Dumplings are one of the great staples of Asian cuisine, and New York City certainly doesn’t lack for shops specializing in these delightful bites. Mimi Cheng’s has been one of the more well-known joints with two locations in Manhattan. I was particularly drawn to their monthly special during January, where the shop was collaborating with chef Mike Bagale of the famed Chicago restaurant Alinea, so I decided to check out the branch in Nolita with my wife Jun on a lazy Sunday afternoon after our pilates class. Overall, Mimi Cheng’s is a good place for some quite bites but I’m not sure if it is a destination type restaurant for its dumplings.
The range of dumpling selections at Mimi Cheng’s is surprisingly sparse. Jun and I went for the 50/50 option (you get to choose three pieces each for two flavors). The better ones on the regular menu were actually the ones with vegetables. Jun and I both liked the Mighty Veggie version with kale, zucchini, free-range egg, shiitake mushrooms and carrots as well as the Super V one with carrots, chives, mushrooms and cabbage. On the other hand, the meaty counterparts, both Mimi Cheng’s (with organic chicken and zucchini) and Reinvented Classic (with pork, baby bok choy and cabbage) were pedestrian. I had high hopes for the monthly special mentioned above, which was called the Berkshire pork cheek explosion dumpling. It came in aged manchego cheese broth (not something you usually see in an Asian dumpling) and smoked paprika chili oil. The first few bites were quite rich and delicious, but the magic started to wear off afterwards as we both found them to be over time a little too heavy for our taste.
No reservation is required at the Nolita branch. There is no alcohol served, and the place is really set up for some quick bites before you head elsewhere. I might try Mimi Cheng’s again if there are any more interesting monthly specials down the road, but until then I will be just as happy to dumplings that Jun occasionally prepare at home.
KenScale: 7.5/10 (Jun’s Score: 7.5/10)
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 7.5/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 7.5/10
- Texture: 7.5/10
- Value: 8.0/10
Address: 380 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
Telephone: (212) 343-1387