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Atlanta. Chef Liu. When Frozen Food Happens To Good People.

Steve Drucke | Nov 10, 200507:51 AM

I stopped at Chef Liu on Buford Hwy for lunch yesterday.

A few minutes before my order came up, a cook came out of the kitchen and opened the big white chest freezer out by the register. He pulled out a food service bag of frozen dumplings and checked the label. A few minutes later my 'Fried Pork Dumplings' arrived.

I mentally compared them to the hand-formed cigar shaped fried dumplings I had had last week at China Kitchen in the Chinatown Square Food Court. The dumpling skin at China Kitchen had a nice pull to them.

Chef Liu's frozen ones yesterday were merely doughy--albeit not in any way bad.

Neither was it was a good day at Chef Liu all around. The Leek Pie was dripping grease, as much as a reheated funnel cake at a third rate country fair. Its beautifully roped pastry edge, which had once charmed me, now evoked nothing if not that same chest freezer.

The ten watt bulb flickered. I now understand why Ari reported offline that his return visit to Chef Liu was underwhelming.

For Northern style dim sum, I'll stick in the future to the limited but honest offerings of Frank Ma's alumni / dumpling chef who with his wife is now running and cooking at China Kitchen.

The emperor has new clothes. Mea culpa. Ranch Market for dumplings, anyone?

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