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Feb 14, 2010 05:46 PM

Mother Dumplings - new location

Wow..what a great large space.
Im so happy for them.
Still have hiccups though.
I went today (sunday) at 4 p.m.....still lots of people in line, and they were out of my fav. dumpling.
(#14..boiled veg. dumpling). Ordered the soup to go and I was a happy camper.
Hoping to return when they have more staff and more dumplings. LOL

Mother's Dumplings
421 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON , CA

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  1. NEW ADDRESS - Mother's Dumplings
    421 Spadina Ave. (just south of College)

    Phone: 416-217-2008
    Monday - Sunday: 11:00 am - 10:30 pm

    The steamed vegetarian dumplings (bok choi, mushrooms, tofu) are plump, hearty and mm-mm-good. Been longing to try the other variety of steamed vegetarian dumplings (melon, tofu, vegetable noodle)... but they weren't available the last time I went. Boo-urns.

    2 Replies
    1. re: shelleypascual

      So ... no more Huron Street? Just one location and it's at 421 Spadina?

    2. I have been going to Mother Dumplings for years. Long before it became everyone's Dumpling Darling. I really like their product especially the bountiful fillings and whole wheat dough.

      I have a probleme wtih the place as of the last year I've been going. Domestic Goddess brushed upon it in her original post..... They run out of many items on their menu. It is a consistant problem. The fist time it happened it was a Friday night at their old small location on Huron. I was dissapointed because they even ran out of my second favorite too. I wanted to leave but decided to make the best of it and went with something I would never ordinarily order. Luckily I (sort of) liked it. I have returned twice since then and they simply didn't have what is offerred on their menu. One time was in the middle of the day and it was not busy. Don't get me wrong, I love the place and wish them all the best but it is frustrating to always be let down when you look forward to your favorite kind of dumpling all day to be told "We sold Out". Even worse for the vegetarians in the place who went from having 2-3 options to 1 (the bitter melon option always seeming to be left for them!).

      If the owners are reading this please get it together! Hire more chefs and buy more ingredients or nix your current permenent menu and create a daily menu board that can be changed as needed to avoid dissapointment. I don't think they can keep up with their demand right now which is great and all but they are going to lose one long time customer. One more chance is all they have with me.

      I will be reluctantly going to the new location.

      15 Replies
      1. re: food face

        Had to smile reading this as friends of mine went last night and commented that by 7pm half of the menu was sold out, and at 8pm they put a sign on the door saying they weren't letting anyone else in (I assume due to the dumpling shortage). Apparently this sign went up beside a 'help wanted' one, so perhaps things will get better!

        1. re: tinybites

          Good to know they've a new location.
          Can't wait to check it out!

          (Hopefully during off hours)

        2. re: food face

          We went this morning shortly after opening. Group of 6. We walked in and got a table right away as the place was half empty that early. The space is definitely much nicer and quieter than the last one, but the food availability (not quality) is really an issue.

          When we arrived we were given an ordering menu with more than half the items crossed off. No green onion pancakes and no steamed buns. Really very disappointing. But we ordered from what was left and they were able to get us the pancakes after about 30minutes, after we asked.

          We also noticed that after about 12:30pm, suddenly there were steamed buns appearing for other tables. Quite annoying since we were already plenty stuffed by then. I think that item availability varies during the day based on factors I have yet to figure out.

          We then noticed that the salads we'd ordered had not arrived after an hour. We asked a server so we could cancel them since we were so full. We were then told they did not have the salads today. They could/should have easily informed us of that when we ordered them, or before we asked - especially considering the fact that the place was mostly empty and staff not at all overwhelmed when we arrived and ordered.

          There is a "help wanted" sign on the door - so obviously they are trying to staff to meet the demands, but perhaps they jumped the gun moving until they were truly ready.

          When we left at 1pm there was a line formed, waiting for tables. "Off hours" me thinks, is before 12:30pm - but your menu selections will suffer.

          1. re: kayehm

            MD has always had issues with availability. While slightly annoying I always felt that at least they weren't overproducing and serving garbage, and I've been patient with them and forgiving, especially since there was always something fantastic still available.

            However, this sounds very different. If anyone reading from MD reads these comments I'd encourage them to sort out their (production??) issues as soon as they can. It sounds as though things are getting a little out of hand. Even for them.

            1. re: kayehm

              Just got back from a visit to Mother's Dumplings.

              I had a pretty disappointing experience. My family of 4 arrived at 6:15. With 3 waiters dealing with about 10 tables, the service was horrid. While we were waiting, there were two tables that were left for more than 15 minutes waiting to be cleared. One of the waitresses, was just casually walking from place to place as if she didn't care at all.

