He had 3 buddies with him as well.
The important thing to know is that regardless of their odd appearance, these was some good dumplings. Shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings are one of about 25 dim sum offerings at Chinatown Brasserie, a new, upscale, somewhat pricy Chinese restaurant on Lafayette at Great Jones, in NYC.
It's in the space that used to be the Time Cafe, but you'd never recognize it. Someone put a lot of money into this place to make it look really spiffy. And it does look spiffy to my eye. But you can't eat spiffy. So what about the food?
I spent a few minutes at the bar the other night. Bar dining is almost always preferable, and it's a good way to get to know a place. But only if the bartenders are knowledgeable and friendly. And the 3 people behind the bar that night certainly were. I fully expected the standard shitty NYC bartender: too cool to be working behind a bar, too cool to be friendly and cordial to me, and most certainly too cool to care. These folks were really super though. As an aside, I'm not sure where they grew these guys or what they put in the watering can, but they were some tall boys.
I ordered those shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings, and they were outstanding. Fresh, quality ingredients, plenty of them, and expertly prepared. You don't find that balance at your average Chinese place. Then again you aren't paying this much at your average Chinese restaurant. For my money, though, I can afford the 6 or 8 or 10 dollars, or whatever it is, for this balance, and so can you. The dumplings were so good that I ordered even more dumplings, even though I was meeting a friend for dinner one hour later (We ended up ordering pizza from Lombardi's. It was my first Lombardi's experience. Quite good I suppose. Certainly one of the best pizza places in NYC, if you consider there are about 10,000 pizza places, and only a handful are notable in any regard). The second dumper order was roast duck and, um, something else. Again, quality ingredients, plenty of them, and very good.
The theme here seems to be "fun." Fun drinks. Fun colors. Fun dim sum with little fun eyeballs. Fun fun and more friggin fun. I like fun, even though you can't eat it.
Chinatown Brasserie : 380 Lafayette St (at Great Jones) : New York, NY : 212.533.7000