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New Dumpling House in Sunset Park, 53rd just off Eighth

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hhhippo Aug 25, 2009 02:55 AM

I'm not sure what the exact name of the place is--the sign above the storefront features three Chinese characters and the words "Dumpling House," though menus or business cards inside read "XSG Dumpling House." Anyway, it's on 53rd St. just east of Eighth Ave. I haven't noticed any other postings on this place; perhaps I'm the first.

I tried the fried dumplings this past weekend and thought they were fantastic--some of the best dollar dumplings I've had anywhere in the city. (In the same neighborhood, I've had dumplings at Kai Feng Fu and Family. In Manhattan, I've tried the usual suspects on Eldridge, Allen, Mosco, Mulberry, etc. Sadly, I don't make it out to Flushing too often.) I will happily eat potstickers from all of these places, but I thought the ones here were particularly good.

They were shaped relatively long and narrow, with a thin and pliant skin, fried just golden crisp on the bottom, housing a flavorful and juicy pork-and-chive filling. An order of four dumplings costs a dollar. With their more delicately textured skin, they seemed a little like a hybrid between Japanese gyoza and the more robust guo tie more common in these dollar-dumpling joints.

Also on the menu, shao bing sandwiches. Rather than the scallions and/or cilantro toppings I'm accustomed to, their version features salad-like toppings: shredded lettuce and carrot, and sliced cucumber, I believe. The top bun was doused with a tart sauce. I tried the beef sandwich on one visit; it was decent, but I could have used a few more slices of beef. The egg and ham I had on another occasion was pretty tasty--not gourmet, by any means--kind of like a Chinese Egg McMuffin.

I've had better niu rou shao bing (I'm still making my mind up about these alternate toppings), but the most notable thing about the sesame pancakes they used here was how fresh they were. Both times I got sandwiches, the pancakes were still warm and steamy; the first time, I actually watched them griddle one right up to order.

Has anyone else tried this place? It's just a few doors down (east) from the busy Eighth Ave. corridor (near the corner where Kokola Cafe is). It's a notch or two cleaner and brighter feeling than yout typical dumpling house (if you care about that sort of thing). I wonder if anybody likes the dumplings as much as I did, and I wonder what others' opinions on the shao bing might be. The proprietors told me it's only been around for a month or two, so maybe people haven't noticed it yet.

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    FrankieLymon Aug 25, 2009 12:15 PM

    thanks for the tip I'd like to check it out. when im in sunset park my go-to asian spots are yunnan flavor snack lucky eight and the ba xuyen

    1. missmasala Aug 25, 2009 01:19 PM

      Wow, that place sounds great! do you know how late they're open?

      1. h
        hhhippo Aug 25, 2009 02:50 PM

        FrankieLymon: Ba Xuyen is one of my favorites as well. I need to try more at Yun Nan. The cold noodles I had recently were O.K., but I think I prefer more straight-up fiery dan dan noodles for that kind of thing. I'm planning on sampling more of their noodle soups when the weather cools.

        missmasala: That's another positive I forgot to mention: they seem to stay open relatively late for a dumpling place--I think I was there almost at 9 one night (but I don't remember exactly).

        If you folks check it out, I'd be interested to hear your opinions.

        6 Replies
        1. re: hhhippo
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          FrankieLymon Aug 25, 2009 05:37 PM

          try the #13 at yunnan

          1. re: hhhippo
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            noisejoke Aug 25, 2009 05:45 PM

            Gee whiz, I love the cold noodle at YFS. I don't think it's supposed to be anything like dan dan noodles, I wouldn't make the comparison.

            Isn't this new dumpling place an outpost of Prosperity Dumpling?

