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Get thee to Big Mouth Luck Dumpling House in Delisle Court (Yonge St. and Heath St.)

1sweetpea Feb 18, 2012 05:43 PM

Get thee to Big Mouth Luck Dumpling House! I went this evening with 2 co-diners and absolutely loved the food. We had 2 orders of boiled dumplings: Pork, Shrimp and Garlic Chive, plus Pork and Dill. Both were delicious. We tried the Pork Shrimp and Zucchini Pan Fried Dumplings, which were also tasty. All dumplings appeared to made in-house. Not a single one was busting open or waterlogged. I am a big fan of northern style boiled dumplings, but I will have to return to see how the kitchen handles har gow and xiu mai, but it will be tough not to continue my exploration of the boiled options.

The cold Spicy Beef Shank was lovely, tender and deftly flavoured with 5-spice, sided with a sweet pickled julienne of carrots and daikon radish. Our last dish was stir-fried scallops and shrimps with snow peas, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and onions. We ordered 2 bowls of steamed rice , which gave us the perfect amount of food. All 3 dumpling dishes were delicious. The winner of three for me was the pork with dill. The boiled dumplings and cold beef shank brought me right back to Beijing and Xi'an. The stir-fry was very Cantonese in its light, clean and balance of tastes. Each vegetable still maintained texture and its own inherent flavour, while marrying well with the seafood and touch of garlic. Very nice. I was thrilled that the scallops and shrimps were perfectly cooked. My only criticism is that the scallops and shrimps were medium-sized. A larger, more luxurious size would have been welcome, especially at $16.99 for the dish.

I'm intrigued by the spicy beef shanghai noodle soup offering. I may have to try that one cold day for lunch. Even though there are currently no lunch specials, there are 3 BBQ on rice with vegetable options, a la HK BBQ (Chicken, Pork or Duck), all of which are $6.59 (or thereabouts). Add a wonton, hot and sour or tomato and cucumber egg drop soup to one of those and a single diner could make a hearty lunch or dinner. The stir-fry options would make a full meal with a steamed rice.

I would love to know if the kitchen would ever consider allowing a lone diner to order a single order of boiled dumplings, but mix 2 or 3 types in the single order, as long as they are the same price. That would be a coup! Not sure if they would consent to that, though.

The chefs really know how to get great flavour out of their ingredients. The biggest task now is to woo people from the neighbourhood to Delisle Court and get them to raise their eyes to the upper level and notice what is hiding up there. I really hope they paper the area with deals, maybe go the Groupon route and find a way to get themselves written up in media that people actually read. I will definitely be back again and again, as long as they have enough business to keep them afloat. On a Saturday evening at 7:00, we were one of 3 tables, and it got no busier over the course of our delicious meal.

  1. eller Feb 21, 2012 06:06 AM

    I've been here three times already and can't get enough of the pork and dill dumplings..

    4 Replies
    1. re: eller
      1sweetpea Feb 21, 2012 11:26 AM

      I have to agree that the filling to wrapper ratio could have been better with the pan fried dumplings. Perhaps that is the reason I like the boiled dumplings so much more. The boiled dumplings were quite full. I was happy with the texture of the fillings, though. I could see the ingredients, but never found a single unchewable gristly bit, which made me happy.

      The sake bottles that line the windows should disappear ASAP. They are left over from the extensive sake menu that Gill offered. We drank beer with our meal. I'd like to see some Chinese beers offered in addition to the Japanese ones offered.

      I think it is wise to wait until after a second visit to review a place. I may well have jumped the gun, posting after my first visit, but I was very sad to learn that Gill was gone, after having 3 very good dinners there. When I learned of the switch to the Chinese format, I went, hoping for a good meal. I found one. I thought it was worth praising the owner for trying to answer the neighbourhood's call for Chinese. I still do.

      Estufarian, I hope you will give it another chance in a month or so, after the initial kinks are ironed out. If you still think it sucks, so be it. I personally don't mind paying a bit more for the convenience of Chinatown fare a block from my parents' home the Yonge/St. Clair area. I can walk there, eat in a pretty restaurant with really nice staff, relaxing music and tasty food, then waddle off happy.

      I would like to add that I tasted many a jiaozi (boiled dumpling) and xiao long bao in my travels throughout China a half dozen years ago. There were good and bad among them. I really don't think Big Mouth Luck's dumplings were much different from those.

      1. re: 1sweetpea
        s
        sumdumgoy Feb 21, 2012 02:33 PM

        The best thing I can say about this place is that the dumplings/potstickers are as good as you can get at St Clair and Yonge. They are made fresh but are a bit bland and underfilled IMHO. The har gow wrappers are much too thick and there does not appear to be any sesame oil or bamboo shoot in them. The siu mai are light but bland. The Ma Po tofu is tasteless. The stir fried noodles with veg. are bland and undercooked. The stir fried pepper beef is not bad but stingy on the beef. The wings are battered (which I don't like) and too greasy. Lastly the "crumbed" shrimp are much more breading than shrimp. I will not be returning often but might, strictly out of convenience, go back from time to time for dumplings and chile oil if the owner has deep enough pockets to keep the doors open

        1. re: sumdumgoy
          m
          MellyMelle Sep 27, 2012 12:27 PM

          Was in the area for an appointment and found the Dumpling House, was looking for Chinese and this was the only one...I can never understand the abundance of sushi restaurants EVERYWHERE in Toronto. Must've walked by more than 6 different sushi restos in 3 blocks.

