June 2006 Cheap Eats
Monday through Friday, the dining room is intermittently filled, and you feel like you've wandered into a big banquet hall after the party has broken up. Come Saturday morning, the crowds arrive for dim sum, and the place crackles with energy. Snagging one of the coveted tables in the middle of the room as the metal carts go rattling by and the hawkers advertise their wares is thrilling.
The selection of dim sum is extensive and generally top-notch. There's an array of dumplings (including scallop, shrimp, pork-and-chive, shark's fin), delicately folded shrimp balls, elegant noodle crepes, sesame-seed-topped savory pastries, plates of expertly roast chicken and pork, and warm egg custards. What disappointments do creep in are probably as much a function of the vast number of choices as anything else. Prices have risen and are slightly higher than what you'd pay elsewhere, but there's been no attendant drop in quality.
During the week, you can order dim sum off the menu until 3 pm or roam among the Cantonese menu, which, though it turns out its share of genericized dishes, excels in its simply sauced seafood, from preparations of cuttlefish to heads-on shrimp to fresh lobster.