I went to World Tong this Saturday with my best Dim Sum buddy (she's chinese and knows what the dishes are, I just sit there dumbly and eat them...fine with me!) and a few other foodies and open minded eaters.
I have done the Gum Fong and Pearl's pilgrimages, and loved the dim sum at both...no complaints and definitely the best dim sum in the city, but I think World Tong is my fave. I think that the difference is that while the quality at all three are good I think that World Tong takes first place for me for two reasons: (1) because their skins are thinner which means that each mouthful is less doughy and the look of each item is more enticing, and (2) because they are a little more innovative with the dishes. Gum Fong and Pearls do what I think of as traditional dum sum and do it well (though I am sure that it would be different in China, I mean just that it's the standard dishes that you find at most NYC dim sum places); World Tong just tweaks it a little, but without getting too precious or non-chinese. Usually it was something like grilling something lightly instead of just steaming it, or adding extra chives. These little things were nice touches that added to the taste and the look of the dishes, and made the overall experience, as well as individual dishes more memorable.
Another thing that pleased me at World Tong were the "desserts". They had a wider variety of dishes and the choices were unique. We tried the usual coconut custard with taro which was really refreshing and not too sweet (fortunately). The custard with red bean was very nice but a little too sweet for my tastes. We also got these things that were like daifuku tubes dusted with coconut and a green tea mousse in the middle; the mousse didn't taste much like green tea but it was good. The last dessert we got was deep fried balls of green dough filled with sweet black sesame paste. These were light but firm and delicious. Nice contrast with all the custardy stuff we'd been eating, but also a contrast between the fried stuff on the outside and the sweet, earthy black sesame paste.
Someone reported that the shrimp dishes were particular good here, and all of us agreed with this assessment. The beef and pork dishes were good, but the shrimp ones stood out.The tea at World Tong was chrysantemum tea which was so good, none of us could stop drinking it.
The details: 18th Ave and 62nd Street in Bensonhurt; we took the F to 18th Ave and then the B8 bus to 62nd street; there is also an N/R stop around there.
We got there at 1 pm and the place was packed; we waited about 10 minutes at the most for a table, and the crowds kept coming, usually getting seated in about the same amount of time. There were lots of families, including some screaming kids, but nothing unpleasant, just boisterous and fun.
The food kept coming the whole time, unlike some places that slow down after noon. Five of us gorged ourselves for $60 including tip.