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May 30, 2009 08:07 PM

Denian's -- Chinese Bao.zi and Bubble Tea Shop in Lexington

Saw a new Chinese bun (bao.zi) shop opening in Lexington, at the intersection of Waltham Street and Marrett Road.

It's evidently not open yet, but the owner's son told me today that they plan to open sometime next week!

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  1. Will it have giant (softball sized) steamed vegetable buns (tsai-bao)? I'm thinking like the ones at New Green Bo (NYC) which I can't seem to find around Boston

    2 Replies
    1. re: barleywino

      Not pure vegetable, but you can find cai rou bao/choi yook bau (meat & veggie) pretty readily in a lot of the chinese bakeries here (you may need to ask for it) and they do come softball sized.

      1. re: kobuta

        thanks, i have seen those mixed ones--if you do happen to see the pure vegetable ones, please post here!

    2. Thanks for the heads up. I'm excited to see what they have!

      1. Has anyone been yet? I found a website for the place and I'm curious if it's any good.

        4 Replies
        1. re: taterjane

          Not yet but I drove by last week and it looked busy! The website is a bit buggy right now.

          1. re: rscolao

            Update: I tried it out yesterday. Very simple menu, pick how many steamed dumplings and what filling. There are a few other dishes (salady things). We tried chicken, pork, beef, sweet bean. They were good, clearly homemade, perhaps nothing to travel across the state for, but a nice stop if you're close by. Also had dinner combos on the menu-- I think aimed at takeout. Would love to hear other opinions! I had a black tea bubble tea, which was good. They gave me a free lemon iced tea because they were experimenting with the recipe, also quite tasty. Prices were reasonable. They have a simple set-up with a bar height table with stools, and two comfy benches; the benches look like they're for waiting, but I sat there because I had my toddler in tow, and we shared dumplings while he sat in his stroller.

            I have to say the dumplings were not hot enough, but I didn't say anything because my son was eating them too, and I didn't want them too hot either.

            So all in all, I'll go again, might get attached, might not. A pleasant place.

            Staffperson and owner were very friendly, place was clean (and stylish). No regular tables or anything like that.

            There's a pastry shop next door- royal pastry. Kind of curious if they're any good, could make a fun lunch combo!

            1. re: rscolao

              Thanks for the report. When you say "dumplings", did you actually mean "buns"? They mean different foods to me.

              1. re: y2000k

                They mostly do buns, though you can get potstickers as well. I picked up 3 pork buns last night - delicious.

        2. We did take out of all the buns without nuts (allergic) and also got the potstickers and scallion pancake. No sauce came with their food. But the food was very good. The buns were very tasty and obviously homemade. My favorite being the green veggie. The buns themselves are on the smaller side. But they are definitely buns and not dumplings. The potstickers are a must get. Flavorful with thin skins. I would say it didn't need a sauce. But we did try to get other things. They were out of the dan dan noodles. Apparently I got the last black tea with bubbles. Fantastic. The bubbles were nice and soft.

          I hope this place is successful! Thanks for letting us know about this place!

          5 Replies
          1. re: makonna

            Is this place mainly for take-out? Or does it have tabletops for eat-in? how many tables if there are any? Thanks.

            1. re: y2000k

              quoting above: "They have a simple set-up with a bar height table with stools, and two comfy benches; the benches look like they're for waiting, but I sat there because I had my toddler in tow, and we shared dumplings while he sat in his stroller."

              Looking forward to trying it...

            2. re: makonna

              They have two sauces - ginger soy and sichuan. You have to ask, though.

              1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                My husband did ask. They said they are a mistake in the menu. So maybe they've removed it.

                1. re: makonna

                  That's weird - we ate there on Thursday night and got the ginger sauce. I wouldn't doubt if they're working through some first-opening menu and training issues.

            3. So I finally made it there myself yesterday.

              It's a nice little storefront with a clever entrance. Very elegant, clean interior. You order from a counter, and currently there is a wide counter on one side with three chairs and also a couple seats at the window.. It looks like there is room for a couple tables, although there are none there, yet anyway.

              I had three buns, a scallion pancake, and a bubble tea for lunch, which was just perfect. The chicken bun in particular was excellent --- the chicken was almost ground, with a great texture and a bit of "kick" to it. The green vegetable bun I found a little disappointing, with a filling that didn't really click and a top that was a little too doughy. The scallion pancake was thin, crisp and very good, although not quite as strongly scallion flavored as I prefer.

              I liked everything so much that I ordered a dozen more buns to take out. Those who ate them really liked the pork and chicken buns, and confirmed my lackluster assessment of the green vegetable buns. They were out the carrot buns, which I wanted to try. I also tried the red bean and taro paste buns --- I liked them both, although the taro paste buns in particular are exceptionally good. I had some cold buns on the train later that day and they were almost as good cold.

              Peach bubble tea was fine, with especially well textured boba. The bubble tea is made from a powder though.

              There were also some noodles, soups and salads on the menu.

              All in all, a very promising start! It's a bit far away for me, although I hope to return.

              315 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA

              3 Replies
              1. re: lipoff

                Thanks for the update, lipoff! Can you describe the taro paste buns and why they were exceptional? I've tried in them in a couple of other spots and always found them a little too heavy and sticky. Are they worth another try at Denian's?

                Shame about the powdered bubble tea flavors. I noticed they didn't have a durian, either. I'm just happy that we have a spot in Lexington now to get buns and noodles, so I'm not complaining!

                1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                  This might be a matter of taste, but I do love the flavour of taro. In particular their bun had a really deep taro flavor, and a terrific texture that I can only describe as "lip smacking". There was nothing wrong their bean paste bun, but it didn't have the same mouth feel or strong flavor. Incidentally, the best sweet red bean bun I've found has been the giant red bean buns at Wang's in Somerville.

                  I agree with some other posters that the chicken is (by far) the best flavored that I have tried so far, and that the filling to dough ratio varies a bit but tends to be a little low. Everything there is very northern style (lu3 cai4), which happens to be my preference. The bubble tea isn't anything special, but it's good, and the tapioca pearls themselves were a fine texture, which isn't easy to ensure. I'm looking forward to trying it out again.

                2. re: lipoff

                  I went yesterday and got four different buns and a scallion pancake.
                  The fillings, chicken, beef, carrot and green veg, were OK, but pretty scant for the amount of dough.
                  The scallion pancake, cooked to order, was very tasty.
                  I asked for and received the ginger sauce.