Category Archives: Chinese

Red Farm

Yesterday morning, I was awoken by a phone call from my friend Lauren, who, as always, was trying to convince me to meet her for dumplings in Chinatown. Despite my Asian heritage, I generally can’t start my day off with shrimp and pork. But being the salesperson she is, Lauren convinced me to meet her at Red Farm, the new, modern, farm-style dim sum house just blocks away from my apartment in the West Village. Considering all of the buzz surrounding this place, I was dreading the two hour wait, but we were surprisingly seated at the communal table immediately.

front entrance

With its red-checker table clothes, long wooden benches, and barn-style decor, Red Farm looks more like a southern pie shop than a dumpling house. But after our marathon Chinese meal enhanced with delicious brunch cocktails, I am further convinced that looks truly are deceiving. Our group of four was able to taste almost every small plate I wanted on the menu, but I will definitely be back to dapple in the entree section that my dumpling-hungry eyes completely ignored.

vermicelli noodles with shortribs and mesclun greens

pineapple arugula salad

best soup dumplings ever

pork dumplings with tomato

Though every dumpling was outstanding, our unanimous favorite was the pork and crab soup dumplings. These delicious little bundles were served with soup spoons, which served as a vessel to catch any of the succulent pork broth that escaped the steamed package. The broth was buttery, meaty, and rich – the entire dumpling was a soft, more decadent version of any other dumpling I’ve had before.

soup dumpling

The crispy duck and crab dumplings were incredible as well, though I misinterpreted the description – these aren’t steamed dumplings with crispy duck, these are crispy fried dumplings with tender duck, served as four little fried sting rays surrounding an ocean of rich curry broth with okra and eggplant. The smoked salmon bruschetta was interesting and every lox-lovers dream: salty, fresh smoked salmon with a dollap of caviar on a thin slice of fried eggplant.

duck and crab dumplings

salmon bruschetta

Of course, a post about Red Farm would not be made complete without a shout out to the Pac Man shrimp dumplings. The picture speaks for itself.

pac man shrimp dumplings

Every bit was incredible, and service was just as noteworthy. And considering the owner is an evident fan of “young girls eating his food,” I’ll definitely be back with a mitigated fear of table waits.

Grade: A

Location: 529 Hudson @ West 10th

Website: http://www.redfarmnyc.com

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Filed under Chinese, Fun Group Dinner, Parents in Town, West Village

Chinatown Brasserie

After watching Giada sing praises about the dumplings at Chinatown Brasserie in her Weekend Get-Away show on Food Network, I put the Noho restaurant at the top of my must-try list. Unfortunately, my craving for Chinese food only comes around once a blue moon (or along with every incurable hang-over), but when it arrives, I rarely have the energy to trek to Chinatown where the real stuff is found. After my meal at Chinatown brasserie this weekend, I think I’ve found the perfect lazy woman’s substitute.

The restaurant has the stature and dim lighting of other well-known swanky spots like Buddakan or Beauty and Essex, but the decor, waitstaff uniforms, and furniture are a mix of French and Chinese by design. Though the place looks fancy, the menu has pretty wide coverage of the typical Chinese staples that I grew up on, such as crispy Peking duck with all the fixings. But to cure my empty stomach, we ordered a variety of dim sum and traditional mains. The most memorable dumpling was the Shanghai Soup Dumplings, which, as my friend instructed me, are consumed by biting the top, sucking out all the hot soup incapsulated in the skin, and then eating the remainder whole. The broth was rich, flavorful, and creamy, and it helped me slow down the process of eating as many dumplings as fast as I could.

shrimp and pork dumplings on left; shanghai dumplings on right

sauteed sea bass

I absolutely loved the mushu shiitake, which I expected to be bland. The heartiness of the mushrooms and saucey vegetables totally disguised the fact that there wasn’t an ounce of meat in the dish. Served traditionally with plum sauce and thin rice pancakes, it brought me back to my weekly Chinese food take-out night with my parents that I used to dread like the plague. Now that I’ve had a long enough break from practically the only food delivery option in San Francisco, I can appreciate the irreplaceable, satiating quality of hot, comforting chinese food.

The glass noodle salad was a refreshing yet somewhat boring break from the grease of the rest. Plain glass noodles stacked on top of a hodge podge of mixed greens and random vegetables was a welcome palette cleanser, but nothing exciting.

There’s no mystery behind Chinatown Brasserie. The food is over-priced, and you can definitely find better Chinese food if you go the extra mile and navigate the overwhelming land of Chinatown. But if you want traditional Chinese food in a traditionally posh New York setting, there’s no better place than this restaurant.

Grade: A-

Location: 380 Lafayette Street @ Great Jones Street

Website: http://www.chinatownbrasserie.com

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Filed under Asian, Chinese, Nolita