Tim Ho Wan, the acclaimed Hong Kong based dim sum restaurant opened a second location in Hell’s Kitchen after 2 years in the East Village and announcing several future restaurants in the United States. There, Chef Yinghui Zhou, a 30 year dim sum veteran, is serving a menu that I found mainly catered towards non-vegetarian diners. They do have few vegetarian dishes that are properly marked on their menu, but, the day we went, several dishes were not available and most of them were vegetarian! And in that case, sadly, they do not provide any option to accommodate for their lack of product.
The place opened beginning of November and I was thinking that the best day to go would be the day before Thanksgiving, rather than waiting for a weekday or week end, thinking that people would travel. It might have been less crowded than usual, but still: as we arrived, they put our name on the wait list, telling us that the wait would be 30 minutes and that we would receive a text when our table would be ready. 40 minutes later, we got seated. They gave us a menu printed on a piece of paper where we had to mark the dishes we wanted and, fortunately, looking at the images on the table set, helped us understand what was what. Here is what we had:
For drinks, Jodi got a blood orange ginger ale and I got a Tsingtao beer (they also have wine and a couple of cocktails):
Steamed egg cake (vegetarian): interesting dish for sure. It was spongy and fluffy, quite light and slightly sweet. I would easily imagine that as a dessert.
Har Gow or steamed shrimp dumplings: very good, the shell was perfectly made and the filling very tasty with large chunks of shrimp in it.
Baked BBQ Pork buns: this is apparently their signature dish. Well, after one bite you understand why: it was superb! very flavorful, it had a slight crispiness and I had no difficulty eating the three buns on top of the rest…
Steamed rice rolls with shrimp and Chinese chives: very good, light, the rice rolls melted in my mouth.
Pan fried noodles (vegetarian): these thin noodles were delightfully crispy.
Dessert: French toast with custard Tim Ho Wan style. This is a must have: deliciously crispy, with a nice custard in the middle, I would eat tons of it.
So, overall Tim Ho Wan was good, not expensive for NYC and the service was on point. Waiting a bit for a table is a bit annoying but it is worth it. The only negatives are the limited choice of vegetarian dishes that is worse when you end up like us on a day where they are short in ingredients and the bill, where I realized that they charged me for a dish they could not make and I had to replace with the pork buns (also charged): so, make sure you check the bill before paying... Despite this, I will recommend it for some delicious dim sum when not in Chinatown, even if you do not get the fun of seeing carts going around.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Tim Ho Wan - 610 9th Ave., New York City, NY