202 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Over the years, my experience in eating dim sum over my many visits to New York City has had a number of ups and downs. While certainly New York has dim sum far above and beyond most of America (including my hometown of San Diego), much of it pails to comparison to what I have eaten in suburban Los Angeles, much less Vancouver. Because of this, I have generally shied away from dim sum in my last few trips to the Big Apple. However, in the interest of this blog and upon the number of good recommendations Red Egg had across the spectrum, I decided to invite some friends and eat some dim sum on my recent trip there.
When a friend and I walked it, I was immediately struck and fascinated by Red Egg’s decor. It’s very modernist chic in its approach, with dimmer lighting, black tables, and even a full size bar. While we were waiting for another friend, I continued to look around very intrigued. Despite whatever concerns I may have had about the quality of the dim sum based on the decor, the fact that the servers were dressed up and spoke Cantonese very fluently. With a little piece of mind we ordered the following:
- Gailan Stir Fried In Garlic – The lightly blanched then quickly stir fried gailan (Chinese broccoli) was perfect. The stems and leaves were perfectly crispy yet a little tender and the garlic gave it a nice flavor without being too overpowering
- Chicken Satay – Decent chicken satay with nice flavors, but nothing that really stood out. However, it’s not a traditional dim sum item so I give Red Egg a pass on this
- Cilantro Rice Noodle Rolls – Excellent rolls with a nice cilantro flavor. The soy sauce on top was lightly drizzled which was perfect, as sometimes rice noodles can get too soggy and overpowered with sauce if there’s too much. The yu choy that came with it was alright.
- Daikon Cakes – Fried decently, though could have been a little crispier. Didn’t quite have as much fillings of green onion, Chinese sausage, or small dried shrimp at other restaurants, but some times less is more.
- Chicken Sui Mai – While I definitely still prefer pork sui mai, these were nicely done. The wonton skins were light and delicate as they should and the chicken was steamed well without being rubbery
- Bamboo Shoots Dumpling – The skin was absolutely horrible. You could even tell from looking at it. It all fell apart because the dumpling skin (which should hold up and have a little chew to it). The filling was bland and mushy too.
- Pan Fried Vegetarian Dumpling – Not as bad as the bamboo shoots dumpling, but the filling was still mushy and the skins were not even crispy, even if they did hold up.
- Sweet Creamy Buns – Despite the vegetable dumpling disaster, these were a great way to end the meal. The filling was a bit runnier than I am used to but the salty sweet custard filling was just marvelous in terms of flavors.
All in all, the flavors were good in helped restore my faith in New York’s dim sum scene (although New York shines more in other regional Chinese cuisines). I was also a bit surprised that even though the decor was a bit modernist, that at least half the tables were filled with Cantonese speaking families. It speaks well to Red Egg that they are able to pull a balance of both non-Chinese young professionals and traditional Chinese families.
The bill wasn’t that cheap though, coming to be about $19. At that price, I am glad that the food is better, but it still needs some improvement before it hits the level and prices charged in the best places around LA and San Francisco.