Early Review: Canton 11 (Dim Sum) - Philadelphia Chinatown

Philadelphia has a few restaurants which offer some good med range Dim Sum. However, unlike many other cities like San Francisco or New York, Philadelphia does not have a premium quality Dim Sum restaurant. The newly opened Canton 11 (on Arch Street) is supposed to fill in this gap. It is a restaurant which is to offer variety of experience including a high end or med-high end Dim Sum experience. To quote Michael Klein from philly.com, “Want sushi? Sure. Cantonese food? Yes. Bubble tea? Yep. Karaoke? You’re singing their song.”

I went today to try the Dim Sum. I believe it is still in its soft-opening, so please this into account.

Overall, I will just say it is alright, but I am not impressed. I will give it another try considering it is still trying to get its act ready.

The decoration is nice. The staffs are well mannered. The Dim Sum area is very small actually – as far as I can tell it is only a small area on the 2nd floor. In term of foods, I ordered four dishes: (1) Durian crispy rolls, (2) Shumai (steamed pork shrimp dumplings), (3) Fun Guo (Chiu Chow dumpling), (4) Beef Cheong Fun (steamed rice roll with beef filling). I thought the Cheong Fun was very well made, despite a little cold. The durian crispy rolls were good but average. The Shumai and Fun Guo were possibly below average. I can tell the ingredients were good, but somehow they were unable to execute and put the good ingredients together. I also have to say the foods probably suffer because the food turn around was slow. They don’t have many steamed carts, apparently they are no ready yet. That being said, the Shuami and Fun Guo were freshly steamed from the kitchen and served very hot on my table, so whatever negative feeling I had toward them is not due to the lack of the warmth.

I will give this place another try, but overall I am not impressed.

So, what’s wrong with the urinal?

I decided to remove my urinal comment from the above post. Maybe there is a way to properly use theses urinal stands and I haven’t mastered the skill. :sweat_smile: , so it was unfair of me to criticize something due to my lack of skill. :blush:

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Update. I went to Canton 11 again for Dim Sum. I cannot say it was horrible, but it wasn’t great neither. Disappointed was my feeling. Most of the time, I enjoy staying at Dim Sum restaurant a little longer to see what new dishes will come out. Here, my instinctive feeling was to leave as soon as possible – that is not a good sign.

For a restaurant which is trying to establish itself as the high-end alternative in Philadelphia Chinatown, it has surely missed the mark by a mile or more. I feel the management team is not doing a good job. It has been opened for more than 3 weeks already, and things are still not coming together. Staffs do seem very detached.

The clock is ticking, and I hope they get their acts together within the next month. Otherwise, the bad reputation will spread pretty wide – it has already been spreading now. I have no plan to go back again unless I hear something different.

I want to be fair. There is a good selling point of this place so far: I went there twice, and I never have to wait to be seated, not even 5 seconds.

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― Jonathan Gold