There is a television show on the Food Network that Patrick and I are both obsessed with called The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Every episode has a different theme like "Grilled," "Between Bread" and "With Bacon." On a recent episode, the theme was "In a Bowl." Guy Fieri's choice was the Hand-Pulled Noodles with Beef from Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles in China Town NYC and the dish looked amazing! I am a sucker for good noodles, and Patrick and I decided while watching the episode that we had to go.
This next part of the story is mildly embarrassing for me, so please, no judgement. I personally had no idea that Dim Sum was typically only served between the hours of 11am and 4pm. I thought "Dim Sum" referred to the small dishes served and not to the meal itself, which is apparently equivalent to brunch. Since we were already planning to venture down to China Town, I suggested we also go have some Dim Sum. Seeing as we didn't even leave the apartment until after 4pm, I had no idea that I was setting us up for a Dim Sum disaster.
Kelly Choi former host of Top Chef Masters and current host of several local NY food show, has responded to me on Twitter before and this time was no different:Thanks Kelly!! Her first reco, Golden Unicorn, had come up in several of my Dim Sum searches so we decided to go there.
We took the R-train down to China Town and emerged from the subway smack in the middle of a neighborhood that we were both incredibly unfamiliar with. Thanks to the map on my iPhone, we found Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles with no trouble at all. And what luck! Golden Unicorn was only one street away! We were excited, and we were hungry.
We walked into the noodle shop and I was shocked to see that it was tiny! Less than 20 seats, and almost all of them were full. They sat us across from each other at a table for 6 in between a couple and another girl. We opened the enormous menus and decided on the Pan-Fried House Special Pulled Noodles with Chicken, Beef & Shrimp (for an astoundingly cheap $6.50!) and the Dumpling Soup for $6. This was shaping up to be the cheapest meal we've ever had in New York City!
What we quickly realized was that the other 3 people at our table were also there because of Guy Fieri's recommendation on the Food Network. We spent the meal chatting with them and they were all so nice! We compared favorite restaurants in New York and talked about the food we were eating and just had a lovely time in general. When our food came, it looked and smelled amazing and we couldn't wait to dig into the noodles. The pan-fried dish was awesome, the noodles were the perfect consistency and packed with great flavor.I loved the shrimp, chicken and beef mixed throughout and the plate was empty before we could say "Dim What?"
Then the soup came, piping hot and smelling like heaven. I know it's a silly word to use to describe food, but the noodles were beautiful!It was SO hot that I burned my mouth a few times, but it was a small price to pay for the amazing soup. By the end of the meal we were so full we could barely move, but I still had my heart set on "Dim Sum" so we paid our very cheap bill, said good-bye to our new friends and set off to Golden Unicorn.
We walked through the front door and were surprised to learn we needed to take an elevator up to the restaurant. When the doors of the elevator opened, we walked into a bright room that was partly set up for a wedding reception with several large tables off to the side for non-wedding patrons. We sat at a table for four, by ourselves this time, and this was when my Dim Sum hopes and dreams were crushed. The menu looked like a normal Chinese menu and I saw no mention of Dim Sum. Uh oh. I sort of knew that I was wrong about the Dim Sim timing, but my fear was confirmed when I asked our waiter who told us Dim Sum was 11-4. Oh well!
Although we were stuffed, we ordered Pork Dumplings and Moo Shu Pork to share. The dumplings were good, pretty standard.When I was little, my grandma (DD) and I always used to order Moo Shu together. Something about the way they come to your table to prepare it makes me love it that much more.The pancakes were fluffy, the hoisin sauce tangy and sweet and the filling was excellent.I was quite happy with the food, but still sad that we didn't get to experience Dim Sum. We will definitely be returning to China Town soon for a true Dim Sum experience!
Have you ever been to Dim Sum? What is your favorite dish? Let me know so I can order it next time.
-The Fabulous Foodie