          Looks like the owners are paying attention to online reviews (major +), as the dumplings now come in half dozens. Not sure how much longer the owners can hold on though, walked in at around 1:15pm and there was only 1 table of 8 inside and 2 lone diners on the patio. Had the pork, shrimp and chives boiled dumplings ($4.50 for 6), the beef and napa cabbage fried dumplings ($4 for 6), and the siu long bao (soup dumplings) ($3.99 for 5). The filling to wrap ratio was good, so they may have fixed that too. In terms of taste, nothing to write home about, but I walked away satisfied enough. Of the three, my favourite was the boiled dumplings, and don't think I would order the pan fried again, they are just much better boiled.

          Everyone on yelp seems to love the chili oil, but personally, the chili oil needs a lot more kick (and I am an average in terms of the spicy tolerance meter). Forgot to say - I believe they're making their dumplings fresh to order, as the other posters noted.

          Gotta try out your suggestion at Metro Square, got an appointment there next week.

          1. re: MellyMelle
            1sweetpea Feb 27, 2014 07:48 PM

            Agree on the chili oil. It tastes old. I really think the boiled dumplings are nice, though nothing else really stands out. I have eaten in a few times. It's always dead in the restaurant, but I have a feeling their takeout business keeps them alive.

    2. estufarian Feb 19, 2012 10:34 AM

      Wow!
      I have a self-imposed rule not to review a place until I've been at least twice (although it's fair to comment on other reviews).
      I HAVEN'T been back a second time!

      Overall, needs a LOT of improvement, although a couple of promising signs.

      The server was a disaster - eventually 'revealed' it was her first day (not a surprise to us).

      The bill we received had errors - ALL in the restaurants favour (e.g. a $9.99 dish charged at $12.99) - explanation "The computer was wrong"!!!!!!!

      Let's start with the dumplings (after all, it is supposedly a Dumpling House). Competently prepared but so bland we had ample opportunity to try the 3 condiments on the table. (We tried both the boiled and the pan-fried). Actually the condiments were excellent - totally saved these boring dishes (and I much preferred the texture of the pan-fried, which did create some interest). Fillings were barely resistant to the chew.
      And why serve these in dozens only? After 24 boring dumplings we would have left except we'd already ordered another dish.
      The minimum quantity has always been my deterrent to regularly returning to Dumpling Houses. Why not offer half-dozens (or half 'n half of two choices for an additional buck or two - exactly as 1sweetpea is also suggesting).

      For our other dish we asked what the difference was between two dishes (both with the 'standard' chile emblem to denote spicy dishes).
      The response 'A' is hotter than 'B'! (Then why do they have the same # of chilis???). Absolutely no further description of what each dish contained.

      Rice was pedestrian - clearly a large pot for the evening.

      Drinks available were different than specified on the menu.
      There was a significant dispay of empty sake bottles - yet not a single sake on offer (to us anyway).

      Sitting by the window was freezing - move to the interior of the restaurant.

      And although I have some sympathy for the possible high rent, the fact that my bill was much higher than any downtown (Spadina - hardly a low-rent district) dumpling house was also not conducive to a fond memory.

      So, nothing was 'bad' and the area sorely needs a good 'Chinese' restaurant - but this ain't it.
      If I'm in the area and want something 'spicy' then I might return for their chili oil condiment (which was really good) - but this will never be a destination place (unless many improvements are made).

      I held off on this review to give them a chance to get over start-up problems - but until I read this thread the place hadn't crossed my mind again!

      8 Replies
      1. re: estufarian
        s
        sumdumgoy Feb 19, 2012 11:55 AM

        Hours are indeed 11 am - 9:30 pm everyday.

        Had the pan fried pork and cabbage dumplings and siu mai, all made in house.
        Dumpling wrappers were good but he filling to wrapper ratio is too low.
        Siu mai was decent but a bit pedestrian, I wanted the Har gow but not available today.

        Chili oil was a highlight.

        I would like to try some of the other non dumpling dishes before passing judgement.

        The owner also ran Gill and apparently switched over about 2 weeks ago. I hope he can get it working but my optimism is guarded.

        My favourite dumpling place is called "Chineses" (sic) at Steeles and Ferrier (the mall with the HSBC) but I hate the 40 km round trip!

