Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Worst Dim Sum In the History of the World!

Mandarin Oriental
1330 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20024 (202) 554-8588

0 out of 5 grains

By Senior Roving Correspondent Lily C.

I preface this review by saying that my mother would disown me if she knew that I purposely went to dim sum that was $12 a basket. Despite these crazy prices I forged ahead because I had high expectations for the Mandarin Oriental (based on very satisfying experiences in Asia). Plus, they promised a special chef that I could only assume was Thai Chinese:

"We are pleased to welcome Master Dim Sum Chef Naris Pukpongsuk from Fujian Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai. Chef Naris will jet in from Thailand to prepare a one-of-a-kind Dim Sum Lunch from June 30 to July 5. Pricing for this special menu starts at USD 12. "

Well my suspicions were right on the money. I have never had a more heinous, overcooked, and outrageously overpriced dim sum in my life. $44 for 8 small dumplings. That is over $5 a dumpling! For that price, I expect some type of orgasmic experience to occur. Instead I had to fight the urge to walk out the hotel without paying. The dumpling skins were thick and mushy and the filling (various types of shrimp and pork) were tough. Clearly, these dumplings were cooked at least 10 mins too long. The potential delicate flavors of dim sum were lost in this mush. Overall, this was the worst dim sum I have ever had in my life (and that includes frozen dim sum from safeway and some unfortunate experiences in dc chinatown).

We tried to save lunch by ordering the sliders (plus we were still starving), which was another grave mistake. Again these mini-burgers (beef and lamb) were hideously overpriced at over $5 per slider and overcooked. The little cubes of lamb were tough, devoid of any flavor and sitting on some bland eggplant puree. The beef burgers were a bit better. At least they were medium rare. That's the best thing I could say about them. Slightly better than white castle. Nowhere near as good as matchbox and 6 times as much.

I will NEVER EVER EVER go to the Mandarin Oriental DC again and have become highly skeptical of any other US location.