Go to Gitlo's!
I understand that Gitlo's has been getting great feedback on this board but it needs more support...Go Now! I have been 4 times, always for take-out, and most of the food is very fresh and creative. I was in this afternoon at about 12:30, ordered take-out, and sat talking to Gitlo for about 20 minutes. Gitlo said that evening and weekends have been much busier than lunch...no one came in during the 20 minutes I was there. He told me that this evening he would be making Creme Brulee which others have tried there and loved. He said he is also making Soy Sauce Chicken Wings (they aren't on the menu). I told him that I would be ordering for a large group for Super Bowl and we decided that I should call ahead (like Saturday) so that he can order ahead and prepare early. I will be eating my take-out later for dinner but I did try his char siu bau and they were incredibly light and fluffy and the filling (with a hint of peanut butter) was very good though not much of it.
Finally got to try out Gitlos, albeit via delivery (and that's an important disclaimer, as I could see that negatively impacting things). Had the cantonese dumplings, rainbow noodles, scallop siu-mai, pork buns, char siu-bau and the house special lotus leaf. In general, we were pretty "meh" about the whole thing. I really liked the dumplings, she really the pork bun, and I enjoyed the rainbow noodles. Didn't really like the lotus leaf at all (and those are usually my favorite things!). The char siu bau was indistinguishable from the frozen ones I get at Super 88 (which aren't very good).
In general, the impression for me was somewhere between "ok" and "good" and hers was somewhere between "not good" and "ok". We decided to not judge it on the basis of delivery, but definitely wasn't seeing what was eliciting all of the raves.
Just wanted to reiterate the praise. Husband and I went Friday after work. We arrived around 6pm and were the only ones there. We ordered cantonese dumplings, XO daikon cake (crispy), char siu bao, taro spring rolls, chicken satay clear noodles, and custard cream bun all for $20. The dumplings were probably the best I've ever had. The taro rolls were my least favorite item ordered but still really good.
Decor looks like it's in the midst of change but like everyone has said, you do stop noticing your surroundings once you start eating this delicious food.
The only negative part of the experience is that despite knowing that the food was piping hot I was still kind of an idiot and still decided that I wouldn't burn the roof of my mouth with a 350 degree dumpling. I was wrong. Next time I'll be more patient. I'm sure we will be regulars here.
Encouraged by the chowhound reports, I just went to Gitlo's last night with three friends and we were quite frankly blown away. Maybe it was the contrast with the utterly no-ambience, fluorescently lit room, maybe it was the wonderfully low prices, maybe it was the fact that, on a Sunday night, we were the only people in the room besides Gitlo and his super fast, polite team, but by the end of the evening we had entered a kind of ecstatic food coma. All we could think about was how to get more people there so that it will still be open next time we're in town (from Providence).
Special favorites were the crunchy, savory, crisp-fried Cantonese dumplings, which were packed with chives and water chestnut in addition to pork; the sesame pork buns; the wholly addictive clear rainbow noodles, each chewy in the middle and fried crunchy at the ends, with the slivers of fried ham, pale green pepper, and sliced mushroom; and, finally, the tender, gooey, probably-should-be-illegal warm custard buns. The mango shakes were on the sweet side, but icy and delicious. The service was also great (admittedly, we didn't have much competition for their attention) ~ they were friendly and ready with the tea refills, chili sauce, and requests for more food.
We are all big dim sum fans, but this tasted subtly and wonderfully different from anything I've had in Boston, NYC, and San Francisco. And our bill for four, after ordering with little restraint, was... $52.
Go. If I didn't live an hour away, I'd go back tonight. I'm sending all my friends. I will be seriously sad if this place doesn't make it.
Two of my friends and I went there for a late lunch sunday.
The crispy daikon cake in XO was awesome - one friend called them Chinese homefries - they are in a comforting sort of way.
The rainbow noodles with chicken were unlike anything I have ever tried. Loved how the crispy texture of some of the food contrasted with the the worm-like noodles.
Sesame pork buns were ok but I'm not a huge sweet meat type of fan.
Chive dumplings were chock full of chives.
Also liked the sweet potato dumplings - molten yellow sweet potato which wasn't overwhelmingly sweet.
Gitlo himself was a very nice and personable guy. We spoke briefly when I mentioned chowhound.
Service was good and food pacing was fine but we were really the only ones these besides some guy getting take-out. I think we were there around 3 PM.
To clarify, there's both the char siu bao and the sesame pork buns. Sesame pork buns were flat patties skillet crisped with sesame seeds, with what tasted like preserved pork inside. Char siu bao was regular CSB in the style of the fully enclosed bun and not the fluffy bread stye.
