Well, we can start with a list of things that East Dumpling House DOESN’T have. It doesn’t have tea at the tables, a large footprint, a tank of fish, a large parking lot, dim sum carts or even table service. What they do have is dumplings – oh are there dumplings. Tyler Cowen counted 38, I counted a menu that had a couple of small sections of entrees and kebobs, and then a large array of dumplings. Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, shrimp, egg, veggie … really it is hard not to lapse into Bubba talking about ways to cook shrimp.
Coming with a large group, we arrived in time for a 10:30 AM opening – can’t be too safe with a place this tiny. Hearing about the Northeast Chinese style, the expectation was that we would be treated to something a bit more glutinous than the wonton based shumai sort of deal. Indeed, the dumplings did not disappoint. Each plate almost seemed to resemble these perfect little purses – indeed, maybe purses might be inaccurate, more like those sorts of sacks that hobos in old cartoons lugged their stuff around. All of the dumplings can be had steamed or pan fried: we put ourselves in the restaurants hands here. The lamb were excellent – and how often can you find lamb ANYTHING. Their house special dumplings (fried) were amazing – pork, chive, shrimp – perfectly pan fried, like the best “peking ravioli” you’ve ever had. The egg and chive (steamed) were fine though unmemorable while the chicken and shrimp (fried) were solid.
If the dumplings were all there was, this would be a hit. But there are some good cold dishes too. Spinach with chili oil was as good a spinach dish as I’ve had recently – and the sichuan style pig ears delivered some good textural contrast. We ordered noodles as well, with black bean sauce – the homemade noodles had a little more chew than I expected, but not unpleasantly so. The flavor was subtle with the bean and pork. The tofu ribbons with green pepper was okay, but I am not a firm bean curd fan generally. Overall, a lovely no-frills sort of find.