At first glance, Mimi Cheng's (179 Second Ave., Mimichengs.com) looks like a beachy ice cream shop with colorful art, light wood accents and bright yellow stools. But instead of cones and sweets, this friendly spot is churning out plate upon plate of satisfying dumplings, each one handmade using a Cheng family recipe and healthy, sustainable ingredients.
And starting Jan. 19, they will be offering weekly two-hour dumpling-making classes ($85 per person) at the restaurant. Sit with them on Monday nights from 6:15-8:15 and make your own fillings, learn to delicately wrap the dumplings and even become an expert at pan-frying. After you cook them up, you'll get to devour your dumplings and, if there's any left, bring some home for later.
In the traditional Mimi Cheng dumpling, which you can order boiled or pan-fried in olive oil, you'll find organic zucchini and Fleisher's antibiotic-free, grass-fed chicken. Meanwhile, the Reinvented Classic features flavorful pasture-raised pork from upstate New York. Even the veggie version is delightful with organic kale, zucchini and shiitake mushrooms. There are also often dumpling specials; on a recent visit, there was a beef and kimchi one.
No matter which dumpling you pick, you must use as much of Mimi's Special Sauce as possible. When I asked about the ingredients for said sauce, I got a definitive "we don't share our recipe." One can only hope they'll start bottling it soon.
Ariel Kanter is an editor at Gilt City