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Though not eligible for the Big Dance since it’s not a pure Chinese food play, The Chinese Quest does like to take the time to recognize other Asian restaurants when they open and to provide the guidance that our loyal followers have come to expect from us. One such restaurant is Kai Burgers & Dumplings that opened yesterday, November 9, 2021, in Great Neck Plaza, NY. To say that the Village of Great Neck Plaza has experienced a pandemic of restaurant and store closings over the last few years is an understatement. It is great to see, and to welcome, those adventurous souls willing to still take a chance. And, Burgers & Dumplings may be up to that daunting challenge.
The much-anticipated opening of Kai Burgers & Dumplings at 7 South Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, NY 11021, came to impress when Mini-Mee, aka The Dumpling King, and I went for an early dinner there today. We were eagerly looking forward to trying it out as soon as it opened.
Of course, the menu, as you would expect, offers burgers, and smashed burgers at that, and Dumplings! Burgers range in size from 5oz all the way up to a Whopping one pound burger, and you can get single or double patties. I can’t imagine anyone ordering a double pound-burger. Now that I have thrown down that gauntlet, I bet people will be lining up to order just that.
A single 5oz cheeseburger is $7.99, or elevate your meal to Deluxe, which comes with French Fries, Cole Slaw, and a Soda for a mere $12.50.
Dumplings are $7.99 for half a dozen (we got seven, shhhhh!). To make the order a dozen dumplings for just a few dollars more. Currently, there are only three different types of dumplings on the menu.
I asked Danny, the owner, and head chef, why “burgers” AND “dumplings”? He said, Dumplings are a staple dish of my people, and my mother makes all kinds”. The burgers he said, because of how much his friends loved the burgers he made on his outdoor barbeque. They thought it so delicious that he had to sell them! So, the seed was planted, and Kai Burger and Dumplings sprouted to life!
Danny made it a point to let us know that he was very particular about the ingredients that go into every dish, and only the best would be used. That in itself is a great testimony to an owner who takes such pride in his food and caters to people who expect only the very best. Like the residents of Great Neck!
What I was totally not expecting to see was a full bar fully stocked at Grand Opening. I’m not sure if the patron came with the bar, or he just found his new watering hole. He seemed very content.
The restaurant is very modern looking. Two flat-panel TV’s were tuned to tennis, and heavy metal was blaring (Tip to Danny: Change the music. Please?) The music was so off-putting that it wasn’t pleasant to be there.
So, what did the Dumpling King and I have?
Hometown Classic Dumplings – Pan-fried and filled with “quality pork belly, shrimp, and chives:
The dumplings, even to the Dumpling King himself, were excellent. I didn’t quite care for the dipping sauce, it was a little too spicy for my taste. I asked Danny if he was planning on adding a wider variety of dumplings to the menu, but it somehow got lost in the translation, which surprised me since Danny speaks perfect English.
Hamburger Deluxe (which French Fries, Cole Slaw, Lettuce, Tomato, and Soda) – Made just like he would for his friends and family. The French fries were out of this world. Possibly the best I have ever had. And that’s saying a lot. They were perfect. You could tell that the quality of beef in the burger was high. It was cooked to perfection. One word of warning if I may, the dressing was VERY hot!! Next time I would ask for it without the dressing, and I would suggest you do too if you don’t like very spicy dishes. The lettuce was crisp and crunchy, the tomato looked like it could be the idealized version of what a tomato should look like. The Dumpling King opted for cheese on his hamburger, I passed on the cheese.
All in all, we would say that Kai Burger & Dumplings met our expectations, and we would go there again, and we feel you should try it too. Not because it’s great to see a new restaurant open in Great Neck, but because the food was very good and reasonably priced.
We think you are going to like it. We wish Kai Burger & Dumplings lots of mazel. Let’s all do our part as we come out of the pandemic and let’s show our support of local businesses too.
祝你好運 – Good luck!! – בהצלחה
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)