Our 2014 family road trip took us east to visit my dad in New Jersey + enjoy adventures in Ocean City, MD, and New York City. The itinerary I planned included stops at restaurants that are reported to be culinary gems. This time: Red Egg.
Way back in April I came across a post (via Twitter) on the best dim sum places in the country. It was no surprise to see a restaurant in Manhattan but HALF-PRICE DIM SUM? That spoke to this cheapo's heart. When The Kid asked to see a Broadway show, and The Huz wanted to see the 9/11 Memorial, my request was for a discount dinner. Do we know how to do a day in Manhattan or what?
There were six of us at the table, as two friends (whom I knew from Twitter but met that day for the first time) joined us. It allowed us to order quite a sampling of the goods. I wish I could be more specific but I forgot to take the receipt with me, which had an itemized listing of our order. I did snap a shot of the order form, though, so I can give you an idea.
|Roast pork buns|
We got the following (I think): pork & shrimp sui mai; seafood sui mai; fish balls; chicken & scallop buns; roast pork buns (for which they are supposedly famous); pork, shrimp, and peanut "fun gaw"; vegetable "fun gaw"; crispy seafood dumpling; chicken skewer; beef skewer; crispy shrimp roll; and garlic spare ribs. They ranged in price from (I think) $4.50 to $6.50.
They gave us two things to dip stuff in: a red paste that I think was made from hot peppers and a translucent orange sauce that was sweet. Not sure that anyone but The Huz tried the hot pepper one but all of us liked the other one, which we assumed to be a duck sauce of sorts. We are a (mostly) wimpy bunch, I guess. The skewers came with their own dipping sauce, a thick, brown one that tasted like a soy reduction. Others liked it but I didn't.
Everything was fresh, flavorful, and cooked well. My favorites were probably the smoky, tender skewers, the chunky fish balls, and the crunchy spare ribs. The crispy shrimp roll was good, too. I wish I had gotten a taste of the crispy seafood dumplings but there were only three in the order and I must've forgotten to get more in the next round.
|Various steamed buns|
The funniest thing was that I had essentially no idea how to start. I'm not sure how I became the dim sum sherpa in the crowd. We ordered a few things at first but it was clear when the food came to the table that we would need to order more. I tried asking the guys that were around for advice—more than one brought food, refilled water, and came when we looked confused, so it was hard to tell who was our server—but they were vague with suggestions. Finally, after we had filled another order card, a man who seemed to be the owner came over and said, "Let the expert help!" He then looked at our choices and said, "Too much food! I know you have money but this is too much!" Then he placed the order. Ha! We laughed as the food kept coming out and we kept eating, especially at the idea that I was over-ordering because I had money to burn. My friends begged me to title the review MAKE IT RAIN DIM SUM. In the end there were only three individual dumplings left on the table.
When the bill came we saw that we had ordered 19 dishes for little over a hundred bucks. Reasonable, right? But then I asked The Expert if that was happy hour pricing and he said he would check...and then came back with a bill for half the amount. I KNOW. Ridiculously cheap. Even for Indy, but we were in Chinatown in Manhattan. Crazy. We tipped on the pre-discount price. You know, because we had plenty of money.
I got the impression from the snazzy website that the place would be big and fancy. Um, not so. The outside is a small, painted black storefront with a black door and a neon sign in a window shaded by black blinds. The inside is somewhat American Hustle with a touch strip club. Think black and red with copious mirrored walls, spherical pendant lights, and booths and niches. In other words, perfect for half-price dim sum.
202 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013