>> Sunday, September 27, 2015
EAST OCEAN PALACE
113-09 Queens Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Dim sum brunch, the Chinese tradition of eating various forms of filled dough churrascaria style, was something that I had, until just now, never before tried. Shameful, I admit. Now that I have, I'm all but certain to do it again.
For the uninitiated, the dim sum brunch is nothing at all like the Euro/American brunch you're used to. There are no mimosas, no eggs benedict, no reading the Sunday Times while slowly nursing your sixth coffee. Instead you sip tea as an endless stream of carts are wheeled to your table, their pushers offering you random buns, dumplings, chicken feet, and rice bowls. The place was packed when we arrived around 11:30. We waited about fifteen to twenty minutes for our number to be called. By the time we left, the line to get in had people waiting on the sidewalk. My guess would be that by 1pm, you should expect a wait of forty-five minutes or more.
My ex-girlfriend used to say "I want all of the food! Because food!" That pretty much encapsulates the experience. The sheer quantity and variety of what got wheeled up to our table was astounding. No sooner would a cart lady give us a dish than another one would show up. There's no menu. What are these things? Who knows? You don't speak Chinese and they don't speak English. Just point and take. Also, loosen your belt a notch (you'll thank me later).
I'm not going to even attempt to tell you what the names of any of this stuff is, and the photos are not 100% of what we ordered. Suffice it to say, there's a lot of pork, a lot of shrimp, and more carbs than you can imagine. Kosher celiacs on Atkins, this place ain't for you. On the whole, it was delicious. There were a few misses (Pike liked the sticky fried rice and the shrimp wrapped in egg and I didn't. I liked the fried tofu; he took one bite and pushed it aside), but in the end, we ate so much that those few little kerfuffles barely mattered.
|There's pork in there.|
|Dough soaked in chicken broth. Like a matzo ball. Kinda.|
(I've been told that this was a fish broth. Maybe everything really does taste like chicken)
|Fried dough, wrapped in a noodle, buried under a sweet sesame and peanut sauce. Get this.|
|A soft bun stuffed with guess what? Did you guess pork?|
|Another kind of pork bun, this one with a glossy sweet glaze.|
Plus fried tofu and steamed shrimp wrapped in fried egg.
|Custard filled. There's the one with a pink dot and one with a yellow dot. The pink dot was better.|
We ate so much. It just kept coming and we just kept saying "yeah okay, we'll get that too." Pike's girlfriend, who joined us, pointed at one final dish and as soon as it hit the table said, "I don't know why I did that. I'm on autopilot." Still, the whole thing only cost $22 per person with tip. That's less than just about anywhere.
On the whole, this was awesome. On days when you want a lazy, traditional brunch with bacon, coffee, and a strong bloody mary to kill last night's hangover, this would be a poor choice. But if you want a diversion from the norm, you don't have to get on the subway for it.