            1. re: noisejoke
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              hhhippo Aug 25, 2009 06:46 PM

              I guess I meant the very broad category of soft noodles bathed in a simple, flavorful, spicy sauce with bits of ground meat. When I feel like that, I usually opt for dan dan noodles. I mean, I know that the Yun Nan cold noodles are supposed to be a different dish and flavor profile. In the same way, I typically go for ramen over hand-pull noodles, but occasionally feel like branching out. Sort of like comparing apples to pears, rather than apples to oranges, maybe?

              I don't know if they're connected to Prosperity, but I wouldn't be surprised, since that's probably my current favorite in Manhattan Chinatown (though from my few visits, I think the ones at this place in Sunset Park are perhaps a little more delicate).

              1. re: hhhippo
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                BlueJay Aug 25, 2009 10:35 PM

                As I understand it, a Prosperity Dumpling is slated to open at 44th and 8th within the next week or so:

                http://www.eatingintranslation.com/20...

                1. re: hhhippo
                  missmasala Aug 25, 2009 11:11 PM

                  to me, the best thing at yunnan is their hot and sour wontons. (is that #13?) they are delicious and incredibly addictive. i'm craving some right now.
                  I agree that their noodle dishes are not my favs. not bad, but like you if i'm craving noodles in sauce i would go for dan dan, and if i'm craving noodles in soup i would go for the handpulled over the ones at yunnan.

                  1. re: missmasala
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                    noisejoke Aug 26, 2009 07:25 AM

                    Thanks, BlueJay. Yes, MM, the hot and sour wontons are amazing. My wife's favorite. As far as the noodles go we consider them a completely different experience than dan dan or handpull, or Japanese styles, so the more the merrier! Just depends on our mood.

            2. Bob Martinez Aug 26, 2009 09:59 AM

              Speaking of dumplings in Sunset Park, a new branch of Prosperity is due to open this month on 8th Ave. and 44th St., close to Ba Xuyen,

              http://www.eatingintranslation.com/20...

              1. h
                hhhippo Aug 26, 2009 11:17 AM

                FrankieLymon & missmasala: thanks a lot for the further recommendations at Yun Nan.

                Thanks everyone else for the information regarding the forthcoming Prosperity branch. As noisejoke writes of noodle styles, I say the same about dumpling joints: the more the merrier. Now I guess there'll be at least 3 dedicated dumpling/shao bing places along the corridor, all within a roughly ten block span! I suppose if the neighborhood can support so many relatively undistinguished bakeries, 3 good dumpling spots should be able to make it. I hope so, anyway. I wonder how the new Brooklyn Prosperity will compare to the subject of my original posting.

                4 Replies
                1. re: hhhippo
                  missmasala Sep 15, 2009 08:13 AM

                  Hi,

                  Went to sunset park for some much-needed chinese food after a whole summer away. tried the dumpling house you recommend on this post. I liked it. the dumplings are good with a nice, juicy filling. also like the sesame bing/beef thing--different from the wedges that the other places do, but still good. People running it are very friendly, too. I would go back.
                  also got the wontons from yunnan--not as good as usual, tho i often like them best after they've sat in my fridge a couple of days--so will prob be better today for lunch.
                  also tried the mapo tofu from metro cafe--interesting, but i think i prefer grand sichuan's. there's lots of ma la flavor, but it's a bit gritty from the peppercorns (never had that before) and slightly too oily, even for me. definitely more of a homestyle prep than i've had before. I would go back if i was already in sunset park, but if i'm going to go somewhere specifically for sichuan, i'll stick to flushing, bay ridge, or perhaps try bamboo pavillion in bensonhurst.

                  1. re: missmasala
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                    noisejoke Sep 15, 2009 04:12 PM

                    I like your assessment of Metro - definitely homestyle. They have their own ways there, they're very friendly and it's very easy to get in and out. Very low key meal. Great to have nearby and I would never expect miracles!
                    I'd love to hear your opinion of Bamboo Pavillion. For Brooklyn Sichuan I think it closes in on Spicy and Tasty, and Little Pepper.

