East Harbor Seafood Palace: Dim Sum For Pros.

October 25th, 2011 § 0 comments

SJ here. Christians have their Church bells. Muslims have the sound of the Muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. In my gustatory devotion, I have the sound of a dim sum cart rattling about while shouts of “Har Gow!” pierce the din of a crowded hall.

My place of worship is now the East Harbor Seafood Palace (714 65th Street in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn). Consistently packed with mostly Chinese clientele, East Harbor is modeled after the huge, dim sum palaces of Hong Kong. It is loud with crowd noise, shouting dim sum cart attendees and the badly amplified voice of the maitre d’ calling waiting diners to their tables. Expect a good 30 to 40 minute wait. Trust me, it is worth it.

I’ve tasted great made-to-order Dim Sum in Manhattan’s Chinatown and in Vancouver and always reveled in the fresh flavors and textures of that methodology. But the carts at East Harbor– owing perhaps to fast turn-around –dish out food that is every bit as fresh as those made-to-order spots and packed with even more flavor. The basics are covered to perfection — Shui Mai, snappishly fresh Har Gow, silky rice noodles, pillowy pork buns, crunchy spring rolls; but the carts keep arriving with things we’ve never seen before: finger length peppers stuffed with pork and crab, garlicky Chinese greens, tiny cockles stir-fried table side in black bean sauce, dumpling varietals with cashews and nuts, and definitely a few things I can’t even name. You see, when the carts keep coming, and you had your 45-minute-starving-to-death wait, you enter into a dim sum frenzy and begin grabbing just about anything for fear that it may all just disappear. At most dim sum spots, this fear is justified — dishes do disappear and the glum Dim Sum car attendants will look at you like a madman if you dare ask if that steamed pork rib dish is going to return. However at East Harbor dishes DO reappear and if you ask for something — crazily enough! — the staff is actually helpful! Yes, East Harbor Seafood has polite staff. They are nice! Nice to us! Nice to my son! They brought water when asked and more chili sauce and even said “no problem” and rushed off to get me some Hoi Sin sauce for my pork buns. This is an amazing thing for a Dim Sum palace — unparalleled actually!

So, the Dim Sum at East Harbor was completely top notch. I would hasten say it is the best in New York, except I know that there are some spots in Flushing that I have not yet tasted. But great dim sum AND a pleasant staff? Don’t know if that will happen in Flushing.

While noshing on our dim sum we noticed that the table next to us was filled with some mighty serious eaters. There were about 15 of them, a family — grandparents down to grand kids — and simply enormous. Each of them hitting upwards of 300+ pounds. All Italians from the neighboring community of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. And they were being brought enormous and extensive casseroles of seafood — lobsters, crabs, prawns, crayfish maybe — and eating it with unmatched gusto. Shells cracking, fingers pulling at shreds of crab meat, juices dripping onto chins — pure joy!

And I didn’t taste it. So, a trip to East Harbor for a non Dim Sum meal is in order and all HG readers should prepare to read all about it!

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