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Apr 25, 2011 10:14 AM

Full House Cafe--Dim Sum Alternative in Chinatown

I should first start with a disclaimer of sorts. Full House Cafe is not a dim sum restaurant. It's a cafe with 400 items on the menu (numbered items actually go up to 564, but if you look closely there are a lot of gaps), including about 40 regular dim sum items plus a dozen "Shanghai dim sum" choices. Also, I only ordered a couple of items from the dim sum side of the menu. That having been said, I thought that the dim sum that I did have, the seafood snow pea leaf dumpling and the pan fried fish cake were as good as any dim sum I've had in Chinatown (i.e., Red Egg and Dim Sum Go Go). The menu sort of apologetically states that dim sum items are only served until 6 pm, but that's more than you can ask than from most pure dim sum restaurants. Obviously two items aren't enough to make a valid judgment, so I'm hoping other guinea pigs will step forward. Full House Cafe is at 97 Bowery in the space once occupied by the quirky Big Eat Restaurant, and which I think was either vacant or put to non-restaurant use until Full House Cafe opened last summer.

Dim Sum Go Go
5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

Red Egg
202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

Full House Cafe
97 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

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    1. Their Chinese name (俏江南 qiào jiāng nán) is appropriated from a Shanghai chain. Don't think they are related in any way. They do serve some excellent XLB though. Their menu appears heavy on the Shanghai dishes with a come hither assortment of General Tso’s, Peking Duck, French Fries etc...the ground floor level has 10-12 booths that are lit in a pop-techno fashion. Upstairs are the round tables with seating for 40+. Trays of food went out for delivery to karaoke patrons upstairs.

      They have an interesting monthly special of six dishes. If you order one entrée, then for $7.95 can order one of six specials like Three Cup Chicken with Bamboo or Crispy Fish with Fruit Mayonnaise or Pork and Jujubes with Beancurd Sauce.

      2 Replies
      1. re: scoopG

        Do you like some of the other offerings?

        1. re: Pan

          I only had their XLB - which had very thin skins and were delicious.

      2. ive always wondered about this place, im actually not sure why ive never tried it before...thanks for bringing it up

        1. Full House is now Flaming Kitchen.

          2 Replies
          1. re: scoopG

            Yea, I really wanted Flaming Kitchen to be good (given how close I live to it!) but unfortunately my first try was not great.

            I had the Chongqing spicy chicken(重庆辣子鸡丁) and the chicken tasted overly battered - almost like eating cubes of fried chicken, which is not really what I expect from this dish and in any case did not taste that great - some of the pieces were almost burnt.

            Maybe their other dishes are better?

            1. re: scoopG

              Thanks for the Chinesupdate. It's interesting to chronicle the spread of Sichuan food throughout both our historic Chinatowns (particularly San Francisco--hasn't hit Los Angeles Chinatown yet) and other areas. Seems like almost half the new restaurant openings in the San Gabriel Valley are Sichuanese (and almost another half, Taiwanese hotpots), leaving scant room for other varieties. Plus all the authentic Sichuan places opening/converting in any university town with a large international Chinese student population.