              Once we were seated, the waitress left us for some time before we asked to see the menu. The menu and order form arrived with half the items crossed off. Luckily all of the vegetarian dumplings were still available. After being ignored by the waitress several times, I went up and handed the order form near the kitchen.

              The dishes came out extremely slowly, with the last plate taking over 45 minutes to arrive, after the previous dish. We also had one more dish, but after inquiring several times about the status of the dish, the front of the house came and told us that all our dishes had been marked as completed already, so we just gave up, paid the bill and left. Another issue was that they never gave us dipping dishes, after asking two of the waitstaff, we finally asked the third one (the only one who actually seemed like she knew what she was doing) and she explained to us that they ran out and were currently washing them. The final incident, that just made me completely go WTF was the waitress that didn't seem to care, asked some kid customers at a table to move the chairs back to the rear of the restaurant when they finished their meal, ridiculous...

              In all fairness though, the food was delicious, and everyone at my table enjoyed the food. This was my first time at the restaurant and as much as I really liked the food, as much as I want to give them a second chance, I'm not sure if I'd go back...

              Mother's Dumplings
              421 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON , CA

              1. re: h3llbringer

                For a much better alternative, do give 'Norther Dumpling House' inside Time Square on Hwy#7, Richmond Hill a try.
                The dinner I had there last week was nothing short of superb and value for money. The pot stickers with tons of flavourful broth inside the dumplings were grease-less and have perfectly crisp bottom. The Xiao Lun Bao with its ultra thin skin and wonderful soup filling was so good that my wife commented that they were almost as good as the ones she had at Shanghai's Ding Tai Fung a few weeks ago!!! That's quite a compliment! The stirred fry lamb with scallions and leeks was extremely delicious. Lastly, the sliced pork with spicy garlic pepper sauce and shredded cilantro appetizer is a dish not to be missed! Very very addictive!

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  That sounds delicious, especially the lamg and xio lun bao dishes! Too bad I'm never in the area and don't have a car. Any recommendations on other options accessible by TTC? I used to love Mother's Dumplings as well but for the last while, ran into the same shortage issues at the Huron location. Can't imagine how crazy things are now that they've moved to Spadina.

                  1. re: LTL

                    Northern Dumpling House is quite delicious, but for dumplings I prefer MD.

                    Let's just hope MD's gets their act together. Since the move it sounds like they are totally lost.

                    1. re: magic

                      I guess the trick to eating successfully in any of these 'dumpling houses', with dozens of dumpling varietals, is to know their forte and order accordingly. MO though good, but I have had a few of their dumplings that were simply not up to snuff! The raw pan fried pot sticker bun for one has too dry a filling IMO.

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        That's fair enough. I have not had that pot sticker bun. Both places do many things very well I think.

                      2. re: magic

                        As opposed to "lost," I'd suggest overwhelmed by the response to the Toronto Star Food feature, a new incomplete kitchen, inexperienced new staff, and unexpected crowds. Some slack is do, no?

                        1. re: Dimbulb

                          I'm not sure I understand this idea of cutting restaurants "slack" Dimbulb? I don't expect perfection but I do hope for an experience that's less stressful and/or frustrating than cooking a meal at home. Furthermore, if you have been to the old restaurant, it was clear that they are a popular place. These crowds are not "unexpected" at all especially with them openning around the Chinese New Year. I would agree that they are overwhelmed that's very apparent. I really hope they smooth this out as I think that the owner and her core staff are lovely and hard working.

                          In the mean time I will go to The Dumpling House at Dundas as Spadina. Their spinach dumpings are out of this world and I like them just as much as MD's. Tastier well seasoned fillings. Their traditional way of panfrying them also gives them amazing texture.

                          1. re: food face

                            This isn't exactly a new problem w/ them, I've experienced things running out there, for several years now.

                            Yes I like the place, but having your favourite item run out on repeated visits dampens my enthusiasm for returning. Looks like it's even worst now. I'll wait a while for the kinks to be worked out before attempting.

                          2. re: Dimbulb

                            Don't get me wrong, I love MD. I was a regular at the Huron location. I WANT them to do well! And although I must stress I haven’t been to the new location it sounds as though they are definitely not prepared and yes, overwhelmed. But if I were one of the above posters who had a horrible experience, and had to pay for it, I would be rightfully miffed. Slack would probably not something I'd be interested in doling out, no. And I'm a fan of the place!

                            I want them to do well. But it does sound like the need to quickly re-evaluate how they are organizing their entire operation, front and back of house. I mean, I think that is pretty obvious. I'm sure if they do, these growing pains will pass. Until then, it's up to them to install change. Not up to paying customers to exhibit unending patience when faced with bad service and consistently sold-out menu items.

