Manhattan Dim Sum Skirmish: Tim Ho Wan vs Dim Sum VIP

I made a second visit to Tim Ho Wan today, to try some new stuff and revisit the old stuff. The deep-fried eggplant with shrimp paste is pretty good if a bit too oily for me (it definitely could’ve been worse). The har gow are excellent. The shrimp and chive rice roll was better this time, texture-wise. The vegetable dumplings still tasted great, but they weren’t as pretty 'cause it was nearly impossible to get them out of the steamer without tearing the wrappers. I also got the blanched lettuce, which is very plain - no oyster sauce, just soy sauce. So it’s more of a palate cleanser. We also had one dessert, which was disks of french toast sandwiching a thin layer of custard. I wasn’t that crazy about it - it needed more custard, if you ask me.

The innovative line management is worth a special mention. The hostess takes your cell number in order to text you when your table is ready (this is not new to me), after which you can visit a web page that lets you know how many tables are ahead of you and approximately how long you still have to wait (this is new to me). And it’s inaccurate, in a good way. The initial estimate was 40:00; we were seated in under 20:00.

Curious (belatedly) why the taste test was between these two?

I tried THW when I was in the area and there was a counter spot open (after the 5-hour wait quote days), and I thought the entertainment of watching the chefs work (the cheng fun station especially) was better than the actual food. The siu mai were the best of the handful of things I tried, the beef rice rolls at the other end. Balance skewed against, so I haven’t been back, but if I was around there and a bit peckish, maybe I’d pop in just for the siu mai…

Is the system you’re referring to NoWait? Also used by SugarFish. There’s an app - very helpful!

Have you tried Joy Luck Palace? I had an average first meal there a few months ago, but a very good experience recently. Their dim sum selection seems narrower than other Chinatöwn go-tos, but most of what we had was excellent - the siu mai was excellent, as well as the cheung fun (slightly thicker than THW but generously filled and tastier) and the har gow.

Happenstance. I went to both within a short period of time. And I thought pitting one against the other might be a little more dramatic than just writing about each one separately.

There’s a counter you can eat at? I thought it was just for takeout.

I think it’s called Cake.

Yep, on Lunar New Year in 2016. Write-up here:

Yes - standing only.

Ha. So there are at least two of them :slight_smile:

This is it:

For people (like me) who always think there’s some funny business going on and parties are being sat BEFORE ME, AND IT’S MY TURN…it’s very calming to feel more fully informed.

Looks like that’s from Sysco and Yelp’s is the one I’ve encountered at SugarFish & other places: