To round out 2019 we at Dumpling Hunter had a blow out feast at Dim Sum Palace, a NYC mini-chain of family run dim sum restaurants. Dim Sum Palace has large dim sum menu and a large menu of American-Chinese dishes with a smattering of traditional Chinese dishes mixed in. Like a lot of dim sum restaurants outside of Chinatown, there are no carts piled high with steamers and plates of food cruising the dining room at Dim Sum Palace, instead you order by checking boxes on form you hand to the wait staff.
A couple of the non-dumpling dishes really stood out. The sticky rice with pork wrapped in lotus leaves was excellent, and one of the best versions of this dish I have tried. An order of sticky rice comes with two lotus leaf wrapped bundles of rice infused with savory pork flavor and umami from the lotus leaves. The salt and pepper baked shrimp were also really good, there were only four shrimp in the order, but they were large and succulent. My only gripe with the shrimp was that they didn’t come with their heads on, which is how this dish is optimally prepared.
The Dumplings: Combined, the dim sum and main menus present 26 dumpling options. I didn’t get to try any of the steamed BBQ Pork Buns we ordered, apparently they were very good and my friend doubled down on them and grabbed mine. The Wontons, Szechuan Style, were filled with pork and served in a thick sauce rather than the chili oil and soy sauce mix often served with this dish. The sauce was delicious and had the spice, pepper corn and complex fermented bean funk flavor of a true Szechuan style sauce, I recommend trying this dish. The pan-fried tiny buns were a solid effort but not great. The bun was sweet and light and the pork was flavorful, but there was no soup or juice inside the buns, so they were a little dry. But the buns were great for soaking up the Wonton Szechuan sauce and then were juicy and super tasty. The Pan Fried Pork and Chive dumplings and the Pan Fried Shrimp and Chives dumplings were both chock full of chive flavor and fried crispy and crunchy, but I think the Shrimp version was the better of the two. The sweet shrimp provided a better flavor balance to the chives than the savory of the pork. We also tried the Pork Soup Dumplings which checked all the boxes: well cooked so the wrappers were supple but maintained their soup holding integrity; copious amounts of flavorful soup; and a tasty pork meat ball inside. Lastly, almost stuffed to the gills, we ordered the Seafood Peashoot Dumplings which turned out to be the star of the meal. Granted I am a sucker for sauteed peashoots, but these were really good. The seafood was shrimp and the sweet and salty they brought to the filling worked with the slight bitterness and cruciferous flavor of the peashoots.
The Location: Dim Sum Palace has several locations in Manhattan, we hit the location on Restaurant Row which is 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.