El Jefe turned me on to this place, so all the credit goes to him. Technically it's called North Dumpling House in English, but that name is not on their big yellow awning, and we didn't see anybody eating dumplings. There's no English on the awning except for the very faded words "Korean Restaurant," presumably from a former tenant. It's just east of Parsons Blvd. They're basically across from a Staples.
(In fact, I didn't even notice any dumplings on the menu until I looked more closely at the take-home menu later. It turns out there ARE dumplings on the menu, at least on the take-home one, way down at #89-91: mushroom dumplings, fish dumplings, and sour cabbage dumplings. And also #86, "shao mai (lamb meat)." I know what I'm trying next time.)
I'm not sure I remember everything we ordered, but my favorites were the "sour cabbage with bean noodles" (#36 on the take-home menu) and the mushroom salad (I can't ID this on the take-home -- maybe it's #61, "mixed mushroom?"). Both of these were amazing. I would have never ordered either of those on my own so I'm really glad I went with El Jefe et al. The mushrooms are the best I've ever eaten, no joke -- not that I'm any mushroom expert since I'm normally totally indifferent to mushrooms. The consistency was beautiful. They melt in your mouth. Same for the sour cabbage with bean noodles. I am not normally a huge fan of cabbage, especially since I spent several weeks in Russia back in the 90s and everything had cabbage in it, even the freaking pizza. But this was outstanding. I don't know how to describe it. Seems like it was mostly noodles and they just had a brilliant mouth-feel. (Warning to vegetarians: These dishes both had a little bit of chicken in them. I don't know why, as that was unnecessary.)
Another great dish was the squid salad (#20 I think). Really great squid.
We also had lamb with cumin and the fish fillets in hot chili oil. The fish had tons of Szechuan peppercorn. Yum! Very spicy. Loved it. The lamb was good, but I've had better elsewhere, such as at Little Pepper and maybe also Szechuan Gourmet and/or Lan Sheng. We couldn't taste any cumin.
We also got the lamb leg with spicy salt. This was not so much of a hit with most of us. It was OK. Not spicy or salty, as I recall. A bit bland compared to the other dishes. Maybe meat legs just aren't my kind of thing. Hmmm, I might be forgetting one other dish....
Oh and first they brought out two little dishes of banchan: Shredded carrots and some incredibly garlicky eggplant chunks. I love garlic so that eggplant was a favorite for me. Not everybody liked such a massive overdose of garlic though, IIRC.
They also brought us those sugary caramelized potato chunks for dessert, the ones you dip in cold water to make them crunchy. Those were great, even better than at Golden Palace, which was the last place I had that dessert.
I'm salivating over the things listed on the take-home menu. Some of them look unattractive too, but fascinating. I'm mystified by "corn dodger," which appears twice. It's $1. Since I loved the vegetables at this place, I want to try their fried string beans next time, and "tofu on the hot stone," and maybe the "spicy green bean jelly." And maybe chili shrimp, or sauteed shrimp, and "special mussel." Meanwhile I think I'll skip the "cattle blood vessel in cumin" and the "country sauteed blood with mashed garlic." And I still wonder what that mysterious "slip" dish was -- it's not on the take-home menu, just the in-house laminated menu, so I can't remember the full mystifying name. "Slip the meat home" or something like that? No, wait, that's not right -- that must be a product of my dirty mind! :)
Anyway, in summary, thanks El Jefe! I'm going back there soon! Too bad there are no tables that fit more than five people (and most are more like four-tops). Otherwise I'd try to organize a big group.
North Dumpling House
144-18 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354
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