The inside of RedFarm looks like an American farm-to-table Bistro, lots of rustic wood decoration and red and white Gingham upholstery. The place also seemed to be overstaffed, there were a lot of good looking employees standing around not doing much. But RedFarm has picked up Zagat awards for Best Chinese and Best Dim Sum. although critics have referred to it as “Upper West Side Haute Chinese-American”. But accepting that, the food we had was good – Cold Sesame Noodles, Wok seared Greens Beans with Brussels Sprouts in a black bean sauce and Rice Noodles with Vegetables. The waiter told us that the plates were designed to be shared and that we should get three appetizers and two entrees – in reality this is probably way too much food because the Cold Sesame Noodle appetizer alone is big. I had the opportunity to try these dishes because, while the dumpling menu options are impressive, the dumplings were a fail.
The Dumplings: For my vegan dining companion and I the dumplings were an epic fail, all of the available options contain “Chicken Powder” and I am allergic to chicken and this obviously didn’t work for the my companion. This means the vegetable dumplings aren’t even vegetarian by even the loosest interpretations of the word. One waiter helpfully described “Chicken Powder” as powdered chicken and another waiter described it a dried chicken that had been powdered. But both waiters said they use Chicken Powder as an alternative to MSG. Please… just give me the MSG, or better yet use ingredients that are tasty enough they can stand on their own, you shouldn’t need flavor enhancers for Pork and Crab Soup Dumplings. Also the dumplings are criminally expensive $14-$16 for servings of four dumplings – maybe Chicken Powder is expensive.
The serve some really interesting sounding dumplings, just add “with Chicken Powder” to each of the dishes below.
- Pork & Shrimp Dumpling Skewers
- ‘Pac Man’ Shrimp Dumplings
- Shrimp & Snow Pea Leaf Dumplings
- Pan-Fried Lamb Dumpling Shooters, Tofu, Miso Seaweed Broth
- Three Color Vegetable Dumplings
- Pan-Fried Pork Buns
- Five Flavor Chicken Dumplings
- Shrimp & Mango Fried Wontons
- Crispy Oxtail Dumplings
- Crunchy Vegetable & Peanut Dumplings
- Crispy Duck & Crab Dumplings
- Pork & Crab Soup Dumplings
- Pan Fried Shrimp Dumplings with Flowering Chives and Fresh Corn
The Dipping Sauce: Not assessed.
Location: We hit the RedFarm on Broadway at 76th street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The original location is Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood on Hudson Street.