        1. re: sumdumgoy
          T Long Feb 19, 2012 03:07 PM

          sumdumgoy: Could you elaborate on what makes the place at Steeles and Ferrier your favorite place for dumplings. I've never been there, but live relatively close. I had very enjoyable soup dumplings today at Yonge and Bloor (Lee Chen).

          1. re: T Long
            s
            sumdumgoy Feb 19, 2012 08:23 PM

            The one I am refering to is in the Metro Square Mall on the north-west corner of Steeles and Ferrier, 2 blocks west or Warden, roughly 3636 Steeles East.

            It is on the north side of the first building and next to the Szechuan restaurant. the official name is "Chinese Dumpling House".

            It is tiny, about 40 seats crammed. 2 women inside the front door roll out dough and fill dumplings. I have seen closets bigger than the kitchen which turns out a limited variety of interesting and eclectic items (stir fried lamb with middle east spices).

            The specialty is steamed dumplings served 15 to a bamboo steamer. Pot stickers, spring onion pancakes, soups, braises etc..

            Expect to wait for a seat.

            1. re: sumdumgoy
              T Long Feb 20, 2012 06:03 PM

              Thanks for the tip sumdumgoy. We passed by that mall today around 4:30 and the place was still near full of people with another party going in. Most of the surrounding restaurants looked empty in comparison. Looks promising for a future visit!

              1. re: sumdumgoy
                T Long Mar 6, 2012 07:29 PM

                @sumdumgoy: I finally got to the Chinese Dumpling House. You described it quite accurately. We took out 2 orders of the steamed dumplings. Definitely an excellent option for dumpling lovers.

          2. re: estufarian
            m
            magic Feb 26, 2014 06:31 PM

            I agree with this review wholeheartedly.

            I dined here after I went to Kwan only to disappointingly discover that Kwan does not serve dim sum at dinner. For some reason I thought Kwan was all day dim sum. Anyways.....

            estufarian pretty much nails it.

            Is Big Mouth Luck Dumpling House bad? No. Is it worth a second trip? Probably not. It was largely mediocre, most offerings were a bit bland and lifeless and on the smaller side.

            Service was sweet but not that good. Place was dead, but it was freezing cold on a weekday. The space itself was nicely kept with a warm and inviting red and black Chinoiserie colour scheme.

            Don't see why I'd return, but at least I tried it.

            1. re: magic
              estufarian Feb 26, 2014 07:34 PM

              Admission time.
              I did return some months later (when it was warmer).
              BUT the chili oil had been replaced with an inferior version.
              Haven't been back again!

              1. re: estufarian
                m
                magic Feb 27, 2014 06:23 AM

                Yes I didn't mention it but the chili oil was not very good.

          3. m
            magic Feb 19, 2012 07:30 AM

            Thx! Will check it out!

            2 Replies
            1. re: magic
              1sweetpea Feb 19, 2012 07:50 AM

              Funny, the takeout menu says they're open Monday - Sunday, 11 am - 9:30 pm. Perhaps the outgoing message hasn't been changed from the restaurant's days as Gill. There's apparently free delivery on orders over $25, but the delivery radius is only 3 blocks. Seems a bit silly, but then again, who wants a bunch of dumplings that are more than 10 or 15 minutes from coming out of the pot or pan? I guess they figure 3 blocks is a safe radius for delivery top quality, hot food.

              They're just up the stairs or escalator from Bruno's, Sushi Garden and Cava. Both ground level restaurants do just fine, so there's plenty of traffic around there. The elevator is definitely dreary, but handy for those parking in the Green P lot.

              1. re: 1sweetpea
                s
                sumdumgoy Feb 19, 2012 08:25 AM

                Good point sweetpea and typically this type of resto is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

                I am not far away and will head over shortly in search of enlightenment.

            2. s
              sumdumgoy Feb 18, 2012 07:55 PM

              Thanks for the heads up sweetpea, I will check it out tomorrow.

              A couple of years ago I stopped checking out every restaurant that occupied that space and I have missed the last 4 or so but the list of failed enterprises is very long.

              Even the ground floor of the Delisle Court is almost certain death for restaurants because the occupancy cost is outrageous. Unless the food cost is under 15% with at low cheque average and the restaurant is generally, you can start beating the drum slowly.

              Getting people to climb those stairs (or find the dreary elevator at the back) has proven impossible for the past 30 years.

              3 Replies
              1. re: sumdumgoy
                petek Feb 19, 2012 05:38 AM

                "Thanks for the heads up sweetpea"
                +1 Sounds delish! Yet another reason to head out to the Young & St Clair neighborhood(Holy Chuck and Airima's Kitchen for bulgogi burgers being the others).So glad I live only minutes away :-D...

                1. re: petek
                  s
                  sumdumgoy Feb 19, 2012 06:21 AM

                  According to answering machine it is closed Mondays, dinner only on weekends and 11:30 to 11:00 pm the rest of the time.

                  1. re: sumdumgoy
                    petek Feb 19, 2012 06:42 AM

                    Thanks sumdumgoy!

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