Gitlo's is, even with the zipcar rental cost it will take me to go back, the cheapest great meal I've had lately...and will often have again...
New item alerts:
You can now order the puffs with char siu. This iteration *really* plays up the peanuts in the sauce, because that flavor melds with the butteriness of the puff pastry. Melt in your mouth delicious.
Chicken and napa dumplings: small coin-purse-style pan-fried dumplings with a succulent, flavorful filling.
Seriously, as good as Gitlo's ALWAYS is, I think this is probably the single best experience we've ever had there. Just one of those magical times where every dish you order -- we also got the daikon cake with XO sauce (extra crispy), the Cantonese dumplings, the sesame pork buns, the rainbow clear noodles, and the veggie rolls -- comes out exactly right. The sesame pork buns in particular were better than ever.
While we were in there, Gitlo decided to run across the street to buy some markers to write the name in the windows, in response to Allstonian mentioning that people have complained that they have trouble locating the place. He's also installing a chalkboard to list the daily specials and he's about to repaint the walls a less hospital-waiting-room-like color.
Just got home from my very first Gitlo's trip, and I must say, I was very impressed. My chowpartner and I got:
*An order of regular dumplings (which I didn't try, skins looked nice though),
*The rainbow noodles with ham, these were as good as everyone says, worm-like toothsome dough rollings with crunchy vegetables, thin ham slices and mushroom.
*Crispy daikon cake, which was fantastic. I asked for them extra crispy, based on reports that they were underdone. It had a beautiful level of brown yet a tender filling. They were so good they didn't really need the soy/hoisin dipping sauce provided. Had a wonderful crunch without being overly grease-laden or heavy. I could come here just for these. Can't wait to try them prepared in XO sauce.
*Seafood rice wrapped in lotus leaves. This was my least favorite, which isn't to say it was bad. I was expecting sticky rice for some reason, but it was competent fried rice with shrimp, bits of surimi imitation crab, and chopped asparagus ends. Overall decent, but I was super full by the time this came. I'd probably try something new instead of this next time.
*Custard creme bun. MMMMMMMMMMmmmmm. 3 steaming, "eggs" of pearl-white dough. Biting into the fluffy, chewy being yields a yolky, sugary inside, which is somehow intense in sweetness and egg flavor, but not overpowering. These were delicious.
*Creme brulee. Very nice rendition, in a foil mini-pie-plate. Solid crunchy crust, rich creamy inside, minimal custardy texture. Subtle and nice.
All this came to $21. The only other diners were another couple. Gitlo himself was as nice as can be, and there was a sense that he put a lot of care and pride into the dishes. The wait for each dish was not as unbearable as others remarked. I actually thought the pacing was just fine. From the taste of the dishes, you could tell that each was freshly made with lots of love. I definitely yearn to return and try other things. But those crispy daikon cakes are outstanding.
By the way, they apparently take visa/mc, as they took ours with no problem.
Wow. There is no way this place will survive with service like this. We arrived at 1PM on a Sunday, and an empty table was waiting. We knew that we should order early because of a wait, but his was ridiculous. We ordered about 6-8 items, after hearing that they were out of 3 of the ones we really wanted. No problem, though, as there was plenty of good stuff there. We ordered 4 drinks, one of each came out approximately every ten minutes during out 50 minute wait. The waitresses were serving people who came in after us, before we received one item. There was no soy sauce on the tables or dipping sauces of any kind in the place. They were bringing out food, then stopping and loading up used plates/tins from other tables on the same platter, and carrying it back into the kitchen. There appeared to be total confusion and inefficiency coupled with complete apathy. After 50 minutes, we were told that dishes we ordered just after we walked in were just being cooked. The dishes we did actually get were tasty, but nothing about the experience made us glad we chose to eat there. We eventually canceled a couple of the dishes that hadn't yet arrived after close to an hour, and went down the street to New Trend Eatery (Chinese) where we received fast and attentive service and decent food. Good luck, Gitlo's, you're gonna need it.
As you might read from other comments about the place, the dishes come out one at a time not out of apathy or inefficiency, but because that's how they come out: one at a time, as they're cooked. Many of us like this about the place. Furthermore, there are no dipping sauces nor soy sauce on the tables because the food doesn't need them, but if you ask, they will bring them.
Sorry that Gitlo's isn't for you, though I'm glad you managed "decent" food at New Trend, a place I personally find ghastly.
I can appreciate that their food may take longer to make and we were prepared for that, but there was no excuse for the complete disorganization we saw. There are what, four tables and maybe 30 menu items? I can see how whipping up mango smoothies is so challenging it takes the better part of an hour. None of us found the food appreciably better than at any Chinatown dim sum, anyway. I hope they can get their act in gear, but I don't find incompetence charming.
