Vegetarian Dim Sum House
Chinatown, New York City, New York
This night began earlier when my hostess, bartender extraordinaire Miss Chockie, took me to La Maison Cointreau for an evening of booze-soaked education and history of Cointreau. A handful of drinks with just enough small bites to keep me upright later and it was time for real sustenance. My hostess and I grabbed a cab from Greenwich Village to Chinatown where we met up with Jake, Miss Chockie’s vegan fiance. Admittedly, when I’d been told we were heading to a vegetarian dim sum restaurant I was worried. Not just the usual omnivore-who-is-desperately-in-need-of-meat kind of concern, but the legit concern of someone who is soy sensitive due to a wonky thyroid.
Chockie reassured me….well, at least I think she did. To be honest, this night is kind of hazy in my memory and my phone with all of my notes died approximately five days later. In my hand. While I was on a hunt for bagels and Indian food. I found both, thank goodness, but getting to Philadelphia the next day proved to be a feat I’d not prepared for since before the dark ages of not owning a cell phone. Dark days, my friends, dark days.
This probably would have been overkill had I been sober, but as it was, these sweet and fried buns were beyond welcome to act as the first battalion to attack the sea of alcohol swimming in my brain and belly.
I ate a lot of this dish because it was easy to avoid the soy and had the fried, sloppy sauce I was desperately craving. However, for a restaurant specifically for vegans and vegetarians, I was beyond disappointed that they chose to use canned mushrooms for this dish. There is really no excuse for it.
Not good, just greasy and crunchy. I don’t even know what was in them, but I am guessing fake shrimp.
I made an exception on the soy avoidance for this because rice shrimp rolls are one of my favorite dim sum bites. While I prefer the real deal when it comes to the shrimp, the rice wrapper was just lovely and was a welcome addition to my attempts at soaking up the alcohol.
I don’t recall the contents, but the doughy, glutenous spinach based dumpling was the star of this dish.
I did not bother to try these, because I’m not fond of Chinese pork buns, mock or otherwise, but they were well received as they are kind of spiced and nicely seasoned.
Finally, no dim sum meal would be complete without some sort of sweet, and I believe I was the one who insisted on this dish. Perhaps for normalcy, perhaps for the sake of a fried banana drizzled in honey. Either way, it was glorious and just the finishing touch I needed to enter sobriety.
Overall, I wouldn’t return to Vegetarian Dim Sum House simply because I’m soy intolerant and have trouble enough managing when I do want to eat Asian food with soy in it. However, this evening served its purpose in offering up some direly needed heavy comfort food, perfect for soaking up all of alcohol I’d sloshed at La Maison Cointreau. I’d recommend this place for local New York vegans/vegetarians and those visiting looking for a Chinatown experience.
VEGETARIAN DIM SUM HOUSE
24 Pell St
(At Doyers St)
New York, NY 10013
Tel: (212) 577-7176