spectating participant

February 23, 2008

Sum too much!

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 6:02 pm

I woke up with a sever hankering for Dim Sum — I feel it’s related to re-watching Eat Drink Man Woman last night. After talking about it for an hour or so, Chris finally realizes I’m pretty serious about this craving and suddenly it’s a possibility.

We’ve tried a few places, none of which are local to our current home, and have been most impressed food and cost wise with A&J in Rockville and repeat customer at Jesse Wong’s in Columbia. Both Rockville and Columbia felt like a hike but my craving wasn’t gonna go away just because it was going to take almost an hour to get here. In searching for someone a little closer, I found a listing for a place called Oriental Manor that is in Ellicott City, slightly closer than Columbia, that had some positive and some negative reviews for Dim Sum. A little more searching for more reviews informed me the place had just changed ownership and names, Asian Court, and had just re-opened a few weeks ago. There were a few not-so-positive reviews of food and service, but nothing talked about Dim Sum. I was a bit nervous trying a new place, but also didn’t feel like driving all the way into Columbia for Dim Sum that is okay but not great.

We got to Asian Court at prime Dim Sum hour on a Saturday (11:30) and there were a few other tables already seated. Upon sitting we got immediate service from picking the type of tea we wanted and the first cart was upon us. At one point, it seemed that we had about 8 wait staff and two carts at our table in some crazy frenzy of selections. We were doing our best to pick things we knew we liked, try something new, and get stuff that the two kids with us would like.

There were language issues in that no one was able to really translate what was being offered. This usually isn’t a big deal, but when picking items that are also kid friendly, it’s nice to have a general idea of what you’re getting. A few months ago, taking my mom out for Dim Sum, we were much more content to constantly repeat “we don’t know” to her never ending questions about what things were and just picked based on appearance.

I am very impressed with Alex’s friend who’d never tried Dim Sum but was willing to try anything that sounded good; picky Alex only ate from 2 of the dishes we ordered (sticky rice and pork). We found everything to be pretty good, plus some new items that were stellar (a green scallion dumpling and a shrimp/crab dumpling). They convinced us to try a bitter melon dish that was way too bitter for our palette, but otherwise all of their suggestions were well received. Of the 12 dishes we picked, we were only dissatisfied with 3 of the: the bitter melon dish, a meat dumpling that was just boring, and roast pork in flaky pastry that did live up to the roast pork bun.

The prices were $3.25 - $3.95 for the dishes we picked; we weren’t offered any larger dishes while we were still hungry enough to try them (Alex normally likes to get a large meat dish, but they didn’t bring one out until we were done). For the 12 dishes we ordered, the bill was over $50.00 with tip. This seems a little high, but I didn’t leave feeling cheated either. We all left stuffed beyond reason and Chris and I ended up in a food coma for most of the afternoon.

Overall, if Asian Court in Ellicott City is local to you, it’s probably worth the trip for dim sum. Several of their dishes were excellent, most were very good, and we didn’t even trying 1/3 of what they had available. I wanted to try more, but my stomach couldn’t accommodate any more than it did.