The Early Word: Mahjong Dumplings

pork dumpling.jpg
Lauren Shockey
Mahjong Dumplings' Traditional Monkey dumplings.

The team behind Cascabel Taqueria recently opened Mahjong Dumplings, a small Upper East Side restaurant devoted to -- you've got it -- dumplings. And while the restaurant mostly celebrates pan-Asian cuisine, several of the dumplings offered don't hail from the Far East. Given our love of anything stuffed between sheets of dough, we stopped by over the weekend to check it out.

Starters, soups, noodles, and dumplings comprise the menu, with portion sizes running small. Dumplings are $4.25 for three pieces -- definitely not Chinatown prices, but then again, this is the Upper East Side. You've gotta take what you can get. The Traditional Monkey dumplings (pictured above) were filled with pork and came with a sweet Thai chili sauce. Not bad at all, but not necessarily worth $1.40 apiece.

shrimp dumpling.jpg
Lauren Shockey
Run Forrest dumplings.

One of our other favorites was the Run Forrest dumplings, which came stuffed with shrimp and dressed with a nicely spiced coconut curry sauce. Again, tasty, but a Thumbelina portion.

pesto dumpling.jpg
Lauren Shockey
Italian Job dumplings.

Somewhat less successful were the internationally influenced dumplings. The Italian Job dumplings encased chicken and basil inside the dough, but were basically lackluster chicken ravioli with pesto.

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