Thank heavens for CH. And mostly, THANK YOU Brentgodfrey!!Mary Chung's has been in Central Sq since 1981 and it's probably back then that i last ate there.But fueled by Brent's CH review of 11/09, we went today. (We used to go for dimsum in chinatown pretty regularly but not anymore. The China Pearl Woburn is 2 min. from our house and we've been there a few times in the last yr. but we consider it mostly mediocre. )
WOW! Mary Chung's dim sum is soooo excellent! I have been craving some really different dim sum experiences and this place has quite a few unique dishes. We mostly followed Brent's list and added a few things.This is menu ordering; not carts. Our 2 fav. dishes were ones that I've never had before and never seen elsewhere:
Fried Tofu with Ginger Sauce
The tofu was a large 4" cube, like the best Japanese soft tofu deepfried for agedashi tofu.Beautiful thin light crispy crust around heavenly creamy tofu, topped with julienned ginger and in pool of ginger sauce. I have never had better tofu in this country. So sublime, we ordered a 2nd!
Brent was right about Grandma's Pie being superb but wrong about its filling.I talked w/ Mary and this stuffed scallion bread is filled with- not mushroom- but a mixture of bokchoy that has been steamed,air dried and minced, with minced pork and flavorings. The filling is dark brown and looks just like minced sauteed mushrooms, so I can see how brent was fooled.
Other favs were the steamed peking ravioli w/ a most unusual and robust soy and chili based dipping sauce; small steamed ' buns' ( the wrappers, filling and dipping sauce tasted like pork 'soup noodles' [dumplings filled with pork and pork broth] but w/o the broth); dan dan noodles with chicken (fiery peanut based sauce over toothsome noodles and bean sprouts); terrific crab rangoon; and sweet sesame filled rice balls. We were also thrilled with the regular menu entree( not the dimsum, which has no filling) of very crunchy deep fried eggplant sandwiches filled with pork, in sauce.Next time we'll order some green vegetables off the regular menu.
Our waitress was friendly and helpful and understood English, and best of all, Beethoven was the background music!! The clientele today was a true mirror of Central Square: hippies, bikers, academics,families, multi-racial. One caveat, as Brent mentioned before me, shrimp is found in only one dimsum, shumai, which we did not try. No taro coated shrimp patties or eggplant sandwiches filled with shrimp, or baked pork bao.The menu lists many of the dishes we have seen at Sichuan Garden in Brookline- beef tendon, sweet and sour cabbage, szechuan seaweed salad, fiery wontons in chili oil, etc. Mary herself is from Taiwan and her chefs are from Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Of course we can't yet say this is 'the best dimsum in Boston' until we try the fav CH Chinatown places, but if you love dim sum and new things, you really owe it to yourself to eat here. Cash only. Dim sum til 3PM on wkends.
here's brent's review:
Mary Chung Restaurant
460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139