Brunch at Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
For one reason or another my first three attempts to check out Din Tai Fung fell through. On Saturday morning five of us finally had a succesful outing to this super popular dumpling house located in Bellevue. We’d heard wait lines for a table were often long so we arrived right at the 10:00 a.m. opening time. There were only half a dozen other groups already in line so we had no trouble being seated immediately but soon after the entire restaurant was filled. And that is saying something as the place is huge!
If you do have to wait, watch the cooks in the dumpling-making station through windows surrounding their area. A couple of people are cutting and weighing the dumpling dough, while (many!) others roll them out and fill them. It’s a fascinating production process.
Although this is not technically a dim sum house – servers with carts do not circle the room hawking steamer baskets of intriguing foods – the menu is very dim sum like, as you might expect. Ordering is basically a reverse dim sum process. When you’re seated you’re presented with menus (photos and descriptions of every menu item) and an order list. After reviewing the options you make your selections on the order form. Your server will retrieve the form, place the order and return with a printed list of your order. Then dishes arrive in random dim sum-style and are checked off the list, so there’s constant activity of new plates being delivered while finished items are cleared away.
One hint, we asked our server to review our list of selections to see if we’d missed anything she thought was particularly good. The slightly spicy dumpling she recommended was one of the tables’ favorites.
We had a little bit of everything on the menu. Actually we had quite a bit of everything on the menu. I could go back and do it all again today. Delicious. I was especially impressed with the delicacy of the dumpling wrappers. And, thanks to Hatsuko who was with us on Saturday, I’ve found something new! Sweets normally don’t make it on my list, partly because I manage to get stuffed on the savory items but also, I don’t care for most Chinese “dessert” items. Our order of black sesame dumplings were sweet, a little crunchy and rich. They reminded me of halva, a little bit. They were a pleasant ending to our meal.
The five of us ate until we were stuffed and we had a few leftovers. Tea was our only beverage but our per person cost, including tip, was just $22. Not as cheap as our old favorite the long-closed Top Gun in the International District, but still fairly inexpensive. In summary, Din Tai Fung is definitely worth the trip to Bellevue.
Din Tai Fung
700 Bellevue Way NE Ste 280