Thursday, January 2, 2014
Rate-A-Restaurant #309: Din Tai Fung @ The Americana at Brand
Restaurant: Din Tai Fung/Glendale
Location: Americana at Brand, 177 Caruso Ave. (Glendale)
Type of restaurant: Dumpling House
We stipulated: We've been to the Arcadia location of Din Tai Fung several times... but now that a new location has arrived right here near Franklin Avenue HQ, we had to check it out and see if it lived up to the original.
They stipulated: The Glendale location has come up with a solution to the problem that dogs the Arcadia location: Long, long waits for a table. I'm sure Rick Caruso couldn't stand the idea of all these people waiting outside Din Tai Fung and not shopping at the Americana, so patrons give their cell phone numbers, and go off to shop. When a table is finally ready, the restaurant will send you a text.
What we ordered: Juicy Pork & Crab Dumplings (10 pcs); Juicy Pork Dumplings (10 pcs); Vegetable & Pork Wonton w/ Spicy Sauce; Pork Chop Fried Rice; Sauteed String Bean w/ Garlic
High point: Those dumplings, of course: Take a small bite, suck out the juice and then eat the rest of it. Repeat. But the green beans are also like crack -- right amount of crunch, and completely addictive. Also loved the spice that came with the wonton soup. Yes, we liked it all.
Low point: The texting system isn't fool proof. We received the text that a table was ready and rushed back to the restaurant -- where we had to still wait another 30 minutes. Why bother texting us if the table wasn't actually ready?
Overall impression: (Oops, corrected to remove the leftover text from the Starry Kitchen review!) An entirely different, more upscale vibe than the Arcadia location, but operates smoothly and the food is identically tasty. I think my Glendale property value just went up thanks to being Din Tai Fung-adjacent.
Will we return: Despite the texting table debacle, the dumplings (and those green beans!) are so amazing that all is forgiven. We'll be back. Many, many times.