There are those who go crazy for dim sum, and others who regard dumplings as mere appetizers. (Fools!) Put me in the former category—in an Asian restaurant, I usually prefer a selection of dumplings to be the meal in itself. (In fact, lately my dining companions and I have come to the conclusion that forgoing the main course in favor of a generous, even endless, helping of shared apps is the more satisfying—and social way to dine.)
I’ve been known to get off the train or plane in a new city and immediately google “best dumplings.” And on trips to Hong Kong and Shanghai, the endless bamboo dumpling steamers at breakfast color some of my most indulgent memories.
So blessed be Hutong, the Miami outpost of the mini-chain that is represented in the global culinary capitals of New York, Dubai, Hong Kong and London. The décor—at once soaring, textured and mysterious—heightens expectations, but in truth, once the dim sum begins appearing, you forget where you are.
Many diners will immediately spot the prawn and black truffle dumplings as one of the menu’s stars, and these shiny onyx-skinned delicacies didn’t disappoint, with savory flavors that debut as subtle on the tongue, and then blossom with richness. Just as impressive were the truffle mushroom bao (steamed, filled buns), which look as if they were foraged from a secret forest, and then polished into diminutive works of art.
My friend and I didn’t mind the repetition of ingredients—it was a mushroom and truffle kind of lunch. The closest thing on the menu to my dim sum mainstay—steamed vegetable dumplings—were the wild mushroom and spinach dumplings, which were green and pinched into star shapes by loving hands in the kitchen. Thick and chewy on the outside, these delivered the slight crunch on the inside that I crave when I take the lighter (veggie) dim sum route.
And as for the main course? I shrugged off convention. My eye drifted back to the left side of the menu. We had somehow missed the pan-seared ginger lobster bao. When the quality is so high and the preparation so unique and meticulous, there’s always room for more dim sum.
By Drew Limsky