Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Nov 20, 2008 10:18 AM

Gitlo's Going Strong

Hit it for lunch yesterday.

Everything was great including a new dumpling he recommended that was just beautiful with a clear wrapper crimped into a three petal florette on top each of which had a dab of flying fish roe in it. The dumpling itself was stuffed with very firm meaty shrimp. It was awesome.

They have also much expanded the menu to include soups and other more meal like items. Really need to revisit for a full-blown chow dinner.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What I really like about Gitlo's as compared to all of the other dim sum restaurants in Boston is that the dim sum chef at Gitlo's really tries to be a little different, a little more creative in his offerings and although everything doesn't always work (for instance I am not wild about his shu mai), I appreciate the effort. I tried Winsor Cafe for the first time this week and although it was good, I found it to be no different than China Pearl, Hei La Moon, Chau Chau City, and the rest of the dim sum palaces, minus the carts.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bakerboyz

      I guess it depends on what you order. Winsor has plenty of different/creative items on the menu but they dont mess with the classics. So if you go in and order shumai, soup dumplings, pork buns and hagau, thats what you get. I run into the same problem at Winsor sometimes. I want to try so many things but at the same time i cant resist ordering my favorite classic items

      1. re: hargau

        Yes, I do usually stay with the "classics": har gau, shu mai, beef balls, crab claws, spare ribs, sticky rice, steamed pork buns, etc, but I did notice when I was in SF a couple of years ago, they do take the "classics" and add creative twists to them, which would be nice if they did here too.

        1. re: bakerboyz

          I'm usually the opposite...if it looks like something I haven't tried, I'll try it (except for guts and feet :-)
          E.g., Windsor has a sticky rice w/ chicken (the thing you normally find in a lotus leaf at most dim sum places), but pan fried on both sides and an egg on top of it. Different and interesting tasting, though a touch oily.

          That said, Gitzlo's is definitely more creative, though some thing work and some things don't to me...e.g., that puff pastry dough is too doughy to me and isn't really puffy/buttery enough...

          1. re: Spike

            I heard that the chef, Liang Deng, is no longer with Gitlo's... anyone notice any difference with the food there?

            1. re: Spike

              that Windsor pan fried sticky rice w/ scrambled egg on top has a great crunch on the guo ba (sizzling rice) but more caramelized (if that's the right word)...could use something to cut the grease though, maybe oyster sauce

      2. I made my first trip to Gitlo's this past weekend. My interest was mostly based on the glowing reviews here.

        Short version: Not my cup of tea

        Long version: I admit I am a traditionalist. So when I go to dim sum, I want a nice choice of tried-and-true traditional dishes. New creations are good too, but I want the traditional dishes to be, well, traditional.

        What I liked about Gitlo's was that everything was served hot and fresh and that many of the dishes were pretty to behold. However there are two reasons why overall I felt disappointed. First of all, many of the bun and dumpling dishes had a lot of dough compared with filling. Second, I came away with a strong feeling that Gitlo's menu had been strongly shaped by a desire to offer nothing that might offend or seem unattractive to the mainstream American palate. Part of my enjoyment of a good dim sum trip is gnawing away at those nice chicken feet or countering winter's chill with a warming portion of tripe. Not only was there nothing like that on the menu, but the dishes on the menu seemed to favor American ingredients over Chinese. For example, one of the noodle dishes we had used red onions and what seemed to be portabello mushrooms. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with those ingredients. However they are not what I am looking for when I go out for dim sum. What's wrong with shiitake mushrooms and scallions, anyway? That dish was tasty, but it's not what I am after. Next time I get a dim sum craving I will be wanting to return to the China Pearl in Quincy. I was there several weeks ago and was very pleased. It is at least as good as China Pearl in Chinatown and is in the same shopping mall as Kam Man. Dim sum and an Asian grocery run. What fun!

        5 Replies
        1. re: PinchOfSalt

          mentioned the lack of chicken feet on the menu to one of the waitresses during my first visit. she laughed and told me, "americans don't like chicken feet. they're scared of them"

          1. re: galangatron

            I went for my first time a couple of weeks ago and I was very happy with the experience. Some items I'd never encountered before, and I thought for example that the doug-to-filling ratio on things like char siu bao was far better than in Chinatown (I like the actual dough better as well). Traditional items such as siu mai (I usually love this, but not at Gitlos) and har gau (I think Gitlos is the best I've had) are there, but then are are things like the scallion puzzle bun or crispy turnip cakes that were completely new to me and just delicious. That said, I have not seen many Chinese eating there the trhee times I've now been so maybe their clientele are not typically the traditionalist crowd. I too was craving a new rendition of tripe or maybe "black tofu".

            Last time I went to China Pearl in Chinatown I was very disappointed. Winsor is my go-to for the traditional stuff now.

            1. re: Zatan

              Yes, indeed for Winsor in Chinatown. Very very fresh, well-prepared, hot-from-the-wok (or steamer), tasty dishes. Everything I have tried there has ranged from good to delightful. Be sure to beat the rush on weekends or you may find yourself standing in line.

