November 26th (Erev Thanksgiving) was the date of our latest excursion on “The Quest”. Little Dumpling is located at 252-20 Northern Blvd in Little Neck. Upon entering, the interior of the place looks new, and clean, with a modern decor. The food is Shanghai and Taiwanese cuisine, with a specialty in Soup Dumplings. The Mees are big fans of Soup Dumplings, so this was a natural place to pick. We had a special guest with us for the evening. Mee Young Joo brought his son, Mee Young Joo-Too. A wonderful addition to the evening! Mee Young Joo-Too brought to the table a younger perspective on the meal.
Our waiter for the evening was Tony. Tony did a great job of helping us pick out dishes that were reflective of the different cuisines. He had a great attitude, and a very pleasant way about him. Little Dumpling is a good restaurant that I thought, quite frankly, was going to be much better. The majority of the dishes were OK, with some that were horrible, and others superb. This place for Mee was real “middle of the road”.
For starters, we had Steamed Vegetable Dumplings, Steamed Soup Dumplings, Spare Ribs in Brown Sauce, and Seafood Hot Pot. The Vegetable Dumplings were bland and boring, and really needed the side sauce to save it. The Soup Dumplings were tasty, although not nearly as hot as they should have been. These dumplings simply cannot compete with the King of all Soup Dumplings – Joe’s Shanghai. The Spare Ribs were good, but not my favorite way to prepare ribs. The meat fell off the bone, were cooked in a thick brown sauce, and served with baby Bok Choi. The Hot Pot was delicious, and a perfect meal for a cold, wet evening. It was very flavorful! The broth was combined with scallops, clams, tofu, cabbage, cellophane noodles, and flounder. Pure Asian Penicillin!!!!
Our main dishes included:
Chicken in Ginger & Basil– a Taiwanese specialty that really hit the mark. Small pieces of chicken in a wonderful light brown sauce with the great flavors of ginger and basil. If I come back to LD, this dish would be a reorder!
Spicy Cabbage – was not so spicy, and very easy to forget.
Eggplant with Basil – looked beautiful, but lacked flavor.
Sauteed String Beans – Like the eggplant, this dish just did not do it for Mee.
The vegetables were less than superb. The single most important discovery that I made on this Quest is how great the Chinese prepare their vegetables. Unfortunately, I cannot say that Little Dumpling did veggies well.
Yong Chow Fried Rice – well done with the flavors of red onion, soybeans, pork, and egg. Nice Job!
With our feet almost out the door, we decided to order one last entree, Oyster Pancakes. I had visions of flat scallion pancakes with chunks of oysters. Not even close. The pancakes were prepared in a sweet, gelatinous sauce that was quite frankly inedible.
This meal had an overall healthy feel to it. The food was not greasy like some Chinese food can be. Something was lacking in the flavor department. The food was good, but not great. We almost never order dessert on our Quest. Let’s face it, the Chinese are not known for their dessert. Tony suggested Chinese Tartufo for dessert. How bad can it be, we asked ourselves? We ordered what turned out to be a metaphor for the entire meal. The tarfufo turned out to be just OK, much like the rest of the dinner. Oh well!
Goodbye for now,
Mee Tsu Yan