I love eating dumplings and scallion pancakes, but I don’t love going to Chinatown. And I love it even less if I have to wait in line for them. Which is why I could never bring myself to do dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the historic Chinese restaurant that seems to be perennially mobbed during the weekend. I’d rather get seated quickly at my reliable standby Dim Sum Go Go. Which is quite good, by the way. Traditionalists will beg to differ.
But with the arrival of Nom Wah Nolita on Kenmare St, I can now get my dim sum fix north of Canal St and within the borders of my weekend shopping and brunch routine. Coffee at La Colombe, matcha at Cha Cha Matcha, and now dim sum at Nom Wah. The selection of dim sum at the Kenmare and Bowery location is less extensive than at their main outpost, limited to scallion pancakes and several varieties of dumplings. It’s meant to be more of a fast casual lunch and take-out restaurant, so the menu has been adapted for the quick turnaround–dumplings, noodle soups and marinated meats over rice.
Unfortunately, Nom Wah is still working through the “quick” part of its service, which is essential for the success of this enterprise. Steamed dumplings need to be served immediately before the skin starts getting gummy and the filling becomes tepid mush. The pork soup dumplings and shrimp and pork siu mai that we ordered succumbed to this fate as they sat on a tray waiting for the rest of our order to be filled. The fried rice, which was griddled to perfection, and the tender slabs of glazed pork ribs were more than enough to distract us from the dumpling disappointment. Somehow in all of this we had forgotten that we had also ordered scallion pancakes and Chinese vegetables, which was probably a sign that we could have done without them.
I know the dumplings could have been good if they were just fresher, so my recommendation to you is to place two separate orders for your true dim sum items and another for the dishes with longer shelf lives. Or just keep your order short and sweet so that nothing’s left out in the cold. The great thing about Nom Wah Nolita is that it is quick and cheap, so you can always come back another day. And given that it is in that magical zone of Soho / Nolita / East Village, you’ll probably find yourself in the area day drinking and window shopping and then working up the munchies, and nothing fills those cravings better than some pan fried Chinese snacks.
Nom Wah Nolita
10 Kenmare St (and Bowery)
New York, NY 10012