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Jan 30, 2008 02:58 PM

Baltimore Dim Sum Help Please

I searched through the archives and really couldnt find any (relatively current) topics discussing Dim Sum. The only thing I stumbled across was Jesse Wong's in Columbia... is that the only option for Dim Sum that's close to Baltimore? I live in Fed Hill, so something in the city would be great. I'd be willing to go up near towson if need be (or other areas that are roughly 15mins away).

I miss Oriental East in Silver Spring....

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    1. re: Chownut

      OManor closed and Asian Court is set to open there with dim sum.

      1. re: chowsearch

        anyone know when Asian Court is opening?

        1. re: hon

          According to EL's inquiries, 5 February, give or take. I hold out hope, but the list of the new owner's other entrerprises does not leave me optomistic, based on discussions with people who have been to those places.

          1. re: Warthog

            What are the other enterprises?

    2. I'm afraid it really is the only option. Oriental Manor was closed, as in down, last time I tried to go, which was about two months ago. There used to be Grand Palace in Glen Burnie, but it closed a while back. The problem with Jesse Wong's is that everything seems to be too sweet, which is kind of odd. For me, it's Oriental East or Good Fortune in Wheaton, or no dim sum at all.

      1. I have to agree with the other posters. Jesse Wong's is at best OK, and there's not much else. Dim sum is something that should be left for your trips to DC.

        1. We ate dim sum regularly for over ten years in Philly (Ocean Harbor, H.K. Golden Phoenix, Golden Palace on Wash Ave) and think Jesse Wong's is a perfectly respectable dim sum. There's good selection, ingredients are fresh and good quality, it's reasonable, and it's certainly cleaner and friendlier than anywhere we went in Philly (which, admittedly, is not saying much). Will it change your life or make you forsake your trip to Chinatown in SF or NY? No. But it's really pretty good, IMHO.

          12 Replies
          1. re: chefdilettante

            I also am always surprised from the reaction to Jesse Wong's Hong Kong. I almost always have had great luck there, although sometimes their pork bao and taro balls can be on the dry side. But certain items, the tripe, the salt & pepper shrimp brought by runners, the congee, rice in lotus leaf and the tendon are usually fantastic. I also often go to Oriental East and Hollywood East, and I think that the food is comparable, minus the hectic crowds at Oriental East. However, a lot of people seem to disagree..

            1. re: Jason1

              do they use carts at jesse wong's or do you order from a menu?

              1. re: MarcDC

                It's carts and runners. Mostly carts.

                1. re: chefdilettante

                  Carts on the weekends, menu on weekdays.

            2. re: chefdilettante

              That's my point. To drive from Federal Hill to Columbia for an ok dim sum experience is just not worth it. We had a chowhound outing there a few months ago, and the consensus was that it was acceptable but not chow-worthy (except for the pork, which we all loved).

              The Jesse Wong places all suffer from this. I used to eat at Asean Bistro once in a while when I lived five blocks away, but haven't bothered since I moved to the city. The Jesse Wong's whatever it is in Hunt Valley is a frequent choice for work lunches, and I've never had anything bad, but never anything memorable either.

              If you're in the area, they're all fine. But none of them are worthwhile as a destination.

              1. re: JonParker

                Does the hunt valley one do Dim Sum? I'm in the category of 'not thrilled' with Jesse Wong's dim sum in columbia, but if it's only 5 minutes away I might as well give it the benefit of trying it once.

                edit: I just read the citypaper review... "Everything went so badly, really, on a recent Saturday night at Jesse Wong’s Kitchen that “Jesse Wong” suggests itself as new Cockney rhyming slang (à la “Pete Tong”) for anything you’d looked forward to that ended up going badly: “Oh, the evening at the opera went Jesse Wong—the soprano was hoarse, they ran out of vodka at the lobby bar, and I lost my cell phone.” ... ouch?

                1. re: Wangus

                  My understanding is that all three restuarants are very different, but I have never been to the Hunt Valley location. I believe that Hong Kong is the only one focused on strictly Chinese cuisine, and the only one that has Dim Sum.

                  1. re: JonParker

                    This was only the consensus of half of the people. People at my table were very enthusiastic. I agree with Jason1 that though some of the dishes are faulty, others like the snow pea shoots, the spicy tendon and the eggplant are a real treat. Go try it out, be adventurous, and tell us what you think.

                    1. re: crowsonguy

                      I think this almost validates my point -- we had 12 people there split into two tables of six. Half thought it was pretty good, the other half thought it was just ok. Now, one could postulate that we just happened to divide up with people with a certain set of tastes at one table and those with a different set at the other, but that seems unlikely.

                      A more reasonable assumption is that the restaurant is inconsistent, which is in line with my experiences at the other two JW places.

                      I will add that I never said that any of them are bad. They're just not great.

                      1. re: JonParker

                        Maybe we could all agree it's the best dim sum around Baltimore...since it's the only one left. And, like Warthog reminds, if you like a place and want to see it stay, try to be supportive. I think this one is the better of his places, and these would be good views to put in the current online zag poll. Wong, who is Malaysian, said it was for his Chinese friends who drove from Columbia to DC ISO dim sum, and he was doing it for them, not the greater population. He went to French pastry classes at 50, and wanted to try to make up some new types of DS--you can see some of the pastry shells are inventive, like in the tarts, and the runner dishes are the inventive, delicate ones. And it doesn't appear the new Asian Court is going to try to break new ground in the delicate department.

                        1. re: chowsearch

                          Interesting. Didn't know that. The first time I went to Jesse Wong's was about three years ago - dim sum was horrible; they used frozen shrimp and some of the veggies were frozen too. Turnip cake was just not made right. Lots of the dim sum appeared machine made as well. However, I went back again (kind of out of desparation) a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised - it was much better. Maybe it will continue to get better and will be a place that we can all agree upon - I'd be lining up to get inside if that was the case.

                2. Chinatown Cafe near mulberry on Park use to do dim sum on the weekends, I haven't been to the restaurant for at least a year so I'm not sure if they still do. (I've had delivery more recently and the secheuzan bean curd is still tasty) It was good and on carts when I was last there.

                  But in general in Baltimore I think your better off cultivating and interest in the korean barbque restaurants north of mount vernon. That's the best unique/tradtional asian we have to offer, in my opinion

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: poached

                    Oh, lordy, Chinatown Cafe is a dump these days -- and I don't mean that in an affectionate way. No carts, always empty, lousy service.

                    1. re: sweetpotater

                      Oh what a bummer! I haven't been in there for a long while- it used to be a decent place to bad it's gone to the darkside