Or, as my friend Bay called it, “A DIM-SUNDAY EXPLOSION!”
It was certainly a fun weekend brunch, not the least because I had to travel to a part of Brooklyn that I’d never been to: Bay Ridge! (Don’t worry, I had to look it up on Google Maps too.) I had always known about the Chinatowns in Manhattan and Queens, but I didn’t realize that there was a third in south BK. This Chinatown felt a little like California–more open air and sidewalk space–versus Manhattan which always reads a bit closer to Gotham/Hong Kong.
Our Dim-Sunday took place at the venerable East Harbor Seafood Palace, which doesn’t look like much from the outside.
What you can’t quite see behind those cars is the hordes hungry of Asians jammed on the sidewalk and vestibule, waiting for a table. Note: They announce your tables in Cantonese only, so it can be difficult knowing if you’re up next!
Fortunately we were seated fairly quickly due to the size of our party–something like 20 people wedged around a table on an elevated platform usually reserved for wedding parties. The best part was that we were first in line for the carts and received first pick of everything!
I should probably caveat this by saying that I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy dim sum at the legendary City Hall (aka Maxim’s Palace) in Hong Kong. That was, hands down, the most insanely delicious dim sum I’ve ever eaten–fresh, flavorful, and served in glitzy ballroom the size of an airport hangar. We dined by the light of a ginormous crystal chandelier, had a fantastic view of Victoria Harbor, and ate so much that the stairs became a bit of a hazard on the way out. If you’re ever in HK, City Hall is worth a visit.
Obviously, East Harbor is no City Hall, but it still puts on a good show. The carts were a flurry of action, with new delicious delicacies appearing and vanishing like a giant, edible magic show.
Very few of us sitting near the carts spoke Cantonese, so we resorted to a lot of pointing and smiling … and ordering completely random food. I wish I’d brought along this fantastic dim sum guide from Lucky Peach. It has pictures, explanations, and a pronunciation guide in Mandarin and Cantonese.
I’m going to let you imagine the particulars of what we ate, but I will share that the meal was an absolute STEAL: 2 hours of non stop eating came to $13 a person, including tip! At that rate, you’d still have enough money to grab a few don taats (egg custard) from one of the nearby Chinese bakeries on the way home. What better way to spend a Sunday morning?
East Harbor Seafood Palace
714 65th St @ 7th Ave
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
9am – 11pm
City Hall – Maxim’s Palace
2nd Floor, City Hall, Central