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Sep 19, 2012 12:50 PM

Gourmet Dumpling House and a food crawl [split thread]

Gourmet Dumpling House is a funny case: I remember liking it quite a bit when it opened (I reviewed it for the Phoenix), though thinking its dumplings were nothing special. It's a bad English name for the place. Now it has lines out the door, always of white people, while it's easier to walk into two places I much prefer, Taiwan Cafe and Dumpling Cafe.

I still need to do a Szechuan-style spicy flounder crawl between the three, as GDH's version has some boosters here, and it didn't wow me when I had it many moons ago.

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  1. I have not liked the food at Erbulace and I do like the food at GDH (although admittedly the XLB are better at DC). I must have something wrong with my tongue, which is strange because I am a fan of some of the more palate challenging dishes at Menton, L'Espailer, O-ya and places outside of Boston (Grant Achatz was my favorite chef when he was at a little place called Trio before anyone knew what an Alinea was). All that being said, a GDH, TC, DC crawl may actually be the best idea I have heard on this board in months (I came very close to doing a personal Qdoba, Chipotle, Boloco crawl this weekend now that they are within 100 feet of each other in Downtown Crossing, which is a much worse idea).

    11 Replies
    1. re: ScotchandSirloin

      Now, now, I wouldn't necessarily jump to the conclusion that there's something wrong with your tongue. You could have something wrong with your brain, or have been raised by wolves!

      If such a crawl were to be organized, what dishes would Hounds nominate as the most representative for comparison purposes, alongside the spicy fish? XLB? Oyster pancake? Three cups chicken? Something with stinky tofu? Roast beef scallion roll? Stewed minced pork over rice? Taichung meatball? The overlap between the three menus isn't perfect.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        All good choices, maybe also Beef with Longhorn Peppers? Will need to study the menus to see commonality. I was raised by wolves, which explains my affinity for raw meat (and fish, not chicken (although maybe I could be convinced at Zai)).

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          i'd vote for XLB and baked pork bao. 3cup chicken is also an exc idea.
          how about something w/ eggplant, to get some veggies in there? (as if eggplant has ANT nutritional value whatsoever. i wish.)

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Do yellow chives count as a veggie? I think they do. Not sure if all of them have an eel or pork with yellow chives, but that would be an super dish to compare.

            1. re: ScotchandSirloin

              I had shrimp with yellow chives at Taiwan Cafe recently, very nice.


              1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                ooooh eel, YESSSS!
                but before this goes any further,let's not derail the erbaluce topic of this thread.
                wonder if the mods would move the CHinatown topic and our comments to a new thread?

            2. re: MC Slim JB

              Beef with Longhorn Peppers
              Eggplant with Basil (I think it's sometimes referred to as Homestyle Eggplant - I call it candy)
              Szechuan-style spicy flounder
              Those are our staples and we've tried most of them at all three places, and there are noticeable differences, but I'm also always up to try new things. I'd be up for a crawl either way.

              By the way, I had a no-shell clam dish at Dumpling Cafe and I'm pretty sure it was razor clams because they were narrow with two tube-like appendages on one end and a big foot on the other.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Oh, just have them all. Sheesh.

                And, the eel with yellow chives seems to be gone from the TC menu. I haven't seen it anywhere else.

              2. re: ScotchandSirloin

                I would add the rice plate. The one where you can get a pork cutlet or chicken. It comes with a soy sauce egg, ground pork on rice and pickled vegetables. I know TC and GDH has it, not sure about Dumpling Cafe.

                1. re: beetlebug

                  Great idea. Never had the soy sauce egg and have really wanted to try it, if available at all 3.

                2. re: ScotchandSirloin

                  Would add Twice Cooked Pork to this list of dishes that would be good to compare across the three places (I know GDH and DC have it, not sure about TC). I think it's done significantly better at GDH.

                  I almost always get a hot and sour soup at both of these places as I think they make some of the best renditions in the city. Again, have not tried it at TC.

                3. So I tried to compare menus online which I know is unreliable. I think we can get Szecuhan Fish, Oyster Pancake (not great at GDH although their scallion pancake is wonderful), XLB w/pork and crab (seems to be the one that brings out the strongest opinions), Littleneck clams with basil, Beef w/longhorn peppers, Taiwanese rice cake w/veg and pork, Taiwanese style eggplant, ma po tofu and fried stinky tofu at all. It doesn't appear that we can get roast beef pancake, Taiwanese meatball, or yellow chives at all (the first two aren't at GDH and the last isn't at DC). I would think we would want to stick with around 4 dishes and stick to Szechuan and Taiwanese fare to get a comparison of the best dishes at each. If I had to pick, I would think Szechuan fish, XLB, Taiwanese rice cake w/veg and pork and fried stinky tofu would give us a good variety to make an informed decision, but I am very open to others.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                    i think your menu comparison is admirable. i myself would prefer more dishes, but that may just be me :-} If we're just doing a 'tasting', then more dishes might be o.k.?

                    As many/some attendees may not have had any experience at these 3 comparison places, would it maybe be a good idea to have 1- 2 dishes at each place that may not be done at the other restnts but that are particularly great at that restnt? so some of us may walk away with "well, X had the best record in the comparison items, but i really liked their other excellent dishes, so i will also go back there and get at least those."

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      I've never been on a CH crawl, but would be very interested. How do the logistics work?

                      1. re: FoodTruth

                        Per older CH Mod rules, these off board dinners are supposed to be aranged off list. Someone needs to step up and post their contact info and interested people RSVP directly to them. Often there's a good deal of givae and take, votes for best night, etc

                        We'been doing this for years and it's always a great craws/clam crawls.

                        1. re: 9lives

                          Thanks, 9Lives.

                          Here's a summary of the guidelines for reference:

                  2. " Now it has lines out the door, always of white people"

                    Cmon dude, there are tons of Chinese people in there every single day. I have a Chinese colleague that eats takeout from there 4+ times per week.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Beachowolfe

                      My anecdotal observation, based on walking by two or three times a week, is that it's a much whiter crowd than the other Chinatown Taiwanese places. The lines started shortly after GDH was cited in some national magazine. I didn't meant to suggest it's exclusively a Caucasian crowd.