I said New Trend was decent, not transcendent.
Just wanted to add my two cents. Hubby and I went to Gitlo's on Saturday night (2/1) and there was no one there. After reading all the rave reviews here, I was afraid of a long wait, but I was a little sad to see no one there. He's extremely friendly and the service was great. We had a char sui bao (steamed pork buns - sorry if I misspelled that). It's not on the menu, but is listed as a new item on the wall. I thought it had ample stuffing, or at least didn't skimp on the sauce which is my favorite part. I can't remember the names of everything we had (taro spring rolls, sticky rice, shrimp dumplings, puffy sweet potato thing), but it was all superb and unbelievably fresh! If you, like me, have only had stale dim sum on a cart (which is still pretty darn tasty by the way), this is an entirely different experience. In my opinion, freshly made dim sum is a real treat and we plan to go back many, many times. May Gitlo's live long and prosper!
Went to Gitlo's last night(1/22). First off, very good place and unfortunately, empty. We had the char siu bao, the Daikon cake with XO sauce, the Chicken dumplings, shrimp dumplings, the taro roll, the veggie roll, the custard bun, and the sweet potato roll. All in all, had a wonderful, and cheap, night out. As opposed to another posting, my daikon had ample browning, enough flavor from the preserved meat to make it taste like homefries cooked with bacon fat. The dough on the pork and custard buns was light and soft. My least favorite was the chicken dumpling. The service was fine, but it could be slow if there were others in the restaurant. I would get there, because if they go through more nights like last(with only a few customers) they may not be around for long. Get there and pass the good word!
One thing that bothered me slightly about this place, I feel bad even posting. I know its small and there is limited room and its often slow and i know this happens other places, but i dont want to see it...
When we were there he was rolling up spring rolls on one of the dining room tables. Im sure he probally wiped the table off first but this is a table that customers sit at and i dont want my food rolled out on it. He then took a break and covered the remaining wrappers up with a damp/nasty looking greyish white terry cloth dish towel to keep them moist till he returned. The entire time we were there i couldnt help but look at this nasty towel covering the spring roll wrappers on the bare table..
maybe its just me...
I didnt want to say anything since he is such a nice guy and takes such pride in everything, didnt want to offend.
Went there for the first time today - overall good, but I wasn't blown away. They surprisingly do take credit card, although I would have thought with the way it's set up, they'd do better without CC so they'd avoid the fees. They've cut items out, so unfortunately we couldn't get one of our favoties, the deep fried rice dumplings filled with pork. Items we ordered:
1. Shrimp dumpling - fresh with a great filling texture; the wrapper was resilient without being too thick. The Chinese Broccoli stems didn't add much to it.
2. Cantonese dumplings - this was essentially a joucai (qtoy, chinese chives) dumpling. Just a little pork that barely held the filling together, and a nice thin wrapper. My husband would have preferred a filling that was more compact, but since I really like joucai, it worked for me. This is panfried.
3. Daikon cake with XO sauce - the texture of the cubes was smooth and actually a little boring - I like bigger chunks of Daikon for some textural variety. There was also no browning, which I think is one of the best parts of ordering daikon cake. The sauce had a nice kick, esp with the dried shimp on top.
4. Rattail noodles with shrimp - this was excellent, with a resilient rice noodle that reminded me of niangao.
5. Scallop shiumai - I agree with someone else on the board, who noted that this really is a shrimp-pork shiumai with a sliver of scallop and roe on top. This was pretty tasty since the shrimp (as with all the shrimp dishes) were fresh, so I liked this one despite the misnomer.
6. Custard Bun - hands down the best dish we tried. It's messy but yummy.
Well, they have at least one high chair, looks to be from the 50's though, complete with duct tape covering the seat. It kept my 19 month old from roaming the kitchen though.
Discliamer: I had never eaten Dim Sum today.
Went with my parents and we all loved the food. Very fresh ingredients and everything was excellent. We ordered about 12 different dishes off the menu, the standouts being the XO Sauce Daikon Cake, Rainbow Clear and the Satay Noodles, Scallop Shiu Mai, Cantonese Dumplings and the outrageous custard cream buns. They were out of a lot of things we wanted to try too - sesame pork buns, sweet potato puffs and soy sauce wings.
The bill for 3 of us was $38 before tip.
Gitlo was there, said he's been working 90 hours weeks so he's decided to move to Brighton instead of the south Shore. He was very friendly and talked to us for awhile. There was anouther couple there while we ate, then one more came in as we were on the way out.
I'll make another trek there in the near future. Thanks to everyone who raved about this place!
