Bamboo House...in Ridgewood...
A thread on another BB about "dive" restaurants got me thinking...and craving the Bamboo House in Ridgewood. Now, this is a real "dive" kind of place...aesthetics only!!! And I mean "dive" in the nicest way. I like "dive" places...with excellent food!
Bamboo House is a small -- very small -- place, at the "end" of town" on South Broad Street, sandwiched between the large liquor store, Masago, Sook, and a small "antique" type store. If you don't know it or haven't been there, and you drive on S. Broad, yes, you've passed it a hundred times, LOL. So, how small is this place? Well depending on the table set-up, there is room no more than 4 tables there...that's right, 4 tables. Aside from small -- this is a no-frills, simple, basic, "dive" kind of place...and it's excellent!
But...you go here for the food!!! Period.
The menu here is straight-forward -- some "chef's specials" which you might find at a typical Chinese restaurant, a beef, chicken, etc. section -- all the typical stuff. There's a few specials off the menu, similar to your "daily" specials. But that's where this place differs from almost every other Chinese restaurant.
On to the food...The dumplings here are very good, excellent -- and on our recent visit, we had the "Mom's dumplings" -- which we were told are the "most popular" dumplings. These are steamed, with a tasty pork and shrimp (and possibly chicken) filling. The pork didn't seem like the typical "pork" mixture you find in typical dumplings. This one seemed a bit "lighter" with less "filler" and who knows what. Very nice flavor. The pieces of shrimp were clearly identifiable, and a nice size, considering the size of the dumpling. The portion came with 10 steamed dumplings -- very nice flavor and taste -- they were excellent. I wasn't very hungry, and wanted to go "basic" so I ordered the Sesame chicken. It was excellent, compared to the typical "sesame chicken" you get from your local take-out place. It was "lightly" fried, yet you still got a nice, simple, "crunch" when you bit into it. This was not your over-fried, doughy, super-crunch pieces of chicken. I don't know about you, but I don't like that type at all as that's like the "fast-food" version to me. This has nice flavor, very good profile and balance -- it was prepared/executed very well. We also had the "Rainbow chicken" -- I think that was the name, and this was beyond your typical steamed chicken -- it was steamed chicken, with a mixture of colorful vegetables and was served in a clear, light, garlic sauce, which really made the dish kind of pop. A very nice dish, healthy, and tasty.
The service, like the place is basic, but friendly and attentive -- the highlight being that the owner/chef is very hands on. She delivers dishes, asks you questions, tells you about dishes, etc. She's very nice and very personable -- and has a great story about coming here to the US and how she opened a restaurant. She's been doing this for almost 30 years! And she's doing it really well. She has a waiter and busboy, and the busboy doubles as a delivery person. It works -- how many people do you need for 4 tables? LOL. The delivery and takeout business is huge! It has to be with 3 or 4 tables, LOL. Orders are being phoned in constantly, with people stopping on the way home from work. I don't know their delivery area, but if you are nearby, take out is always an option. I've been in the area before for a meeting, and wanted to dine in, but it was full and I had some timing/time constraint issues, so I ended up at Masago. Maybe two or three times, I'd walk in ask for a table, and she'll give you a time frame as to when a table would be available. Once my friend and I were able to wait, another time or two, I had a meeting/time constraint so I couldn't wait.
Bottom line -- this place is a small, hidden gem in Ridgewood! Excellent food.