Having a hankering of dumplings that could not really be explained, we headed to Soy on a Thursday night following the recommendation of a trusted friend. There, we were greeted by a cheery server who was only slightly intrigued by my date’s obsessive picture taking.
After taking our drinks order, he strongly encouraged us to try the dumplings by slowly and professionally explaining to us how we were going to slice the delicate confection, drink the salty and comforting broth, drizzle the dumpling with a few drops of ginger vinegar, and eat it.
I still don’t know how anyone could resist such a mouthwatering description, and needless to say that we could not.
Hungry and impatient, we ordered what looked like the most delicious dishes and a side of veggies with fried tofu (on which I insisted on). Before our waiter left the table, he informed us that the restaurant adheres to a traditional Chinese serving style which means that plates are brought to the table as they are ready, and not all at the same time like we are used to in America. This service style encourages guests to share each dish and turns the meal into a real friendly experience.
To start the meal on a comforting note, we are served two bowls of Wonton Soup. The broth is light and tasty at the same time, and the wonton itself has a perfect silky texture with its filling being seasoned enough to enhance the taste of the pork without overshadowing it.
Luckily our dumplings are served quickly once we are done with our soups and we can finally try our hands at the ritual. The most delicate and tedious part is to remove the dumpling from the bamboo steamers without breaking it, which would result in the hot broth leaking out.
Once we’ve succeeded at putting the dumpling in our individual bowls, we slice it, drink the broth, sprinkle it with ginger vinegar, and bring it to our mouth as we nod in approval and reach for the next dumpling.
The first main dish to arrive is the General Tao Chicken served with rice, bok choy, and crispy noodles. I can’t seem to get enough of the sweet sauce as I keep adding more to everything before I bring it to my mouth, but the whole dish is superb as everything is cooked and seasoned to perfection and only some crispy noodles remain when our server comes to the table with the second main dish: Korean Style Grilled Kalibi Beef served with romaine lettuce and marinated cucumbers.
He quickly explained to us that we were supposed to use the lettuce leaves as wrappers for the meat and cucumbers, and eat the rolls with our hands. The meat was tender and smoky and nicely complemented by the marinated cucumbers and the crispy lettuce. A truly satisfying dish.
So satisfying that we ended up skipping on dessert which is very unlike us, but we finished our wine and exchanged notes as we looked at what other people sitting around us were being served, preparing ourselves for our next visit.