Sunday, February 14, 2016

Chopstix Gourmet

I must apologize for the infrequent posting here. It is not that new and exciting places have not been visited needing review, it is that I have gotten complacent about writing reviews. I am hoping to change that.

I love dim sum. The daughter of a (American)Chinese restaurant owner told me some top secret tips. Hello??? How is it top secret if you are telling me???
I was told this is where the Chinese restaurant owners go to eat. I was also told that because I was white, I might be the only white guy there. The best part about what I was told is that no one knows about it. 

Located at 1201 67th Street, Rosedale Maryland, in a light industrial complex is  Chopstix Gourmet. It is kind of easy to find once you get past the labor union hall, the oxygen distribution facility, and the industrial fasters distributor. 

You go in this entrance. Around the right side is an indoor parking garage. You can catch a shuttle to the Horse Shoe Casino from here. Go, gamble a while, return for a meal, then head back to double down. I didn't come to gamble, I came for underground, restaurant owner dim sum. I came to find out about the  top secret dim sum parlor of east Baltimore.

When you enter, do not get confused by the long hall way that looks to go no where. Just keep walking even though your confusion is telling you you are lost and this cannot be the place.

Now it is looking familiar.  I must confess I have a new way of judging a place; I go to the bathroom before I am seated. The bathroom here was sparkling clean. Actually the entire place was. This is rather contrary to the worn out, tired status of just about all Chinese restaurants visits with exception of Hunan Taste.

We came to eat but would be remise in saying this place has some fantastic fish tanks and pond set ups. Make sure you take the time to walk around and take them in. They are above door ways, as room separations, and as feature displays. 

This place is no secret, it feeds hundreds of people in a day, I am just late in hearing about it. There are multiple dining rooms all filled to the rim with diners. This place is not only where all the Chinese restaurant owners come, but all their friends and their friends too. I was far from the only white person there. There were people of many ethnic groups dining there. One thing that is typical of this place is that it is incredibly busy. The staff moves at a frantic pace but is ever so attentive to the few moments they give you. I did noticed they do not show you everything on the cart unless you make them. It is assumed you will not want the chicken feet or fishballs(balls made of fish not balls of the fish) in curry sauce. 

Usually the first few carts fill up our table because we cannot help but say yes to everything. We tried something different this time to force pace ourselves; one item, per cart at any time.  I highly recommend doing it this way. The ladies behind the carts are not so happy, they want you to take as many as they can offer you. 
I must say that everything we tried was better than any place we have had dim sum before. I am not an expert by any means, but of the 18 or so places we have had dim sum, this was the tastiest yet. Even the tea was better than any place we had been before. Nothing was unique. Nothing on the menu was different than anyplace we had been before, but everything just tasted so much better here. My only real complaint was that the selection of items was not the greatest. Perhaps were were not shown everything, but none the less the selection was rather limited.  It was incredibly busy when we walked in. It kind of thinned out after we sat down, then got busy again as we were leaving. Perhaps the offerings increased with the next wave of people.

Two items I must rave about; 
To the left is a soft rice noodle sheet stuffed with roast pork. Some places call this a crepe. That sucker was intensely good. The pork was just so tender and flavored strongly. It was just the best thing we had. I kept hoping for the shrimp version of it to come around. It never did. 
To the right is something I see in just about every dim sum place. I suspect it is an Americanized item closely related to General Tao chicken and egg of young and having nothing to do with China proper. It is a shrimp ball wrapped in bacon.  It is fried. Anything wrapped in bacon is good. The shrimp ball filling however is very good on it's own. At most places the filling is just shrimp. Here it has more, it has great mouth appeal. 
I should also say the beef short ribs in black bean rocked. 
The chicken feet were awesome. Fairly meaty.
The turnip cake was fair. I like a little more pork and a little more crisp to the outside.
The beef tendon tasted great but had a texture that just did not sit well with me. We tried it, but would probably avoid trying it again.

She is giving it a big thumbs up. We will be back again very soon.

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