After our adventures in Arcadia, CA, Mr. Chow and I were craving xiao long bao in a major way. A recent Washington Post article about Scott Drewno piqued my interest in Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, The Source. Drewno, executive chef at The Source, studied XLB in China and came back an expert. I was so excited by the possibility that good XLB might be right in our back yard. No trekking to Arcadia or Shanghai. Just a quick drive down to Pennsylvania Ave. Just our luck, a table for two was available for Saturday dim sum brunch.
The Saturday dim sum brunch is served in the downstairs lounge area of The Source. It’s a very clean and modern space, with plush couches, good people watching, and really good music. I think we heard everything from Rihanna to Wilson Phillips to James Blunt. Like all two of his two songs….not that we knew all the words to them or anything.
The dim sum menu at the Source offers a mix of Chinese and american items. I decided to get 5 items for $30. Mr. Chow went with 8 items for $40. The other option is to order a la carte for $7 per item. Overall we found a couple of items we loved. Like worthy of throwing elbows to block the other person from getting closer to the dish. Then there were some items that we regretted. That’s right. Regret. Like what Petra Nemcova was feeling when she broke up with James Blunt.
Items that we were fighting over:
– Duck bao buns (2 per order): get a ton of these. They are da bao-mb.
– Kobe beef hash: anything “hash” at brunch is a winner. This is no different.
– Chinese sausage fried rice: Just like mom would make it, with an egg on top.
– Sea scallop siu mai: lots of color and flavor.
– Sesame chocolate globes: the name sounds weird, but these are amaze balls. no pun intended. A smaller, gooier, chocolate version of Jin Dui. Served with an oddly shaped scoop of vanilla ice cream. TO.DIE.FOR.
Items that we liked and didn’t mind sharing:
– Crystal chive dumplings (3/order): Standard dumpling.
– Pork belly pot stickers (3/order): rule of thumb–potstickers should be bigger than my thumb.
-Chow feung: I don’t know if this is supposed to be chow fun or if I just talk like a fool.
– Shanghai noodles: tender noodles with nice mild curry flavor
Items that we didn’t want to make eye contact with:
– Lobster spring rolls: Two words that should be mutually exclusive–fried and bland.
– Garlic littleneck clams: unlike the globes, the name sounds so good but the taste is kinda blah. Plus these were small and hard to eat.
– Maine Lobster Club: this reminded me why I shouldn’t order american food at dim sum brunch. duhhh.
– American Kobe Sliders: tooooo salty.
And there you have it….13 dishes. There are some clear winners at the Source. After thinking about it, the dishes we liked best are those that were comforting, warm, and familiar. Exactly how we like our Chinese food.
And although XLB is traditionally served for breakfast in China, it’s only served during dinner at the Source. So no XLB for us this time around. I guess we’ll just have to come back for the XLB. And of course, the music.
575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001