It was only a matter of time before the local and humanely-raised trend hit the dumpling house.
Mimi Cheng's Dumplings just opened in the East Village, and already it's packed and getting rave reviews all over town. The dumplings are delicious - fresh and delicate. They are pan-fried and not overly heavy so you can emerge after eating a plate and not feel like you need a nap. (Nothing wrong with heavier-handed dumplings, just saying.)
But taste not everything (it isn't!), and part of the appeal of Mimi's is the sourcing of ingredients. It's what sets them apart, and puts them into a league above the rest. The restaurant gets its meat from Fleisher's in Brooklyn and its veggies are locally grown and organic.
Co-owner Marian Cheng started Mimi's with her sister Hannah, and named it after their mother, Mimi, who is also in on the family business. The recipes are Mimi's, including the "secret sauce," which tastes of hints of like a lemongrass and vinegar in a soy sauce base. Marian Cheng said the provenance of the food at Mimi's is important.
"There's nothing quite like this. In many Chinese restaurants, you don't know about the meat you're getting," she said. "There's a need for this. We want good quality."
"Chinese food should be healthy," she added.
The restaurant has only been open for a week, but they are already planning to expand the menu. Marian Cheng says they will soon starting offering daily specials, based on what's in season. Maybe even seafood, she said.
"My sister wants beef and kimchi," she said.
The dumplings at Mimi Cheng's Dumplings are more expensive than at the 5 for a $1 spot (they're 6 for $8 or 8 for $10), but you're paying for the quality of the food. And judging by the number of patrons, the price point isn't too high.
"It's still approachable," Cheng said.