Two years ago I promised a review of the dim sum at the then-new branch of Chau Chow in Dorchester, but I don’t think I ever wrote one. So here, at long last, is that review.
Barbara and I ate dim sum there this morning (for what must be at least the sixth time — so you can see that we like it). Chau Chow serves traditional dim sum, where the servers roll carts around the restaurant and you order small quantities (Chinese tapas?) by pointing, not from a menu. There are, of course, both advantages and disadvantages to this system: aside from being authentic and just generally cool, the rolling-cart method has the advantage that you can see what you’re getting; it has the disadvantages that the food can sometimes come in very rapid succession, and you don’t always know what you’re getting, especially when the server speaks little English or very heavily accented English. At Chau Chow there are several servers in this category, but they’re all friendly and willing to try. The food is quite delicious, at least to these moderately educated Western palates. I don’t know what customers at the extremes would think — either the extreme of wanting totally Americanized food or the extreme of wanting nothing familiar. Perhaps both of those groups would be disappointed.
There are several dishes about which Barbara and I can agree: we’re both very fond of them. This morning we had scrumptious pork-and-shrimp shumai, unctuous eggplant that’s probably bad for us, yummy ground pork dumplings, the always delicious fried taro cakes (with a bit of shrimp in them), two different kinds of lovely shrimp-and-scallion dumplings, some not-to-be-missed lobster dumplings (yum!) — all of those were items we both loved. Do you begin to detect any themes there? In addition, we had scallion dumplings (which Barbara liked more than I did, since I’m put off by the flavor that steaming imparts to scallions) and stuffed mushrooms (which I love, but which have a texture that doesn’t appeal to Barbara). Needless to say, this was too much food, so we took quite a bit home to reheat for breakfast and/or lunch tomorrow. The entire bill came to $42.00 including tax and tip, which sounds like a lot for breakfast or brunch but was actually quite reasonable when you consider all the leftovers it provided.
So go to Chau Chow, especially if you have a group of more than two people, so you can sample more choices. Maybe you’ll try the chicken feet.