A few nights ago I enjoyed dinner for the second time at David’s Dumpling and Noodle Bar. If rumor is correct, chef David Mao decided to retire from Duck and Dumpling (only the latest in a long line of Asian eateries he owned and/or cooked at). His retirement was short-lived, and since August he’s been at the helm of his new dumpling and noodle house.
I actually like it better than Duck and Dumpling. The decor is contemporary, warm and casual. (Nighttime lighting again a bit dim for non-flash photos with my point-and-shoot camera. I’ve got to figure out how to deal…) The restaurant’s ambience is relaxed and cozy, and the menu is priced very reasonably (nice for all of us, but particularly State students) and has a nice assortment of soups, noodles, dumplings, veggies and entrees — also a decent variety for vegetarians. Everything is sized just right for passing and sharing.
My friend Ragi and I sat at the bar. The barkeeps provided great service, and were glad to offer guidance.
I have to admit I love servers who aren’t afraid to share opinions. I often narrow down my selections to two or three, then ask what my server thinks is best among them. Please don’t say, “Well, I like them both equally” or “It just depends on what you’re in the mood for.” A good server will not be afraid to ask about my preferences and then steer me one way or the other — and a confident server like that usually always steers me right.
Back to business. With our bartenders’ assistance, I had a starter of Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce. It was a straightforward, simple dish. The veg was fresh and cooked just right, retaining its emerald green color, and the sauce wasn’t overpowering. Ragi had the Open Top Pork and Shrimp Sui Mai Dumplings and loved them. Even though they were offered in the “Small Plates, Appetizers, Salads and Soups” part of the menu, they were large and filling and she saved half for next day’s lunch.
We both had soups for our mains. Each was served with little side dishes of Siracha hot sauce, which spiced things up nicely. Ragi was lured by the smell wafting from the big white bowls of two students seated beside us. She ordered what they were eating — Braised Beef with Wheat Noodles. She seemed very pleased with her choice, again saving half for lunch. (I tasted the broth, which was fragrant and flavorful.)
I had Malaysian Curry Noodle Soup.
The broth was a beautiful, creamy yellow, very aromatic and slightly spicy. Not quite Indian-style curry, not quite Thai. When I first bit into what I thought was a tiny new potato, I was surprised at its soft, slightly rubbery texture. Then I recalled that the server had mentioned shrimp balls. They were interesting and delicately flavored. The soup also featured tofu, greens, noodles and mung bean sprouts. It was absolutely delicious — perfect for a cool autumn evening.
I see regular trips to David’s in my future — so much more to try on the menu. What a comfortable, tasty experience at a great value.