Dynasty Chinese Cuisine
At Dynasty, all manner of clientele are ticking off their orders on a small paper menu, eager for piping hot little dumplings to be whisked to their tables. Dim sum makes for a great lazy Sunday brunch alternative.
Although that Sunday afternoon found a hungry queue, plus a 20 minute wait despite having reservations, there certainly weren't any cart-pushing hawkers. Over looking Bloor Street West, nestled amongst mid to high end shops, it's not exactly where you'd think to go for dim sum.
Be-fitting of its location, perhaps, is the higher price point. There are 72 items on the menu marked as: S ($2.95), M ($4.60), L ($5.10), XL ($5.95), or XXL ($7.50). Most were familiar, but some more intriguing, such as the crispy shrimp puree roll wrapped in asparagus and bacon (pictured above). It had to be tried. The hearty sphere of ground shrimp, pierced with a wee bit of asparagus, was deep fried to a dry crispness that made the bacon like a cracker.
The steamed vegetarian dumplings were packets of baby corn, carrots, bamboo, and mushrooms in a nicely al dente wrapper. It was nicer still, with a dash of wasabi-esque yellow mustard or hot chili sauce (typical table condiments); or better yet, red rice vinegar brought upon request.
Steamed assorted mushrooms & snow pea leaves dumpling was reported to be the tastier veg package. Similarly enrobed steamed supreme har gow (shrimp dumplings) held nuggets of sweet crustacean.
Steamed rice crepe with fried dough stick is exactly that: a savory fried donut, wrapped in rice noodle. Although drizzled with a sweet soy sauce, it's sided with requisite dipping sauces: rich sesame and super sweet hoisin. The donut retained its crunch, but the rice noodle was too mushy for my liking, so soft it easily disintegrated in the mouth like gelatin.
Stir fried turnip pate with supreme spicy sauce works better with that delicate melting texture.
It's coat of XO sauce (made from dried scallops) provided a gritty, briny contrast.
We ended with one sweet bite, a dim sum favorite, brown sugar buttered sponge cake. Yellow and rich with yoke but light and fluffy, it's best eaten while still warm.
Dynasty is a safe bet for dependable dim sum. Service was sufficient, and there are more veg-friendly selections than most other places that always seem to sneak in pork or shrimp. It's evident that the extra dollars they charge go towards the quality of their fare - traditional offerings with touches of flourish - as well as a more refined setting. It's the kind of place that's good to take newcomers to be initiated into the dim sum delights of Chinese Tea.