"No way" I said when I heard the news.
It just couldn't be true. It seemed so ironic, so utterly unfair, yet still so exciting at the same time.
"I can't believe that they are opening a second location of Gourmet Dumpling House right underneath our old condo!"
Yes, my friends. Imagine how I felt when I found out that one of the most popular restaurants in Chinatown - the one that always has a huge crowd outside the door - was opening a second location (called Dumpling House) in Cambridge right on the first floor of my condo - two years after I had moved out.
"We should have never moved" piped Bryan, who still misses the full-service concierge building and all its conveniences (he hates house stuff).
Part of me almost agreed (heh, but not really. I do love my new house).
Though I was bummed we never overlapped with the dumpling house (which would have been pretty awesome), I was still excited that Cambridge was getting the second outpost of a very popular and tasty dumpling restaurant in Chinatown.
We stopped by on a Saturday for lunch. The dining area is much more spacious than the one in Chinatown and overall the space feels bright, airy, and clean.
Of course we had to order the specialty, the soup dumplings (xiao long baos). These tasted similar to the ones in Chinatown, which I think are decent, though they are not my favorite soup dumplings in Boston. One of Bryan's broke when he picked it up, which is always sad because you lose the soup.
Beef with Okra is a classic dish we liked to get at the other location, and this one was similar and pretty enjoyable.
The Sliced Fish, Szechuan Style, looks more spicy than it tastes. It's a flavorful and enjoyable dish, though I was wishing for more Sichuan peppercorn flavor. The guests at the table thought it was pretty good and one of the best dishes at the table.
The Taiwanese Style Sauteed Rice Cake with seafood and vegetables was disappointing. Granted, the dish is not very expensive, which might explain why the seafood inside was not of the highest quality (tiny shrimp, a few pieces of calamari, imitation crab meat). The flavors were so-so, and I probably wouldn't order this again.
The stir fried spinach with garlic was good - cooked just right and seasoned perfectly.
General First Impressions
Overall, the food was solid. Everyone at the table agreed that, at this point, the quality of execution is not quite up to par as the Chinatown location. There's hope, though. I realize that the restaurant just opened and they are still working out kinks. With time, I hope they are able to execute at the same level as their Chinatown sister.
Thankfully, there were several solid dishes, and even at its current state, it's still one of the better Chinese restaurants in Cambridge. Frankly, there really isn't any other Sichuan / dumpling restaurant in Cambridge, so it's really, really nice to have that option so close by. I'm confident I'll be coming back here, especially since it's so close to my home.
Of course, nothing beats having it in my building, but I'll take having a dumpling house 1-mile away.
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