Mimi Cheng’s is a relatively new joint on what is fast becoming the East Village dumpling row and has been getting a lot of good press lately. This dumpling house is named for the mother of the co-owners sisters Hannah and Marian Cheng, and mom is often upfront at the dumpling making station hand rolling dough and stuffing dumplings. It is a pretty small spot with a communal table that seats about eight and then counter space that seats maybe another dozen people.
Mimi Cheng’s makes an elevated dumpling using high-end ingredients and cooking to them to order. They have partnered with Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats in Brooklyn and the Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op to source their meats. The pork is from pasture-raised pigs from a small, sustainable farm in upstate New York and the chicken is sourced from small family farms in Lancaster County, PA. They don’t use meat that has been given antibiotics or hormones to promote growth.
The Dumplings: Mimi Cheng’s serves three regularly available dumplings and one daily special dumpling, all of them can be ordered boiled or pan fried. The dumplings are made fresh as you order them, with hand rolled wrappers that are thin and delicate and almost translucent when cooked.
The Mimi Cheng – stuffed with chicken and zucchini.
The Re-invented Classic – pork, baby bok choy and cabbage filled triangular dumplings.
The Mighty Veggie – packed with kale, zucchini, egg and shitake mushrooms.
The Daily Special – the day I went they were serving a Thanksgiving special dumpling, which was essentially turkey and Thanksgiving fixings stuffed into a dumpling wrapper. Unfortunately by the time we I got there they were sold out, so if you want to try the Daily Special get there before the dinner rush.
I tried both the Re-invented Classic and that Mighty Veggie which were both perfectly cooked and tasted excellent. The focus on fresh vegetables and high-end meats definitely came through in the flavor and texture of these dumplings. The Mighty Veggie was bursting with green kale goodness.
The Dipping Sauce: The web site touts their secret sauce which I was intrigued to try but did not end up liking that much. I think the base of the sauce is the Chinese black vinegar that you usually get with soup dumplings – not my favorite.
The Location: Mimi Cheng’s is on 2nd Ave between 11th and 12th streets in New York City’s East Village neighborhood.