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Boston Area Dumplings

Dumpling Cafe overview


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Dumpling Cafe overview

eatinjeff | Dec 29, 2012 02:07 PM

This place is said to have some of the best XLB in town, and 'hounds that I admire also speak highly their live-tank seafood preparations. Their menu is long and compelling, and for this rundown I'm going to branch out from their well-established strengths and see what they've got in the wheelhouse.

And I have to be honest: everything about this restaurant says "awesome" *except* most of the food, which--for me--is usually in the "pretty decent" range or slightly below. I'll walk you through some menu items I've tried and the grade they've received once wiggling down my gizzard.

(Note: earplugs can't hurt if you're going at off-peak hours: they often play deafening, frantic K-Pop to ensure quickened eating, indigestion and feelings of helplessness.)

Braised Yellow Fish with Brown Sauce
Grade: D
I see this scrawny creature in my dreams and wet the bed.

Simmered Crab with Silk Noodles Hot Pot
Grade: B+
One of their better efforts: crab parts lazing on some mild, brown-flavored silk noodles with minced garlic and veg.

Roast Marinated Bean Curd
Grade: C+
"Roast" in what sense? This is simply that tofurkey loaf from the fridge section at the C-Mart across the street, sliced and garnished with green onions.

Grilled Shrimp Skewers
Grade: B+
A pleasant impaled-prawn appetizer

Sauteed Noodles with Seafood
Grade: C
Mushy linguini with too much pepper. For shame!

Grilled Anchovies Taiwan Style
Grade: B+
My favorite appetizer there; three slender grilled fish, no frills and no sauce. Very nice!

Seafood Noodles Soup
Grade: B-
A good amount of fresh seafood, but too much pepper in the broth! They've committed this same indecency twice on this dish, so I can no longer extend my mercy.

Steamed Dumpling with Vegetables
Grade: B
Serviceable pouches of green stuff.

Ma Po Tofu
Grade: B+
Surprisingly good. No pork, just wiggly tofu and mildly numbing sauce.

Oyster Tofu Soup
Grade: B
Oysters, green onions and tofu cubes in an unsalted broth; long forgotten before I even finished it, but pleasant enough (lots of oysters, at least!).

Hot and Sour Fish Soup
Grade: C+
Not even remotely hot, or sour (save for the single tomato chunk bobbing awkwardly against some squid scraps). Maybe they just didn't think I could handle the "real" thing, whatever it is? Pah! My parents were calling me "Hot and Sour" before... wait, I lost my train of thought.

Sauteed Squid with Pickled Mustard Greens
Grade: A-
A very respectable version of this pungent, bilious favorite.

Flounder with Sweet and Sour Sauce
Grade: D+
Breading with take-out-packet sauce.

Szechuan Style Steamed Flounder
Grade: A-
The best thing I've had there, though it pales next to the same dish at the place up the street (hint: its blessed name rhymes with Caiwan Tafe). And, of course, next to the several variations on this dish at the marvelous Thailand [sic!] Cafe in Central-- more on that restaurant in a later post...

Though my overall experience at this place has been in the B/B- range, I'm open to suggestions on their (fairly epic) menu! They do some things well, so...

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