Gourmet Dumpling House
52 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
The Gourmet Dumpling House is an old favorite of mine. My Stepfather was a huge fan and for many years in a row, we had a tradition of coming to this tiny restaurant the night before Thanksgiving—which was difficult with a big family like ours! But there is an advantage to bringing a crowd because then you can try many kinds of dumplings, and they are just SO good here.
So, needless to say, Soup Dumplings were an absolute MUST since they are a favorite of us both. (Although here they are called “Mini Juicy Dumplings.”) We also ordered Beef and Celery Dumplings. In addition to the two kinds of dumplings we ordered Sautéed Spinach with Garlic and the Sliced Fish Szechuan Style.
No ubiquitous free soup here, but as per usual we probably over-ordered and in any case, we would not be interested because we were so looking forward to the dishes that we did order.
The restaurant was empty at first but, as is often the case, filled up soon after we arrived. The Gourmet Dumpling House is small and if you only have a small party (2-3 people), you may be asked to share a table (but not food, of course,) with other customers.
The first dish out was the Sautéed Spinach with Garlic. Now remember, we have had this dish in three different restaurants, three different weeks, consecutively, and I must say it was the best here. Great flavor, great texture—not overcooked, and the bits of garlic in it were big and cooked perfectly—mellow and not overly bitter.
Can I just say that this restaurant is appropriately named and that the dumplings here are amazing! All of the standard styles of dumpling are very, very, good here. The pork and leek, the chicken and cabbage, or the beef and celery—you can’t go wrong. We had the Beef and Celery Dumplings this time and paid the extra 25 cents to have them pan fried (as opposed to just steamed.) I highly recommend doing that. The dumpling skins are tender (and when pan fried have a deliciously caramelized crisped side.) The filling is savory and juicy with nice bits of crunchy celery that make for a great texture.
I was really looking forward to the Sliced Fish Szechuan Style for several reasons. First of all, my Stepfather LOVED the Sliced Beef Szechuan Style that is served at the Gourmet Dumpling House. Also, if you look at many of the review websites, this particular fish dish is mentioned again and again. This combined with the fact that we had amazing Szechuan Fish last week at Taiwan Café made me really look forward to this dish.
OK, so it looks a little terrifying. We ordered the “Regular” size (as opposed to the “Large”—which I cannot even picture considering the enormous bowl that we were served.) And it looks like “Death by Peppers”—with pieces of white fish, cabbage and bean sprouts floating in a bright red Szechuan sauce and piled high with dried peppers, chili flakes and ground pepper. It IS scary but do not fear. I was quite surprised that it was not as hot as I expected. It is definitely not mild like the version of this dish served at Taiwan Café but if you are someone who enjoys spice (as we do) this is a great dish. It has a nice amount of heat that is balanced by the delicate flaky texture of the fish. If you navigate around the large dried red chili peppers in this dish, you should do alright.
And we rounded out the meal with the Mini Juicy Dumplings with Pork a.k.a Soup Dumplings. It is interesting to note here that the Gourmet Dumpling House (and many other establishments) often offer a pork soup dumpling and a pork AND crab soup dumpling. For me personally, I generally stick with the straight pork soup dumpling because, honestly, I tried the pork and crab variety once (a million years ago) and was not crazy about it. Perhaps next time I will try the “surf ‘n’ turf” version and see what I think.
The Soup Dumplings here are great. The Gourmet Dumpling house is in fact the first place I even tried Soup Dumplings so it should certainly get credit for that. However, The Dumpling Café makes the best Soup Dumplings. Nevertheless, for all other types of dumpling, this is the place to go. Dumplings and spinach here are perfection and if you are someone who enjoys a spicy dish, be sure to order one of the Szechuan dishes as well.