1/3/10

Lunch at Ping Pong

A few weeks ago I joined a few local food bloggers (Tammy, Bryan and Stephanie) for lunch at Ping Pong. Ping Pong is an Asian restaurant in Chinatown/Gallery Place area in Washington DC that serves dim sum (and other Asian fair). How cool is it to be able to eat dim sum during the day and not just on a Sunday afternoon?

When I think about dim sum, I think barbeque rolls, sauteed broccoli rabe, spicy eggplant, and little packages of shrimp, pork, chicken and beef wrapped into light dough. I also think about ladies rolling around carts offering you different options to try. And one of the things I love about dim sum: it's super cheap.

Well, I got none of it in Ping Pong. Instead, I was greeted by a gorgeous space decorated with dark browns and blues. It looked more like a fancy lounge/restaurant than a low-key casual dim sum place. The menu was quite extensive, so each one of us chose a set menu for lunch to make things easier. I decided to try Seafood lunch and also ordered a kumquat mojito.

Let's start with the service: three times we were brought dishes that we did not order. At first, we thought maybe it was a little "welcome/surprise" from the kitchen: wrong. The dishes were taken away after we explained we did not order them.

When the right dishes were brought to our table, nothing was explained. We were left guessing what it was we were putting into our mouths and had to play a matching game between our dishes and the descriptions on the menu. Oh, and both Stephanie and Bryan received shrimp dishes when they never ordered them: imagine if they were 1) allergic to shellfish 2) kept Kosher! Disaster.

The kumquat mojito was amazing: highly recommend!

First to arrive were two baked vegetable puffs: they were enormous! The puff dough was flaky and the filling inside was flavorful.

Then I received fried crispy prawn ball, prawn toast, and fried vegetable spring roll. LOVE fried food, and it did not taste overly greasy.

And last, but not least, the steamed portion of my lunch: chives, coriander, scallop and shitake, seafood, seafood sticky rice and har gan dumplings.

At the end I decided to order dessert: Pineapple and mango puff (Pineapple and mango with cinnamon puff served with a scoop of coconut ice cream). Together with the kumquat mojito, this was my favorite part of the meal.

Overall thoughts: give this place a few more months to iron out the service issue, but in the meantime, check it out for drinks, dessert, and a very cool atmosphere.

What are your favorite places for dim sum? What's your favorite dish to order when you go out for dim sum?

10 comments:

HoneyB said...

Sounds yummy Olga!

gail said...

Lovely review - looks delicious!

Shaw Girl said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your review. Although your dessert was waaayyy better than mine. I'd like to try dim sum at a more traditional dim sum restaurant sometime!

Heavenly Housewife said...

THe veggie puffs and the desert look very similar :). I am a desert girl myself though, its always my "main event" when I'm eating out.

BlueToYou said...

kumquat mojito. who woulda thunk? looks like a cool place. but my favorite dim sum in dc is tony changs in china town for sure!

Lauren said...

So jealous you keep going out with food bloggers =D. That looks great!

Thrifty DC Cook said...

My experience was also very disappointing. I went with family and they are experienced dim sum eaters. My aunt made a comment that the price of the food was purely for the atmosphere. The wrappings were gummy and the puffs tasted like paper. The only items we enjoyed were the duck rolls and the St. Germaine Sangria (which was very tasty.) My french pressed coffee had tons of grinds in it and my cousin's fiance's flowering tea tasted bitter.

I'll take you guys up to Silver Spring for some good dim sum one of these days.

nicole said...

I was so excited to try this place, but I was very disappointed. Not only was it expensive, but the portions were smaller than usual dim sum, so this made it SUPER expensive.

It also seemed that every-other dish that I ordered was unavailable (for whatever reason), and many times I didn't find out until 5 or 10 minutes after I had ordered it.

The wait staff was odd, and didn't seem to know the menu. They also unwrapped my chopsticks for me, which I did not like at all. I don't know why they did it since I couldn't hear our waiter's explanation, but I think they assumed that non-chopstick users would be visiting this place.

The host didn't even acknowledge us when we entered, and then offered us a place at the dim sum bar so we could see them make the dim sum, but then he sat us at a low table so we couldn't see anything (though there were bar seats available).

Not only was the food small and overpriced (when we got it), but it didn't even taste good! I guess I'm spoiled because I've had tons of real dim sum?

moderndomestic said...

Good review - are the photos with your new camera?

I really love dim sum (there's a great place I've been to out in Maryland), but this kind of looks like a small-plates restaurant that's calling itself a Dim Sum place. Not that there's anything wrong with small plates, but when I think Dim Sum I think carts of food being madly pushed in my face, huge lines, and cheap prices. I still want to try it, but I won't be expecting it to be "real" Dim Sum.

On the other hand, this place is actually metro accessible and in DC, while other Dim Sum places are a bit of a haul without car. Points in its favor, I suppose.

pigpigscorner said...

We have ping pong in London too but not sure if it's the same one. Have never tried it though. looks great!