I’m hesitant to post my feelings about New World Seafood, the new dim sum place I have found next to Seven Stars Pepper in the ID. Sometimes I wonder if I project my high hopes for a new dim sum restaurant onto the place and that is why I like it. I loved the food at Tea Garden at first, and that panned out okay, but not quite where I wanted it. Though I did know right away that Duk Li was bad news. Yet, while I thought the food was excellent at New World, I’m worried that as the shiny newness fades, I’ll realize that it is just another decent dim sum place, nothing special. I could hold my tongue, but I’m still rolling on a bit of a delicious dim sum high so I’m going to tell you about it in the hopes that New World can keep on serving great dim sum.
I arrived before the other members of my group and thus was the only customer in the cavernous room for about ten minutes while my parents and their guests looked for parking. The staff was very friendly without being overbearing, offering ice water and tea and food and letting me know to let them know if I needed anything else. I waited for the rest of the group to eat, a knot of fear in my stomach, wondering how long the food might have been sitting if we were the only customers. The room was pleasantly decorated, like your average large dim sum dining room, with a screen at one end, keeping me company with Vietnamese music videos.
When the other guests arrived the food carts came by. One of the first things that impressed both myself and another guest immediately was the English of the staff. Not only were they able to tell us what dishes were, but even the cart ladies were able to talk to us about what was in the various dishes. We started with a barbecue pork humbao. I could see the heat of the plate as the lady sat it down, my mom unfortunately missed that, as she burned herself on the plate. The fluffy baked buns tasted like they were fresh out of the oven! It was amazing. I was already feeling better about the food. We did a pretty full survey of the typical dim sum foods and I found some stuff pretty average, some great and some not so hot. The siu mai I found sub par, to taste a bit like mushrooms and chicken, as oppose to pork. My father detected a bit of an iodine taste in a har gow. The shrimp with cilantro dumplings, however, I found to be delicious. It was a pretty big jumble like that, some things spectacular (the tofu topped with shrimp) and some disappointing (the sparse-on-the-shrimp chow fun)
I wasn’t going to order chicken feet because I can’t eat a whole portion myself, and while I can count on my mom to try most anything, I wasn’t sure if it was worth it to order. Then the cart lady lifted the lid to the chicken feet and I couldn’t resist what lay inside. With an almost orange-y hue to them in place of the usual dark brown sauce, they were topped with a beautiful garnish of jalapeno. What? They’ve cooked my chicken feet with jalapeno peppers? Fabulous! Bring it on! And they were delicious. It was definitely a different preparation than I’d had at other dim sum restaurants, but in a very good way. One of the guests even commented “I don’t normally like this kind of thing, but these are great.” I liked to hear that. It gave me faith for my next order.
I always try to order something I haven’t had before when doing dim sum. Just one new item, if possible, each time. I had just recently had beef tendon in my noodle soup at Szechuan Noodle Bowl and found it delicious. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and call it the next pork belly–look for it on menus everywhere soon. So when the dim sum lady said that she had beef tendon, I couldn’t resist. I pulled it onto the table and I’m glad I did. With rich, beefy flavor, it is vaguely reminiscent of bone marrow, but with a bit of bite, so it can hold its own. This made a most unctuous and meltingly textured piece of meat, with a light soy sauce magnified by the flavors of the meat. I smiled. It was worth taking that bit of risk.
Overall, though, the meal was quite good and I had no complaints about it. Do I want to declare this the next great dim sum of Seattle? Well, I’m not there yet. Do I think it has potential? I knew that it did the moment I tested its stellar hot sauce.