When JuJu gets a craving for a specific food, there is little in the way to convince him to eat anything else. That was the case after Sunday morning hockey. He wanted Dim Sum, no ands, ifs or buts. For the fear that he would suddenly turn green and rip off all his clothes, we relented and decided to hit up East River for some reasonably-priced eats. Besides, no one would want to see him rip off his clothes anyways. Also, we most certainly do not want to see anything green on him either...
Fortunately for us, we were able to snag a table pretty quickly since there was no budging, table-stealing nor foul language. Either these other people in line were not paying attention or they were scared at sight of a very hungry JuJu. Starting with the basics, we had the Haw Gow (shrimp dumpling) and Sui Mai (pork & shrimp dumpling). We found the thin haw gow skin to be somewhat doughy. Inside, the shrimp filling was mousse-like with a moist snap. Flavourwise, these were sweet with a hint of sesame oil. As for the sui mai, they were soft and mousse-like as well. There was a decent amount of shrimp and shiitake mushroom in the mix which afforded both texture and flavour.
Next up was the Shrimp Spring Rolls which were served up piping hot and crunchy. These were not greasy at all (oil was hot enough) where the shrimp filling was sweet and garlicky. There was only a mild snap texture due to the addition of shrimp mousse. JuJu wanted something more substantial, so we got the Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Beef. What JuJu wants, JuJu gets... The noodle exhibited good wok heat where there was a caramelization of flavours without being oil-logged. There was just the right amount of soy for effect whereby the saltiness was kept to a minimum. Texturally, the beef was tender while the sprouts retained their crunch.
Onto the rice noodle rolls, we had both the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll and Beef Rice Noodle Roll. With a good amount of snap-textured shrimp, there was some substance to the roll. Flavourwise, it was mildly seasoned where the shrimp flavour still came through. It was fine on its own without the sweet soy. The noodle itself was thin, yet a touch firm. As for the beef, it was properly tenderized. There was a slight chew to go with the moist beef which was welcomed since many times, the beef is over-processed. There was a balanced amount of green onions for colour and flavour.
I'm not sure why we order the Xiao Long Bao at Cantonese Dim Sum joints because they rarely turn out. However, what JuJu wants, JuJu gets... On cue, the dumpling skin was thick albeit not particularly doughy. Rather, it was soft and easy to chew. The filling was moist and meaty tasting where there was some juice that had hints of ginger and green onion. Then we got an order of mystery dumplings that looked like Chiu Chow Fun Gwor. I'm not sure if we even ordered them. Whatever the case, they weren't very good as they fell apart on contact. The filling was mushy with a mix meat, nuts, pickled veg & dried shrimp. We didn't really care for them.
Despite no one wanting in on the action, I decided to get the Tendon & Tripe anyways. What I want, I get? Well, this time at least... I found the tripe to be soft with a bit of chew left while the tendon was just right straddling the line between soft and firm. Although on the bland side, there was still decent hits of garlic and sweet notes. So far so good, but the Steamed Black Bean Spareribs were not so much. Texturally, these were more dry meaty rather than moist and bouncy. However, most pieces were rib portions with very little fat and cartilage. Where it really fell flat was the seasoning as it was one note tasting like there was a good amount of MSG. Moreover, there was too much starch as the sauce was clumpy.
Into the homestretch, we had the Bean Curd Skin Rolls. The pork filling was on the chewier side rather than a rebound texture. The crunch from the celery was a nice break from the chewy meat. Overall, the dish was bland while the sauce was clumpy. Lastly, we had the Lo Mei Gai (sticky rice) which featured rice that was a bit dry. That might've been exacerbated by the lack of filling. Flavours were good though with a good amount of pickled veg in the meaty mix. Although JuJu was satisfied from being fed, we all agreed that the food was just a smidgen above average. However, with reasonable pricing, East River is an option for casual Dim Sum eats.
- Slightly above average
- Food comes out quick
- Service, what service?
- Some misses with the hits