I’ve written a couple of times (here, here) about the influx of great Chinese restaurants in the Manhattan Valley and Morningside Heights neighborhoods of New York’s Upper West Side. Unfortunately, the stylish and modern designed Atlas Kitchen, which opened late last year in the old Legend Upper West Side location, isn’t in the premier league with some of the other local Chinese restaurants. Atlas Kitchen focuses on Hunan and Sichuan style dishes but also serves Cantonese, Shanghainese, and Chinese-American dishes.
The Dumplings: The online menu lists pork soup dumplings, crab and pork soup dumplings, and pan-seared dumplings with filling options of pork, chicken, fish, three delicacies and vegetable.
The crab and pork soup dumplings were really poorly cooked. The dumplings were placed in the bamboo steamer right next to the steamer walls and also touching each other. The result of this poor dumpling placement was that the cooked dumplings were either welded together or stuck to the side of the steamer. It was impossible to pick up the dumplings without the wrappers ripping open and the soup spilling out. The dumplings also had no discernible crab flavor and didn’t have the little crowns of crab roe that are usually placed on the tops of these dumplings.
On the in-store menu the options for the chicken, fish, three delicacies and vegetable pan-seared dumplings were all crossed out and only available option was the pan-seared pork dumplings. The long cigar shaped pan-seared dumplings weren’t exactly seared and could be more accurately described as lightly fried. Taste-wise the pork filling was very mild and insipid. The dipping sauce that came with these dumplings seemed like it was 100% black vinegar and was pretty harsh tasting.
The Location: Atlas Kitchen is on 109th street between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave in the Manhattan Valley neighborhood, just south of Columbia University.