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Feb 6, 2009 10:19 AM

The Mystery of Dean Sin World, and our forced alternate at Qingdao Bread Food (also deconstructed)

First of all, the name..... through a bit of convoluted Mandarin translation and transliteration, "Dean Sin" actually means Dim Sum. So the name really means Dim Sum World. Now you know.

Slogged through 2+ hours of rain soaked traffic to get there for dinner last night and found the place locked up tigher than a steamed xiao long bao. This was around 7:30-8:00pm.

What's the deal? Have they closed down again for another holiday, or do they just shut down early? Or have they, *gasp* closed for good?

We wound up crossing the street to experience the similarly oddly named Qingdao Bread Food. Again, this is a poorly translated Chinese.... essentially the character for "bread" more accurately represents "flour" or "noodles". (This is an extremely rough explanation, simplified for Chowhounds-at-large, so Mandarin speaking Chowhounds, please bear with my clunky explanation.) In addition, in China, a restaurant called "noodle house" would be a real mom and pop operation (which this place is) and a place with proper servers, etc. would be called a restaurant ("fan dian"). A more elegant translation of the Mandarin would be "Qingdao Noodle House", not "Qingdao Bread Food". OK, moving on.

So, our first impression.... as we walked through the door, we were struck with an intense familiarity. It felt like we were back in China. Seriously. This place has the look, feel and smell of a typical mainland Chinese restaurant. The odd odor of spices or cleaning chemicals. The baby crib in the corner with the wet naps. The buzz-cut owner with the would would not be out of place at all standing at the Qingdao train station with his shirt hiked up exposing his belly. This was a little slice of the mainland right here on Garfield.

We ordered the much-praised sole with leek dumplings, the noodles with meat in brown sauce, and the tofu appetizer. The fish dumplings were definitely the standout dish. Really juicy, bursting with flavor. The skins were a little soft to our taste, but still adequate. They are served with a sort of pureed garlic paste. Delicious.

The tofu appetizer was standard, sliced pressed tofu with peppers. An adequate preparation of this standard appetizer dish.

The noodles with meat in brown sauce was merely ok. The noodles themselves were great, but my Lovely Tasting Assistant felt the meat tasted "old" and the sauce lacked the punch of flavor that it really needed. A dollup of chile paste helped improve this dish tremendously.

One item I saw but didn't try are the potsickers..... the kind where they make the slurry which browns and crisps up, and allows the dumplings to slide out of the pan like one pancake. When you break apart the dumplings, each one has a potato chip-like halo of crispiness around the edge. We'll definitely have to return to try this one.

Total bill with tip, $21. We'll return.

So, what's up with Dean Sin World?

Mr Taster

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Hey Mr. Taster, I had the same exact frustration just like you. They do close early. On weekdays, they close at 7:30 if there is no customer after 7. The owner told me that she sometimes stay late if customer streaming in. My last visit there (which I came in at 7:10pm), she accommodated us until 9pm. Very rare because that plaza is really dead on a weekday even with Giang Nan next door.

      Weekend is worse because they close a lot earlier. It's best if you go on Saturday afternoon and not night. But hang in there, you'll catch Dean Sin World one of these days. FYI, they closed on Sunday.

      By the way, I do enjoy Qing Dao Bread Food also. I did a review on both Dean Sin World and QDBF for my blog. Definitely worth trekking to Garfield/Garvey for these two places.

      1. Dean Sin is mainly a lunch joint, y'all....

        1. The potstickers-with-crunchy-halo are, indeed, freakin' GREAT. My friend immediately started taking pictures, and the waitress laughed and told us this was a very common reaction.

          There's a chicken-n-waffle like trip through crunchy/soft/juicy - but lacier....

          3 Replies
          1. re: Thi N.

            Yeah, I gotta go back for a 3rd trip soon...

            1. re: Thi N.

              Hey Thi, it's a common reaction because a group of foodies and I went to the place last week. They had pan fried bao that afternoon and four of us busted out the cameras. They were laughing pretty hard on our needs to take those photos of dumplings and bao.

              The potstickers were good and the bao were awesome.

              1. re: Pepsi Monster

                Their food can be quite photogenic. I, too, broke out the camera, as did Mrs. J.L.