't familiar with XO til trying it with squid at Ho Yuen Ting..now Best Little Restaurant...a few years ago. Squid w/ XO is still a great dish..at BLR

                                      1. re: hargau
                                        v
                                        velotrain RE: hargau Jan 16, 2008 03:39 PM

                                        I went to Gitlo's for a late lunch today and agree that it's a find. I had the Scallop Shiu-Mai, the Satay chicken noodles, and XO Daikon. The "bacon" that harqua mentions is the preserved meat, which is an uncooked pork sausage that is hung outside to cure for a year or so.

                                        I meantioned that some hounds had found their Daikon undercooked, and he said just to make sure you ask for it crispy. Daikon can be ordered in three versions: #15 is Daikon wrapped in a (spring-type) roll and fried, #16 is the cubes, and #17 the large flat pieces. I liked it, but it became les interesting by itself, so was happy when the scallop dish came out. This is really a great combo, with flying fish roe on top to give crunch and a bit of scallop with pork and shrimp inside.

                                        My favorite was the Satay chicken, and I could easily see ordering a double portion for a meal. The noodles are gelatinous, but don't taste heavy. The overall dish has a surprising dryness to it, even though there was some oil on my plate when I finished.

                                        As others said, I plan to work my way through the whole menu.

                                    2. cassis RE: 9lives Jan 18, 2008 04:27 AM

                                      I dropped by at 12:15 yesterday, no other customers, Gitlo was sweeping and the younger man was out shopping. I ordered 4 dishes to take out, we chatted a little, he guessed that I had heard about the place on the internet. While I sat and waited for him to prepare my dishes, a woman walking by paused to peer in the window, then higher at the awning, as if she was looking for a sign, and then moved on. About 20 minutes later Gitlo came out with my order all packed, and we chatted some more. The place was still deserted.

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