                            1. re: magic

                              that's pretty much the same feeling i get. i think their operations need so much help that it's not about fixing kinks but actually overhauling their whole system. it doesn't appear like they're using any experienced servers and not even stock piling enough frozen dumplings to satisfy the needs. even in the smaller space on huron they were constantly running out of items (early evening) and now somehow they're going to keep up when they've effectively tripled their space? big changes need to come about.

              2. I stopped by for lunch, and I think it's safe to say that the new space is about 3x more then they're currently equipped to handle. The food was good, but the service was stressed out to say the least. Not rude at all, just frantic as they tried to meet orders. There were two people working the dumpling station, two cooking, a back room prep and two waitresses, with everyone firing on all cylinders. Half the menu was unavailable, which was probably a good idea with the limited staff.

                I think that even someone to bus tables will make a huge difference, so I'm hoping that their Help Wanted sign nabs them a couple more staff members soon. I'd really like to eat something from the other half of the menu.

                1. After their introduction in the Toronto Star , I decided to call and order their frozen dumplings for Chinese New Year. To my dismay, they were not selling them anymore as afraid there would be none left for the restaurant patrons. So I asked if I could order the large portions of the the cooked dumplings and was denied. I was very disappointed.
                  On another occasion,.I decided to try the restaurant by getting take out . The "famous" Dalu noodles was nothing to rave about. The onion pancake was different as it was stacked and thick but couldnt really taste the green onion flavor. The pork and cabbage dumplings was fine. Maybe the taste differs a bit when you get it take out esp on the dumpling items.
                  While I was there, I notice that people were asking about when they were getting their dishes and some where told that certain items were sold out.
                  I want to try again but need them to bring in more food and better ( quicker) service.

                  1. I tried to go for lunch at the new location yesterday but there was a sign on the door that said "closed - sorry". I guess they are still having operational issues. Hope they are able to hire more staff soon. I guess I'll wait a bit before going back again.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: always_eating

                      Pity. They really had good food. Hopefully things work out!

                      1. re: jennjen18

                        I went with a friend visiting from San Diego for dinner tonite (Thursday at 7:30 pm.).
                        Naturally...a line up.
                        We cut threw the line and decided to get take out. Service was great and in no time we were enjoying our dumplings and wonton soup in the car. We didnt care.
                        As we were waiting we noticed the 12 tables of TWO - sitting at tables for FOUR.
                        What a shame.
                        Plus we noticed the huge amount of space at the back of the restaurant that is currently under utilized.
                        No question - they are in need of a lot more staff and perhaps a better layout of tables.

                        1. re: domesticgodess

                          One thing that may be confusing people is that although the space is way bigger, the seating has only gone from 23 (Huron St.) to 39 (Spadina). They can't currently afford to be licenced for more than 39 seats (need more washrooms and to comply with other city regulations) -- even though there seems to be a huge amount of wasted space at the back and an inefficient table layout. I, too, hope they rise to the new location, get more staff and return to focusing on great dumplings (including frozen)

                          1. re: Gritseeker

                            In the meantime I'd lke to take an opportunity to give props to another mom and pop's shop dumpling house that rivals (and in my opinion) exceeds Mothers Dumplings. It's called "Dumpling King". Bok Choi has done some outstanding detailed pictoral reviews of this place. I just went today and took some hounds who all agreed that the food is outstanding. Small well made dumplings with lots of love and seasoning. More flavorful and liberal use of chives and onions. I usally don't enjoy deep fried dumplings but Dumpling King's Beef and Onion ones where AMAZING!. The dough is so fresh and tender with the perfect balance of chew and crisp. Finely ground beef and onions. It was so lovely with the soy/chilli sauce. The pork/nappa is my usual stand by. The owner is sweet and caring and will see you out waving and thanking you. No waiting, no dissapointments. Worth the drive to Yonge and Finch.


                            Dumpling King15 Northtown Way, North York, Ontario

                            1. re: food face

                              Do you know if they use MSG? Part of the allure of Mother's Dumplings for me is that they do not.

                              1. re: vorpal

                                I haven't asked and don't know for sure if they use MSG but I really don't think they add it. My usual insane urge to nap after eating it doesn't happen with any of the dumpling houses I've eaten at including Mothers Dumplings.

                              2. re: food face

                                +1 for Dumpling King! The dumpling wrappings are very nice. We enjoyed the dumplings we had and the owner is truly very nice and he did say goodbye to everyone! Will go back :)

                                Dumpling King
                                15 Northtown Way, Toronto, ON , CA