While we still await indoor dining’s promised return, at whatever capacity, there are certain communal meal experiences that you may be sorely missing. And while it could be many more moons before we can experience the sensory overload of a crowded dining hall, and the excitement of dumplings and roast duck being trolleyed to a table and spun from friend to friend upon a lazy Susan, it doesn’t mean you can’t still indulge in the delight that is a dim sum brunch.
On a recent Sunday morning, brighter and earlier than I’m accustomed, a few friends and I headed to the newly reopened Bamboo Garden outpost of King’s Co. on the far edge of Sunset Park. It was just before 9am, but we were in a giddy frenzy of dumpling, shrimp noodle, and Portuguese egg tart contemplation.
Orders were packed and ready practically as we spoke them, and while we weren’t shy about the multitude of dumplings and buns we desired, our feast, including a generous tip, cost each of us $15. Given the fistful of shrimp the size of my finger stuffed into each crystal dumpling, the tender beef short ribs, and cloud-fluffy, creamy, salted egg custard buns, that’s a bargain for the joy of such fresh, savory fares.
Despite there being no set-up for outdoor dining at this particular location (we also drove by a handful of other dim sum palaces with lines down the block by 9:30am), we easily found a bright patch of grass nearby at Leif Ericson Park to lay out a picnic blanket and enjoy an al fresco brunch. It made for honestly one of the most exuberant meals I’ve had since lockdown, along with a renewed appreciation for the smaller public parks scattered throughout the five boroughs. While we continue to navigate issues of public safety, and the reality that some of our most treasured local institutions are fighting against the financial clock, this is the perfect time to support small business and appreciate each tiny treasure the city has to offer, one mouthful at a time.
Bamboo Garden, 6409 8th Ave, Dyker Heights, (718) 238-1122, open 7 days, 8am-8pm.