New Dumpling and Sushi House in Squirrel Hill is one of two Chinese restaurants in town offering brown rice and mock-meat (the other being Hunan Kitchen, just up the road). From the outside it appears to be two restaurants: one Chinese, one Japanese, but it has a single dining room and you can order from both menus. The Chinese food is reasonably priced, and the sushi is cheaper than Chaya. Take-out is fast — always 10 minutes.
First off: Many of our vegetarian friends like this restaurant. We’re not sure why.
Our first trip to New Dumpling House, we asked our waitress for vegetarian recommendations. She neglected to mention the separate vegetarian menu and instead directed us to a mediocre eggplant dish and a tofu stir fry. Turns out the mock-meat menu is puzzlingly separate from the main menu, but available upon request (and as an insert to the take-out-menu). Armed with this knowledge, we gave New Dumpling House another try late one Monday.
Hungry and excited, we brought it home and started with the steamed vegetable dumplings ($4.50) — large, half-moon shaped dumplings with thick, spinach-dough wrappers and cabbage-based filling. Though they come with a very nice salty-sweet dipping sauce, they were overwhelmingly doughy and the filling was bland. But they’re filling for the price.
We ordered two main dishes: Vegetarian Chicken with Mixed Vegetables ($8.50) and Vegetarian Hunan Pork ($8.50). We opened Carton 1: Veggies and fried gluten in brown sauce. We opened Carton 2: Veggies and fried gluten in brown sauce. Taste-tests could not distinguish them. Was there a mistake, or are these dishes identical? (See picture.)
This dish, whatever you wish to call it, had a good mix of vegetables and a tasty brown sauce. The “meat” was a bit tough and greasy — your typical deep-fried wheat gluten cutlet — and somewhat disappointing.
New Dumpling House is relatively inexpensive, but otherwise doesn’t compare to Hunan Kitchen. However, the few vegetarian sushi rolls are tasty and a decent value. We hold out hope, bolstered by friends’ experiences, that there are good Chinese dishes to be had here, but our overall impression is less than exceptional.
- Vegetable Maki
- Ume-Shisho Maki
- Vegetable Chow Fun