                    1. re: missmasala
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                      hhhippo Sep 15, 2009 07:52 PM

                      Hey, Glad you liked it, and glad you satisfied your Chinese food cravings after your absence! Yeah, I appreciated the juiciness of the filling as well. The proprietors have been friendly when I've dropped by too.

                      Still haven't tried the wontons from Yun Nan, unfortunately. Got to visit there again soon.

                      I've been to Metro just once. I liked it, but I'm also sticking to Grand Sichuan in Bay Ridge as my go-to Sichuan place in Brooklyn. I did like the Chongqing chicken at Metro quite a bit. Definitely some strong ma la flavor with that dish too. (It's broadly along the same lines as Grand Sichuan's chicken with spicy capsicum and actually less like what GS calls Chongqing chicken.) I'd probably go back to Metro if I felt like a mix of dishes, not just specifically Sichuanese-style. I quite liked their salt-and-pepper squid appetizer, for instance, that had a peculiar addition of five-spice flavoring, if I recall correctly.

                      I went to Bamboo Pavilion a few times before GS opened and thought it was really good, too. But it's been a long time, since I'm always going down to Bay Ridge! I should really make an effort and check it out again. I do remember that the waitstaff at BP was completely accommodating and never condescended about spice level. I also remember that my litmus test--my beloved dan dan noodles--were not quite as tasty as at GS.

                      1. re: hhhippo
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                        hhhippo Oct 12, 2009 10:17 AM

                        O.K. Off the original topic I know, but I finally got around to revisiting Bamboo Pavilion after a long time of being a regular at Grand Sichuan House (in Bay Ridge). I had a really good meal there. As I had remembered, my dan dan noodles were not quite as tasty as at GS. But the ma po tofu was really delicious. Well spiced, not overly salty, and the texture of the tofu was creamy silky. We also had a spicy chicken dish. I can't remember the name, but the waitress recommended it. Lots of spice and mala flavor from a healthy dose of Sichuan peppercorns and dried red chili peppers. The chicken was fried in tasty bite-size chunks, some with bones still attached.

                        I'm such a regular at GS in Bay Ridge that I'll probably still favor them, but Bamboo Pavilion really is worth checking out as well. It's great to have two really solid Sichuanese restaurants in Brooklyn.

                  2. e
                    EricaJo Sep 27, 2009 12:42 PM

                    I tried this place the other day after your recommendation and really liked it -- had the pork and chive fried dumplings and the filling was, as advertised, moist and tasty. I bought 50 of the frozen pork and chinese vegetable which I've been eating all week. Next time, I'll have the pancakes.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: EricaJo
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                      hhhippo Oct 12, 2009 10:08 AM

                      Glad you liked it! I was inspired by your good experience to go again yesterday, and the dumplings were as good as I remembered. Delicate but still pliant and chewy wrapping, very flavorful, juicy filling. I also bought a pack of 50 frozen ones. I got the pork and chive. I have a feeling they won't last long.

                      If you try the pancakes/sandwiches, I'd be curious to hear your reaction.

                    2. chompchomp Mar 15, 2010 08:26 AM

                      My husband and I went yesterday after reading the glowing review in Serious Eats and I gotta say, most dishes suffered from a serious case of bland. We started with the fried dumplings filled with pork and chive, which were decent. Thick skin, pan fried, a bit greasy, but not bad. Then we moved to sweet and sour soup (I think that was the name), in which the vegetables tasted fresh, but the broth was thick and syrupy and for lack of a better word, tangy. We didn't finish it. Next were the pork buns...doughy, greasy and bland. The pork was about tasteless and the buns just oozed grease. Finally, we tried the sesame pancake sandwiches. I got pork and my husband had beef, and we didn't finish those either. They were about the size of McDonald's hamburgers, and featured about the worst aspects of those sandwiches. Bland, dried out meat and iceberg lettuce. Even with a shot of sriracha, they were still rather sad.
                      If it's any consolation, the total for all of this was $9.50, so the damage to the wallet was minor.

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