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Asian Court dim sum report

w
Warthog Feb 24, 2008 09:26 AM

If you check the thread titled "Oriental Manor 2.0", you'll find that my friends and I had three major objections to Asian Court for dinner after multiple visits - lack of proper spicing, pacing of the meal, and communications difficulties.

Guess what? With cart service dim sum on the weekends, all three objections largely go away. There are very few dim sum dishes that are meant to be spicy hot, the pacing is pretty much up to the diner as they keep the carts moving constantly, and for communication, pointing works (though the staff working the carts does speak English).

$3.25 for small dishes, $3.95 for medium, and $4.25 for large, $.75 for tea.

I brought my appetite, and went through a total of ten dishes, and there wasn't a clinker in the batch. Of the dishes I had, I particularly enjoyed the bitter melon rounds stuffed with shrimp past, the meat-filled tofu-skin rolls, and the tripe.

I should also note that the place was packed with mostly Asian faces, so it appears the word is out at least in some circles.

Even if the Baltimore area had extensive dim sum competition, I think that Asian Court would hold its own. Given the lack of dim sum choices in the area, Asian Court's offerings are even more welcome.

  1. ko1 Feb 24, 2008 09:51 AM

    Great news. Thanks for the report. I may have to head out next weekend!

    1. aussiewonder Feb 24, 2008 10:55 AM

      Is DimSum only served on weekends?

      3 Replies
      1. re: aussiewonder
        sistereurope Feb 24, 2008 11:20 AM

        Fabulous news!!!!
        ko1, next weekend is our Chinese NY feast...but you should definitely join us for dim sum some weekend over here on our side of town.

        1. re: sistereurope
          baltoellen Feb 24, 2008 11:33 AM

          I agree that this news is fabulous! Thanks for the review, Warthog!

        2. re: aussiewonder
          w
          Warthog Feb 24, 2008 02:54 PM

          It's on the menu, but I seem to recall that that portion of the menu listed what hours/days it was available. I'm also not sure if it's cart service all times that dim sum is available at all, or if it's carts on the weekend, and "order off the menu" other times.

          My apologies for not paying attention to that detail, but if info hasn't been posted by the time I go back again, I'll try to remember to take note of the dim sum schedule info.

        3. s
          smoms Feb 24, 2008 04:24 PM

          Took the kids two weekends ago and it was very decent dim sum. Your usual dim sum suspects, no adventure on new or novel dishes, but the standards are all fine. The wrapping to the chive flower dumplings were way too thick though. The sticky rice in leaves was made with way too much water, but the flavor was great. Otherwise all was good. I thought the pricing was a bit expensive--especially starting off with small plates at over $3. It took a few tries to get tea and a fork and ice water for my toddler--definitely some communication problems that has nothing to do with language, as I am Chinese!

          It's good to know this is here in our backyard for close and decent dim sum, but for the price and slightly higher quality and more variety I'll probably stick to Hollywood East on University in Wheaton despite the hike. It just shouldn't cost an adult, a toddler and an infant $43 for dim sum!

          1 Reply
          1. re: smoms
            baltoellen Mar 9, 2008 01:53 PM

            You can see ko1's review/overview of our dim sum outing below, but I wanted to address the service issue. I don't speak Mandarin (except for Happy New Year, which, six weeks later, I'm still wishing Chinese people since it's the only thing I can say), but we had absolutely no problems getting things we needed: chili sauce, water, tea, etc.

            And, there was never a lag in the carts coming around and the variety of foods offered.

            The place was jam-packed, but I never felt as though we were ignored or there were any communication problems when we needed anything. (Although we did have Michele there, who does speak Chinese, so I guess she also helped to make sure things ran smoothly on the communication front.)

          2. w
            Warthog Feb 26, 2008 04:43 AM

            Accroding to the carry-out menu, the hours for dim sum are:

            M-F 11:00-3:00
            Sat, Sun, 10:00-3:00

            Not sure if it's cart service or "order off the sheet" during the week.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Warthog
              ko1 Mar 9, 2008 01:25 PM

              Well a bunch of hounds went there today when our CNY feast was canceled. I've only had dim sum at Grand Palace and Chinatown Cafe, but this was the best I've had. House-made turnip cake, clams in a very rich black bean sauce, sticky rice in a banana leaf, shu mai, crispy roast pork, vegetable dumplings, steamed yeasty barbecue pork dumplings, spare ribs, fish balls, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns and other yummy desserts and more. Not a clinker in the bunch, and as Ellen states above, constant carts and attentive service. We met Benjamin (the very nice nephew of the owner, he posted here about some of the issues Warthog experienced) and Mai Lin, the owner. Lovely people. Benjamin told us at dinner they primarily serve large parties and are still having issues in how they serve small groups of 2-4. It's a shame as they had some pretty authentic looking stuff under the chef's specials. We stuffed ourselves, and with tea, tax, and tip, it came to $18 a head.

