East is West

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By Nancy J. Brandwein

It’s about time a full-fledged dumpling house moved west—and north—of Chinatown. A few storefronts off Broadway and almost hidden, this new dumpling house packs lots of flavor in its bulging purse-like packets. I have become so used to frying up frozen potstickers from M2M that I had forgotten how good a pork dumpling could be. The pork and chive ($5.50/eight pieces steamed) hold together well when you take that first juicy bite—no Vienna sausage-shaped wad of pork pops out of the skin, as happens so often. Made fresh and fresh tasting, these are livened by ample chives and the homemade dipping sauce—tangy with vinegar and garlic. My husband loved his so much he slurped leftover sauce from the shallow dish.

Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein

More adventurous diners can try the fried golden eel dumplings ($5.50/four pieces) or the pan-fried ugly dumpling ($3.25/two pieces). The former look like retro-wontons, with crispy, bubbled wrappers. “Wow, these are eel-y,” we exclaimed, dipping them into yellow honey mustard. Promising vermicelli, celery, chive and egg, the ugly dumplings had only the latter two ingredients and seemed like heavy empanadas. Still, what’s one false note? The tea is strong and smoky, the service is friendly and I’m keen to try the dumpling noodle soups ($8.65 to $9.65).

East Dumpling House*
248 W. 106th St.
212-666-2662

*Packages of East’s dumplings to go are available at Tea Magic, 2878 Broadway, between West 111th and 112th streets.

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