Cheap Lunch! Eton Dumplings
Dumplings! They come five to an order ($3.50), but I ate one on the way home.
Eton Chan is making some very nice dumplings at his new shop in Carroll Gardens. The storefront is small, with just a few stools by the window. The small kitchen sits in the middle of the room, behind a counter, so you can watch the cooks smash garlic and dice scallions, and you hear your dumplings when they hit the oil and start to sizzle. There are just three varieties: pork and beef with cabbage, chicken and mushroom and vegetable tofu.
I stopped by today and got one order of pork/beef and one of vegetable. The dumplings are large, almost the size of my fist and come five dumplings to a $3.50 order. One order would be enough for a light lunch, two orders if you're hungrier.
The dumplings are first pan-fried, then steamed, so that one side of the dumpling skin is brown and crispy, and the others are white, soft and slightly chewy. They come to you piping hot, cooked to order (you'll probably have to wait 10 minutes for them to be ready).
I especially liked the pork/beef variety. The homemade wrappers give way into a bouncy meatball that gushes juice under your teeth. The vegetable-tofu were less delicious, stuffed with a dull cabbage-carrot-lentil mixture that was very underseasoned; plus, they fell apart easily, shedding cabbage everywhere. But Eton makes a spicy-sweet plum sauce (you can buy a bottle for $4); dousing the vegetarian dumplings in that sauce improves matters.
There's also Hawaiian shave ice, in sweet fruit flavors, which you can top with things like red beans, marshmallow fluff or condensed milk. Eton's shave ice season, though, is about to be over on October 31st. It will be replaced by noodle soups, featuring hand-pulled noodles augmented with braised short ribs and pork belly. Look for the soups starting in November.
205 Sackett Street