Finally made it to Gitlo's today. Been dying to try the Sweet Potato Puffs and the 'silver needle noodles' since I've read about them on the board. Unfortunately by the time we got there they were out of the Sweet Potato Puffs and the Crystal Rainbow Buns.
Everything tasted very fresh. With the exception of the fried Cantonese Dumplings, the steamed items arrived first. I was interested in seeing broccoli florets in the Shrimp dumplings, but they turned out to be just chopped broccoli stems (which made much more sense). The skins on all the dumplings we tried were thin, which showed the talent of the chef.
XO Sauce Daikon Cake was less crispy than I had hoped, but I guess having cubes of the cake stir-fried with sauce makes everything less crispy. The creme brulee was unexpectedly served in a mini pie tin, but was a very smooth and yummy custard. The highlight of the meal however may had been the Sesame Pork Buns with its light and fluffy bun covered with a layer of sesame seeds on its bottom.
I, too, stopped by briefly around 1PM. Sigh, out of the sesame pork buns, according to Gitlo. Had the XO sauce daikon cake, several of which cubes were browned nicely, but could have used more daikon for flavor & texture, as others have mentioned. Sauce was delissh. Taro shiu-mai were so fresh & hot that Gitlo, literally, dropped them onto the table. I wish I hadn't been solo, so I could have ordered more, but just had to stop in for a quick lunch on my way elsewhere. Next time.
After just moving here from Los Angeles and feeling a void left by the ethnic treasures that LA has to offer I was very excited to find China Pearl. It seemed to me that Boston would provide me with some comfort.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that Gitlo’s left me feeling very comforted. The only server they had today was very inexperienced. Our food took a long time in coming and the dishes were too spread out to enjoy. I don’t feel like any of the dishes are standouts.
One set of dumplings arrived from the kitchen with an apology from the kitchen that they were overdone. Why is the kitchen even sending out food that is substandard?
In the servers inexperience, she has no command of her tables and the flow of food coming from the kitchen. She was bringing food to tables that had arrived after us.
Quite frankly I don’t see any advantage to eating here than eating at China Pearl. One would think with the more intimate setting, that there would be better service and better cuisine. Neither of which I can say are true after today’s experience.
Mark: two others you might want to try that are closer to you: Tosca in Hingham (finally remembered the name :-) and Coriander in Sharon. Not chinese food though, but new american done well.
Some items were better than the usual chinatown fare...e.g., the har gau tasted very good (shrimp was tastier than ones you'd find in chinatown)...the scallop/tobiko on top of the shumai was tasty...the curry noodles were good. Others were just ok...the foon gwoh was a bit watery and not as good as china pearl's. The custard bun was a bit odd (a watery solution w/ sugar particles). The taro shumai was good and unique as was the taro egg roll. Daikon cake w/ XO sauce was unique but just ok (not enough daikon flavor/texture). The char siu bao was ok. They were out of the sweet potato roll and seafood shumai unfortunately :-P
I thought it was a decent hole in the wall and fairly typical of the sort: Some stuff was unique. Some stuff was better than usual. Some stuff was worse. You get stuff fresh off the stove and you have to wait for stuff because there's only one stove :-P
For more consistency, hit China Pearl in chinatown (better than the suburban branches) and go during a busy time. If you manage to get the roasted char siu bao and the custard tarts as they come out of the kitchen warm, it's worth the trip :-)
Really amusing was the tea w/ the tea bag labelled "tea bag" instead of a particular brand as seen in the photo attached. I've also attached a photo of the scallop/tobiko topped shumai which did look pretty cool w/ the steam coming off it.
Poking my head in from Little Rhody. :) I took a dim sum virgin friend there for lunch today and she was absolutely smitten. We both loved how the food arrived at the table piping hot and freshly made. I agree with the bao assessment above - the bun itself was fantastic but I would have liked a bit more filling. All in all, though, great little spot with really yummy food! Next time I have another dim sum craving without a large crowd to go with, I'm hitting Gitlo's again.
Which are the char siu bau (I'm not great with the Chinese names)? I neeed to avoid if they have peanut butter due to allergy. Last time we were there I don't recall seeing anything with peanut butter on the menu. There was something with peanut but he was out of it anyway.
I thought they were too salty, too steeped in soy - they are practically black. Just went to Gitlo's for saturday lunch - steady crowd. Enjoyed the chive dumplings the best (Q toy). Got the XO daikon but would get the crispy next time (which I had previous visit). I did not like the veggies spring rolls (I guess it's because I don't like taro too much) and they are sold out of the bean curd skin crispy shrimp rolls today.
Also note: they take cash only still..