              1. re: ko1
                sistereurope Mar 9, 2008 03:01 PM

                Not much to add to ko1's well crafted report. We liked everything...the food was great, the prices were reasonable, and, as Ellen mentioned, the service was very smooth. We had a fabulous time, and the personal greeting from the owner was a nice ending to an overall very satisfying dim sum experience. We will definitely be back!

                1. re: ko1
                  b
                  bluepig1 Mar 9, 2008 03:24 PM

                  Generally I concur! Glad to have another dim sum option in town. A few of my thoughts -

                  Service was generally good and nowhere near as bad as previous posters have experienced. However, there were several instances where our tea pot had run out, and our water glasses were out, and it took flagging down a passing waiter to get both refilled. Feels like they're still ironing out the last of the service kinks, and it was a pretty typically Sunday crowd today.

                  For the most part, the food was pretty good. I felt about half the dishes were lukewarm, the result of having been on the carts a little while. Maybe my definition of "lukewarm" is that it wasn't steaming hot, as I find dim sum is best served. As busy as it was, the "constant" flow of carts was at one point a little inconstant - I'd say there was probably a 5-10 minute gap in service with no carts at all when they were cooking up fresh batches... but when the fresh batches came out they were hot and tasty. Overall - definitely not the best dim sum I've ever had (those were in San Francisco, Vancouver and Hong Kong), but better than passable for Baltimore. I never saw typical dim sum dishes like rice noodle crepes (I think folks on here call it "baby flesh"?) filled with beef or shrimp, but saw just about all of the other standbys. I look forward to getting back next time and trying some of the more adventurous dishes (chicken feet and beef tripe).

                  As for a language barrier - I didn't feel like we really encountered one but I'm the aforementioned Chinese speaker. If anything, many of the boys pushing the dim sum carts were quite comfortable English speakers and didn't fully follow what I was saying in Cantonese. A few of the women pushing carts were Mandarin speakers, so we managed to convey each others' points even if not fully understanding each other. So, this sounds like an area where they've improved since the experiences detailed above.

                  Michele

                  1. re: bluepig1
                    w
                    Warthog Mar 10, 2008 05:10 AM

                    Just to re-iteratre, I also had good luck with the dim sum. As noted in the original post, I found that the dim sum service eliminated all the sources of problems that my friends and I have had at the *dinner* service, with a group of three, or me dining alone.

                    The intent of my original post on this thread was to try to make clear that while the dinner service is still on my "we have some issues" list, the dim sum service is well worth trying. I'm glad that other hounds agree!

              2. s
                sweetpotater Mar 10, 2008 08:33 AM

                Where is this place?

                1 Reply
                1. re: sweetpotater
                  b
                  bluepig1 Mar 10, 2008 08:32 PM

                  9180 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City. Same strip mall as Home Depot.

                2. e
                  egret62 Mar 22, 2008 08:35 PM

                  Thanks for all the info on Asian Court. I took my husband there today for his birthday. We've had a lot of dim sum, mostly in Seattle and NYC, and we agree that while Asian Court is not the best we have ever had, is certainly quite good, and the best we've found in the DC/Baltimore area. The har gow were excellent as were the rice noodle crepes with beef or shrimp. Too full for the clams with black bean sauce, which look yummy. We went right at noon on a Saturday and it was almost full. The service was very attentive, and all the staff were very friendly. We got four different "thank you's" as we left the restaurant. We'll definitely be back!

                  1. d
                    dzoey Mar 23, 2008 09:28 PM

                    Just tried the dim sum today with the kids. We are not particularly adventuresome, but my son reported that both types of pork rolls were delicious, my daughter thought the spare ribs (little bone pieces with meat stuck on them) were just as good as before, and I thought the sticky rice was better than before in that it had more filling and was stickier. I didn't see any of the extra water that a previous poster mentioned. The shrimp rolls were very good, not greasy at all. In general, I find this kitchen controls it's greasiness better than Oriental Manor 1.0 did or for that matter, better than Jesse Wong's.

                    The service was not as bad as I was expecting. There are two older guys there to greet people and they are very friendly,. chatting with a lot of the families that came in and remembering people from previous visits. We had no problems getting a knife and fork for my daughter (who can use chopsticks but prefers a fork for digging meat out of the crannies of the spare ribs). Our soft drinks were refilled without my needing to ask. The only glitch was that I had to ask twice for a bowl of white rice. I had no problems understanding the cart pushers nor them understanding me when I was trying to figure out what some of the dishes were.

                    The prices are higher than Oriental Manor. 3 soft drinks, spare ribs, steamed pork buns, baked pork buns, shrimp & scallion dumplings, sticky rice, and shrimp rolls ran $34. However, I'm OK with the price increase since it came with an increase in quality.

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