            2. re: galangatron

              Gitlo usually comes by our table to chat when Allstonian and I are eating there, and he's expounded on the philosophy of his place a few times. I think his view about stuff like chicken feet and tripe is more along the lines of "You can get that anywhere." He really likes doing oddball things with some of the more traditional dishes. Sometimes they work -- who knew that peanut butter was good in char siu bao? -- and sometimes they don't. I don't think anyone has ever said anything kind about the shumai, for example.

            3. re: PinchOfSalt

              i persist in my basically ill-informed opinion that gitlo's is where it's at for dim sum in boston. with the qualification that i have not been to the china pearl in quincy. though i find the one in chinatown totally average.

              i actually prefer that proportion of dough to filling in the buns. i think that's just about right. (i find it too cloying when they are stuffed full.) the handmade noodles are fantastic, and the flavor and texture of the dumplings is also just where it's supposed to be. i was not too thrilled with the fried turnip cake with XO sauce, it was too much like tater tots. that's where i prefer the more traditional prep. their cannonballs (the sesame balls w/lotus paste) were lightly fried, w/a more delicate filling than i've had at the other dim sum places.

              no, you can't get as many things as you can at a bigger place. but i guess that doesn't bother me too much, since i like what they do have quite a bit.

              but i agree with you at least this far. it's not a "traditional" dim sum place, in that they do slight variations on traditional preparations. i guess i like that.

            4. Finally satisfied my Gitlo's craving last night. We ordered the cantonese dumplings, crispy daikon cakes with XO sauce, Char Siu Bao, chicken satay noodles and green beans with XO sauce. Yes, three of the 5 items we ordered had XO sauce. I can't get enough of it.

              The dumplings may have actually been the chicken by accident but were still good. They were different then I remember them. This time they were fried and not steamed. We didn't specify when we ordered. These were tasty but they didn't blow my mind like the one's I had before.

              The daikon cakes were as glorious as ever and I still enjoyed the Char Siu Bao. I know not all posters are a fan but I like them to round out my meal.

              The chicken satay noodles were ok but not nearly as good as the first two times I got them. they are a little oilier and the texture of the noodle itself is a little less firm.

              The green beans were a new menu item for me. They were just a pile of tender crisp seared green beans will a healthy dose of XO sauce on top. I liked it though because I usually have a veggieless meal here. The green beans were fresh too.

              It was nice to see that Gitlo's has hit its stride as far as service. Everything arrived pretty quickly and piping hot. Mostly I was impressed because there was a very large party taking up the whole left hand side of the restaurant (15 people?) and we still got served quickly and the large party seemed to be getting good service too.

              BTW its Gitlo's bring your own booze now?

              5 Replies
              1. re: heypielady

                "BTW [is] Gitlo's bring your own booze now?"

                I very much doubt it - BYO is illegal in Boston, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

                1. re: heypielady

                  I have gotten the Cantonese dumplings probably 10X at Gitlo's and they have always been pan-fried and delicious, never once were they steamed.

                  1. re: bakerboyz

                    Maybe they were more fried than usual. I'm not sure what it was but something was different. They were less delicate than the one's I had there before. Like I said though.. still delicious.

                    1. re: bakerboyz

                      I'm pretty sure on Foodler you can specify either.

                      1. re: jgg13

                        Yep, they asked us which way we wanted them.

                  2. Noticed the Gitlo's banner/sign that used to cover the previous V. Majestic sign, was down this morning on my way to work. Anyone know what's up?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Taralli

                      The banner seems to have fallen down about a month ago and just not been replaced.

                    2. After reading all the rave reviews of Gitlo, DC & I decided to give it a try today.

                      Short version of it: we never made it.

                      i checked multiple websites which listed the opening time as 11am. I didn't bring the address with me but I know which block it is located, and I remembered the window has a sign saying "DIM SUM". We arrived at 11:05am and parked right in front of that block. However, I didn't see anything open, and I wasn't 100% sure which storefront was Gilto, as most storefronts had the steel gate down so you can't see any window displays. And it didn't help that its plastic banner had fallen off over a month ago and was never replaced.

                      We wandered up and down Brighton Ave for another 5 minutes searching for it, for I thought perhaps I remembered its location wrong. We walked past the storefronts again twice and nothing was open. Finally we gave up and went to Le's for some pho.

                      When we returned to our car at 12noon, we saw Gitlo open, and my car was parked right in front of the store. The window says: open 11am. Needless to say, I was annoyed. If it's supposed to open at 11am, it should be open at 11am, not 11:15 or 11:30. Not sure if I'm going to bother again.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: y2000k

                        It can be tough for a small shop like Gitlo's to keep up with all the websites that scrape the web for restaurant information and then post it up especially when they don't have their own website that posts authoritative information on their opening hours. But to your credit, even their Facebook fan page says they open at 11am though it doesn't seem to have had any activity since mid October 2008.

                        1. re: y2000k

                          coincidentally i had a similar experience when we tried to go a few months back

                          1. re: y2000k

                            You didn't miss much. I went at 11 and waited at the door while they were in the kitchen preparing to open at 11:30 - about 2 weeks ago. it was cold out and they would not let us in. When we finally did go in (we waited at the door on the strength of other CH posts - otherwise we too might have lucked out and left) we had so-so food in an atmosphere heavy with frying oil. You need to also look at more recent postings which indicate that their original chef is no longer there and the food has headed south.