I visited a New York Times reviewed restaurant recently. I wouldn’t have known it was reviewed, except that to the left of the door the article itself was blown up, printed and framed to draw attention to the otherwise anonymous, unnamed doorway I was about to enter. The date on the article, however, was less recent. January 1999, it read. Only 13 years ago. A mere second in the epoch that is the lifespan of a great restaurant.
Though to call this place a restaurant is a stretch. Inside are two large steel counters, opposite each other. One with stools, the other with a glass front. One for dining briefly and the other for rolling, cutting, stuffing and steaming Chinese dumplings. The decor and accommodations are sparse, but the value here and satisfaction make one wish for more. The price per quality metric you might hear me ranting about elsewhere delivers exceptionally between those stainless facets of industrial consumption.
It’s as if the place is locked in its 1999 review, or earlier, even. I’d love to tell you where to go, but I believe it’s a little like Diagon Alley. I think you’ve just got to find it. What you may find down a dark alley in Chinatown is a man brandishing a knife with a dragon tattoo and demanding your kidney. Or you’ll find an unmarked door to a brightly lit kitchen just like your grandmother’s, stocked by some lovely old ladies who speak no English, but will hand you five delicious dumplings for a mere single dollar. Don’t be afraid. Sometimes it’s worth losing a kidney.