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Winsor Dim Sum Café

Went to the Winsor Dim Sum Café for Dim Sum this weekend. And wow. Nearly everything, from start to finish, was terrific.

I'm always saddened when people insist on going to a Dim Sum Palace, like China Pearl or Hei La Moon, for Dim Sum, as if crowds, carts, and mediocre food are what makes Dim Sum authentic.

The Winsor Dim Sum Café menu is primarily Cantonese, but definitely has many Shanghainese dishes tucked in there, along with a small section of Northern style dishes. Normally, I prefer the latter, but as I was with a group from Hong Kong and Japan, we stayed mostly on the Cantonese side.

I won't list everything that we had, but did want to mention some of the highlights.

Beef tripe with turnip (radish?) was excellent --- a hearty stew that seemed just right for a cold and rainy morning. The nian2 gao1 (rice cakes) were just terrific, and one of the most authentically Shanghai dishes I've had in the US. Much better than Evergreen Shanghai's version in New York, and a more typically Shanghainese style (albeit not quite as good) as Shanghai Gate's in Allston. The chicken bun was moist, tender, and flavorful. Stuffed eggplant wouldn't have been out of place as a $12 appetizer at an Italian restaurant (it was even plated artfully!) The fried silverfish had a nice texture (but no taste) by themselves, but were served on a bed of shredded lettuce and a fiery hot mixture of chopped jalapeño peppers and chopped chives. We ate that one down to the bare plate and would have ordered another dish if we weren't already so stuffed. Red bean stuffed sesame balls were remarkably not oily. Lotus seed paste buns were moist and pliant.

The various dumplings we ordered were nothing special, although nothing bad. Same goes for the scallion pancake. The plain congee was a little tasteless (but then again, when is plain congee not tasteless?), but the sweet tofu (dou4 huar1) was also disappointingly tasteless, although it had a beautiful silken texture. The stuffed radish cakes were flaky but too coarse --- there are many varieties of these radish cakes, and I think next time I should order differently, if I can remember exactly which one we ordered this time.

And the tea was good! One of our party was vegetarian, and this is a good place for a vegetarian.

Service was surprisingly indifferent even though we were speaking Cantonese, but then again they let us linger for two and a half hours on a Sunday without complaint. There was a short wait when we arrived at 12:30, but no one seemed to be waiting at all by 1 PM. Maybe the heavy rain kept people home though.

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  1. I really like the food here, including some of the dishes you mentioned.

    Pan Fried Rice Noodle with XO Sauce is excellent.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jolyon Helterman

      Really like Windsor and thank the 'Hounds for pointing me in their direction. As I try new items on their menu, I also always augment with the more standard items that I know I enjoy. On my last visit, I asked for an order of the House Pan Fried Pork Dumplings and was told they aren't making those anymore. Perhaps I misunderstood? I would suspect that this item would be popular for them (I know I liked their preparation)

    2. Quick question on Winsor's size -- it be big enough to take a party of 6-8 on a weekend at brunchtime? Or is that just asking to wait all day? I've had good luck being seated reasonably soon at Hei La Moon with a group that size, but obviously it's a waaaay bigger space than Winsor.

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      Hei La Moon
      88 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

      6 Replies
      1. re: secondbreakfast

        You might have a bit of a wait. I have seen the weekend wait be 10 minutes, or 45 so...

        1. re: secondbreakfast

          they take "reservations" but it's like Legal Seafood, it just means that you get the first available table after you walk in

            1. re: secondbreakfast

              I got takeout today about noon and every table was taken. No one waiting.

            2. re: secondbreakfast

              You can try calling ahead to let them know that you're coming with a relatively large party. That way, they can try to keep a big table open, rather than having multiple parties share one. Also, try to get there by 10:30am if possible. It tends to be busiest between 11am-2pm on the weekends.

              1. re: secondbreakfast

                Hey thanks (belatedly) for this advice... in the end, we showed up with 8 people around noon and didn't wait more than 15 minutes. Food was a lot of fun, including a tripe dish that I really liked, though not everyone at the table was willing to give that one a shot.

              2. Winsor, Peach Farm and New Jumbo Seafood are my favorite places in Chinatown. Taiwan Cafe and Wai Wai are good also.

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                Peach Farm
                4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

                Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
                7 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                2 Replies
                1. re: Guinness02122

                  Try Best Little Restaurant for a totally different and excellent cuisine. New Shanghai is also worth a whirl.

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                  New Shanghai Restaurant
                  21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                2. Really like Windsor and thank the 'Hounds for pointing me in their direction. As I try new items on their menu, I also always augment with the more standard items that I know I enjoy. On my last visit, I asked for an order of the House Pan Fried Pork Dumplings and was told they aren't making those anymore. Perhaps I misunderstood? I would suspect that this item would be popular for them (I know I liked their preparation)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mikeinboston

                    that would be too bad-- one of their better items imo!

                  2. We did not enjoy our meal there.

                    When we first walked in there was a strong aroma of cleaning solution, we weren't detered by it since our hunger won out.

                    We had ordered shui mai, lotus wrapped chicken rice, meat filled fried dumpling, rice noodles wrapped around minced beef, rice noodles wrapped around fried dough cruller, and I'd ordered the veggie steamed dumpling but accident when I wanted the item below. Told them that but the lady walked away and never return nor a I saw her and had to ask another server for our bill. The service was so lacking in everything. I had spoken to everyone in Cantonese even when they tried to speak english to us.

                    Shui mai was ok, the lotus chicken/rice portions was very small, the fried dumpling had the same filling as the lotus rice, both rice noodles were ok but the fried dough was just cooked too long and was hard and greasy, All these dishes were lacking in flavor.

                    My accident order of the veggie dumpling was a disappointment also-it was full of bamboo shoots and overseasoned with white pepper.