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Windsor Dim Sum Cafe, minor quirks and non dim sum recs?

Windsor Dim Sum is a treasure.

I have only two quirky complaints:

1) When the orders arrive fast and furious I have no idea of the relationship between what I have ordered and what I am receiving. The servers work hard and quickly and are English-challenged so their descriptions are not patient and pellucid.

2) I have not yet figured out why everything with XO sauce is twice the price of dishes without. For example, Pan Fried Turnip Cake with XO sauce is $5.95 while plain Pan Fried Turnip Cake is $2.95, I know that XO sauce is better than simple Maggi sauce, but twice the price? Or is the portion with sauce larger than the portion without?

With that out of the way, I want to turn to more serious issues. I know this is heresy, but I am willing to consider other parts of the menu that look interesting. Has anyone tried the Hot Pots. Lamb with Dried Bean Curd Thread and Braised Beef Brisket with Turnip sound particularly appealing. Are their noodle dishes anything special?

I await your pellucid responses with gratitude and patience.

(But not too much patience since I plan to eat there tomorrow night)

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  1. The XO sauce dishes are much bigger, entree-sized, dishes. XO sauce itself is also a prized ingredient. The turnip cakes are pan-fried with bean sprouts and Chinese chives, and the other versions simply replace the turnip cakes with rice cakes or rice noodles. It's very different than the plain version, so I encourage you to try it next time.

    1. The turnip cake with XO is my FAV rendition of turnip cake anywhere.

      5 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        How's it compare to Great Taste's version? I think theirs is the best thing on the dim sum paper menu.

        1. re: Luther

          Uh oh, I've never tried Great Taste's...

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          Great Taste
          201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

          1. re: StriperGuy

            You should: Great Taste's version of this dish is superb.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Most of the stuff on the paper menu isn't of the quality of their regular menu or bakery goods, with the exception of the ham soi gok fresh out of the fryer, and the XO turnip cakes (very smooth and squishy inside).

          2. re: StriperGuy

            Mine too but I also haven't had Great Taste

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            Great Taste
            201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

          3. Hi VM. I've enjoyed your contributions to the Shwarma thread. RE 1). Language is usually an issue and I appreciate the at Winsor, things come out when they are ready (especially important fro fried items) and favor Winsor over the cart places for this very reason. 2) XO sauce is a deluxe item but as Ilovedessert points out, the portion is also larger. 3) I've not strayed from their dim sum menu but any good dim sum place is probably OK for noodles and it would be standard for families to order chow fun or chow mein to supplement their dim sum orders. I would also try their congee, which is excellent.

            4 Replies
            1. re: gourmaniac

              To your point about freshness, one way to guarantee freshness is to ask for some minor customization (an old trick from eating at fast food joints :). For example, ask for "with scallion" when ordering the steamed beef rice noodle roll (cheung fun), then they make it to order (and the difference can be noticeable). I also occasionally ask for congee w/ chinese sausage (lap cheung), not on the menu and they look at you funny but will humor your oddball request.

              1. re: barleywino

                nice idea. I find it's only critical for fried food and not sure they would custom make those. I also have the embarrassing problem of being Asian American but speaking Cantonese like a 3-year old. Hence, in Chinese restaurants, making special requests puts me at a disadvantage that I would not have were I Caucasian or spoke my ancestral language better.

                1. re: barleywino

                  aren't cheung fun usually prepared with scallions and/or cilantro?

              2. A good XO sauce base is fairly expensive (lots of dried shrimp, scallop, etc. in the XO sauce IIRC) when you buy it from the store. Sort of like using Wild Turkey bourbon in a BBQ sauce.

                If you're curious what dish is which, take some pictures and post them and we'll be able to tell you what you ordered...

                9 Replies
                1. re: Spike

                  Winsor has picture menus now, which they seem to provide automatically with the other menus. Maybe you could ask to keep one and then match up the dishes yourself?

                  1. re: ilovedessert

                    Thanks for all the well-informed and helpful replies.

                    I wouls also like to know how much knowledge is there about the non-dim sum items. Specifically has anyone tried the lamb and brisket hot pots mentioned in the OP.

                    1. re: VivreManger

                      I'm guessing there's lots of knowledge (none of it possessed by me) but people are not revealing it for fear their responses might be insufficiently pellucid.

                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                        Have no fear. All of the responses have been eminently pellucid.

                        1. re: VivreManger

                          There's only one thing to do now: you must be a pioneer and try those lamb and brisket hot pots and report back to us. Precisely. Powerfully. Pontifically. And, of course, Pellucidly.

                            1. re: Luther

                              Many things. However in this instance, "...for fear their responses might be insufficiently pellucid." Also like follow-up alliteration. Also like pan fried turnip cake with XO sauce.

                        2. re: VivreManger

                          i never tried the hot pots but two non-dim sum dishes i like at winsor are white turnip and beef entrails and the shanghai fried rice cake (chao nian gao)

                    2. Have not tried the hot pots or noodle dishes, but their "super porky goodness," or spicy salted pork ribs are excellent (even if they are not really ribs, but sliced, deep fried pork chops).

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: nsenada

                        The "Pan Fried Rice Noodle with XO Sauce" is one of my favorite dishes in the city, period. The rough-hewn "noodles" are closer in texture to chewy pan-fried gnocchi, and the salty, complex sauce plus the wok-charred chives (garlic chives maybe?) and bean sprouts are to die for.

                        1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                          Is this at Winsor or at Great Taste? Nsenada's reference is to Great Taste's spicy salted ribs (i think) while most of the thread is about Winsor. The Great Taste paper menu doesn't list Pan fried rice noodle with XO sauce" but I'd like to try it based on your rec.

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                          Great Taste
                          201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757