The way to my heart is through my stomach - figuratively, metaphorically, and literally.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ping Pong Dim Sum - Washington, DC

Ping Pong Dim Sum
900 Seventh St. NW (I St.)
Washington, DC 20001

If trendy means tiny portions, terrible service, and and non conforming atmosphere, then this place is definitely 5 star.

The whole dim sum experience is defined by crowded tables, bustling stainless steel carts, the clicking of chopsticks, the overwhelming varying smells coming from the multitude of dishes, the need of a periodic scalding hot tea bath of your mouth to cleanse the palate from the many zesty spices and oils.

To reiterate, roughly speaking, food falls into four different main categories for me:  fusion, tradition, zing, and caloric intake.  Ping Pong Dim Sum meets none of those.

Considering the location--in the heart of Washington DC, just blocks away from the capital--the need to be trendy and pricey is practically necessary and perfectly explainable.  Aside from the the modern look, which detracted from the experience, in my opinion, nothing else explained the reason for that restaurant to be there.  No gimmick to hold it together either.

The forced of what we ordered and how to eat it, the labels on the bamboo steamers - it almost seems that the restaurant expected its patrons to be the most sheltered and slow people on the face of the planet.

Back to the primary point - the food.  It was incredibly tiny portions, extremely bland especially if you know what real dim sum is supposed to be like.  There was no zing.  As for caloric intake - I was convinced I was more hungry after sharing $75 worth of food with 5 people than before I ate.

The taste was bland.  All the dishes tasted pretty close to nothing.  We polished off all the side spices and sauces (which were weak as well) in order to attempt to recover the meal.  The frozen premade dim sum you can get at asian grocery stores tastes better, I'm sorry to say.  The only redeeming item was the teaspoonful of sticky black rice in coconut milk.  Then, of course,  it's rather hard to screw up considering it's a 3-4 ingredient dish...

The service was just terrible.  I normally don't judge the restaurant too harshly based upon the possibility of the waiter having a bad day, but the service was poor in a way that shows that the waiter never has a good day. He actually emanated eau de permanent scowl and bad mood.  The dishes were poorly presented, my water glass was never refilled, and when I pulled the waiter aside to refill our glasses, he actually expected me to reach across the rather large table and everyone's plates with my glass that had remained empty all meal long so he didn't have to move to refill.

In summary - this restaurant has a lot of promise, a great location, and...  not much else.  Convert it to a trendy sushi house, or an Asian fusion restaurant.  Without it, it's going to look like it looked like when I visited.  Empty.

One last thought, and most importantly of all, and I quote-- "Where's the chicken feet and cow tripe?"

Ping Pong Dim Sum on Urbanspoon

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