When my wife Jun and I met our mutual friend at Pinch Chinese, a Chinese restaurant that happened recently in SoHo, I was somewhat skeptical if this place can deliver. Our view of a great dim sum place is in part shaped by our perception of how authentic the place looks by Chinatown standard, and the bright and modern setting of Pinch that is so remote from what we typically encountered at a Chinatown place like Shanghai Asian Manor gave me a pause. Sure, the restaurant scouted an executive chef from Din Tai Fung, a sprawling Taiwan-based chain that has foothold all over the world, but such profile doesn’t necessarily mean that the kitchen can capably execute. Jun and I were, therefore, pleasantly surprised that almost all the dishes we had at Pinch were actually delicious.
The somewhat concise menu at Pinch starts with dim sums and other small dishes, followed by larger dishes. I wouldn’t quite call the food at Pinch to be 100% authentic Chinese, but you can still have a lot of satisfaction from the items coming from the kitchen (you can actually see the dumpling cooks working behind the glass). I wished the soup dumplings were a little more generous in size, but both the more traditional ones with pork and the “surf and turf” ones with seafood and pork had rich flavor of the broth. Spicy wontons were also quite delicious with a right amount of spiciness and good overall texture. After all of our dishes came out, we ended up ordering another round of pork soup dumplings and spicy wontons. We are not picky eaters, but we also often do not re-order dim sums unless they are memorable, so that’s tell you how much we enjoyed these dishes.
Another standout dish was delightfully crunchy house special shrimp that came “kung pao’d” style. For larger dishes, we ordered pork belly accompanied by bok choy and house stewed tofu as well as snow crab along with fermented black bean and glass noodle. Of these two, I was a huge fan of the snow crab. The textural combination between the crab and the thin glass noodle was outstanding, and the overall flavor was also balanced for a surprisingly addictive dish. Pork belly was also good, but perhaps a little bit too sweet for my taste.
Getting a reservation at Pinch wasn’t too difficult but the dining space was packed with people during our meal, so I would recommend booking a table in advance. There is full bar with wine list that focuses curiously on different merlot types (perhaps that is the owner’s favorite wine type?). Don’t let the appearance of Pinch fool you. It may looks like one of those SoHo tourist traps that draw people for its appearance and location, but the competent execution of putting together Chinese food with modern twists at Pinch means you should give a try next time you have a craving for dim sum.
- Creativity: 7.5/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
- Value: 7.5/10
Address: 177 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012
Telephone: (212) 328-7880