Sunday, November 11, 2007
Excellent Essex Street Mystery Dumplings
When I grew up, Chinese on the Lower East Side meant Bernstein's, the Kosher-Chinese marvel. The neighborhood has changed a lot over the years, and while the Chinese remains, Bernstein's is long gone. Not that I miss it: their Chinese food was inedible. (I do miss Ratner's, whose borscht I still crave) But good Chinese food is found in abundance on the Lower East Side now, and one of the tastier establishments is the Lovely Wife's lunch place of choice.
There is no name to this place, except perhaps "Vegetable Steamed Dumplings." It consists of a lady, a serving area, a kitchen and three tables. The place is located at 27 A Essex Street, 10002 in the "UAS" (sic) (212-579-2700). Although the Lovely Wife and her colleagues love the place for their excellent lunches, I like the take out dumplings, which the lovely wife has honored us with several times recently. They come in a variety of flavors besides their vegetable namesake, although the vegetable dumplings are excellent, with well but but clearly identifiable pieces of vegetables in a decidedly non-vegetable broth which taste excellent steamed. The boys and I preferred the meat, but this may just be our inner carnivore coming through. They are sold by the 25 count for a price so low I still can not believe it. They freeze well, and tasted good several weeks after buying them.
If you are not fortunate enough to have a loved one work on the Lower East Side, it is still worth it to take a trip down there to buy these dumplings. Steam them up, serve them with a 50% soy/50% white vinegar sauce, and impress your friends.