Monday, January 23, 2012

Po's Dumpling Bar

I got out of "Speech" class today and knew I wanted to spend at least some of my day off at the Penn Valley Dog Park. My friend, Buddha, has a few pups of his own so I knew he was up to go whenever I was. I was also super-hungry after class so I called him around noon and said:

"Hey dude, I'm totally starved - do you want to get some lunch?"

Originally, we were planning on the Vietnam Cafe on Rainbow and 39th street, but they were closed on Mondays. (Review/blog soon to come on that one!) I was looking on FourSquare on my phone and saw something that rang familiar: Po's Dumpling Bar.

A couple of friends had recommended the place to me at a few points, so I texted Buddha - who was not there yet - that Vietnam Cafe was closed and that Po's was right down the street.  He said "Okay, 2 mins."

For those Kansas City locals who do not know, 39th street near Westport is simply an amazing place to find food. Seriously, you walk down the street and places like Anna's Kitchen, Blue Koi, Friend's Sushi Bar and Bento...a whole little avenue of yummy flavors! But I digress.


I got in and immediately loved it. Not only was the smell delicious, but the atmosphere was great. There were neat prints and pictures all over the wall, and it seemed to embody what everybody thinks hip, new food should be.

Buddha and I got in and, of course, we chatted for a little. He had been here before and when I asked what was good, he said it depended on what he was in the mood for. This means just about everything was good.

these came out and said "Hello! Eat me!"
What was semi-surprising is that it wasn't just dumplings. My friend had kind of led me to believe it was just all sorts of dumplings, kind of like Noodles & Co only with, well, dumplings! But they had all sorts of delicious Chinese food options, so I ordered the Char Su Buns to start with(Buddha and I split it), and the Beef Broccoli lunch, which came with a soup(egg drop, of course), rice and crab rangoon. Buddha ordered these awesome-sounding Pork dumplings with chili sauce off the Specials board.

When the egg drop soup came, of course I devoured it. Egg drop soup is actually a great way to rate the skill of a Chinese place. It should have a velvety mouth feel with the ribbon of egg white evenly distributed, but not over-cooked. It should not be too salty, and leave you wanting more. Of course it was delicious - the golden color seemed to come alive and say "Happy Chinese New Year."

When the Char Su Bau came(Chinese steamed buns) they were in a beautiful steamer tin. They came, big and beautiful. I wished the plates were black so the pictures were more dynamic. The dough was perfect - I mean REALLY perfect! And I wish there was a little more filling in the buns, but then again I was also famished so perhaps I am not being a fair judge.

The food came and it was a perfect beef/broccoli portion. The crab rangoon wasn't the best I've ever had, but it came very close. The filling was hot and sticky, just the way it should be, and the rice was steamed to perfection. A nice amount of sauce came on the beef and broccoli dish, and the broccoli was tender yet still crisp. I would have taken a picture of that, too, but I ate it too fast because it smelled so good.

Buddha and I continued chatting throughout the meal about this and that. Then he said the magic words:

"You know, they have really good Green Tea ice cream here."

And I was like "whaaaaaaat?"

Hah. Not really.

Well how could I say no? If my readers recall, I did a recent blog all about green tea confections, so I was more than eager to try it. We ordered some after the meal and it came out in the most-adorable little dish.  The color was so vibrant and fun. The taste wasn't bitter or terribly sweet, but rather refreshing.

Look at that color! And the moustache shirt!
As I ate it, I remember thinking that it might be nice with some sweetened sour cream sauce for it. Maybe a chocolate syrup. But it was good on its own. It reminded me of the saying "You're not supposed to put any toppings on good ice cream." This was very good ice cream. I think I remember saying at one point "I want a big tub of this."

Po's Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon I don't want to say that it's the best Chinese food I've ever had. I will say, however, that the Char Siu buns are to die for, and I can't wait to go back for more food. I might go back once a week and try something new every time. Yeah...that sounds good.

You guys should go try it too. And the rest of 39th street, which is probably where I'll spend half of my Tax Return this year.