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You've got to sink your teeth into Katy's Dumplings! [long]

You've got to sink your teeth into Katy's Dumplings! [long]
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  • Post #61 - April 6th, 2006, 10:55 am
    Post #61 - April 6th, 2006, 10:55 am Post #61 - April 6th, 2006, 10:55 am
    I made my first trip last week for lunch and the place was packed. A table opened up right after we ordered so it was ok. I'm not sure if this was a result of the "LTH Effect” or if they are just busy during lunch-- the place was completely empty at about 1:20.

    We got the beef noodle soup and the dumplings. Everything was wonderfully fresh. I found the soup to be perfectly balanced; spicy and salty, with cilantro to further enhance the depth. The noodles were superb.

    Although, I'm not well versed in dumplings, I do know now how bad the dumplings of my past have been.

    My only problem with this place (and mind you, this will by no means keep me away from the food) were the owners screaming at each other. It started out as a simple argument when we arrived, but by the time we were leaving, they were literally screaming at each other. This made us feel slightly uncomfortable during our meal, but also interfered with our service because they were so preoccupied with each other. Mostly we just found it odd that they made no attempt at all to conceal their problems in front of their customers.

    Overall, this is a great find. Thanks.
  • Post #62 - April 6th, 2006, 4:46 pm
    Post #62 - April 6th, 2006, 4:46 pm Post #62 - April 6th, 2006, 4:46 pm
    I had shrimp stir fried noodles and potstickers for lunch today around 1pm and the owner seemed very quiet to me. Maybe he lost the argument.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #63 - April 16th, 2006, 3:47 pm
    Post #63 - April 16th, 2006, 3:47 pm Post #63 - April 16th, 2006, 3:47 pm
    Ate at Katy's for the first time 4-15-06, and I coulda sworn maybe Cathy2 was there. Wonderful meal of beef noodles, stirfried noodles and potstickers. Will definitely come back. My Mandarin was rusty, but the owner and I were able to converse on a rudimentary basis. It's funny to me that he dresses in the exact outfit as pictured in the first post.
  • Post #64 - April 16th, 2006, 8:49 pm
    Post #64 - April 16th, 2006, 8:49 pm Post #64 - April 16th, 2006, 8:49 pm
    I usually hear Cathy's laugh at a restaurant before I see her. That's my sign to turn around and seek her outv to say hello.
  • Post #65 - April 17th, 2006, 12:11 pm
    Post #65 - April 17th, 2006, 12:11 pm Post #65 - April 17th, 2006, 12:11 pm
    LOL @ Jay K: That cracked me up too on my visit... the owner being dressed like in the pic. I had to look back down at my note to remember what to order. :D

    Planning to visit again before the week is out.
  • Post #66 - April 17th, 2006, 12:36 pm
    Post #66 - April 17th, 2006, 12:36 pm Post #66 - April 17th, 2006, 12:36 pm
    JayK,

    The rumor of my visit to Katy's Noodles is alas on this occasion unlikely. Now if you were at Greek Islands Restaurant on Halsted for lunch, then bingo!

    Funny thing, I have been to Katy's Noodles three times in the last few weeks. Last time was April 10th with my Dad.

    Will's finding me in restaurants due to my laugh has happened a few times. Who knew it was that distinctive or maybe loud?

    Always a pleasure to meet an LTHer. So if you do think you came across me, then please do say hello.

    Best regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #67 - April 18th, 2006, 8:48 pm
    Post #67 - April 18th, 2006, 8:48 pm Post #67 - April 18th, 2006, 8:48 pm
    By strange circumstance, I found myself at Katy’s again today around 2:00. The place was empty, C2’s laughter would have been quite welcome, and I was sorry to disturb the employees who were lunching themselves.

    I have an infamously sensitive stomach, a foodie-bane, that necessitates constant control of what, when, and how much I eat. I wasn’t feeling too well today. I gave up meat for Lent, over indulged on Easter, and was still paying a price.

    I ordered a bowl of wonton soup from the always dressed the same owner (his apron was cleaner today than usual) and settled into a table with a pencil puzzle out of my pocket. It took along time, but I didn’t mind – the day was fine, with the breeze blowing through the propped open door and the chimes were soothing.

    The soup was pretty bland – predominant flavors were the scallion garnish and sesame oil. The wontons were gentle, mostly filled with tiny shrimp. I spooned this up slowly, feeling better with each mouthful. I found myself humming various original and classic tunes, though I tried not to be too obvious about it.

    Finishing, I carried my dishes to the counter to place another order. The owner looked at me a bit askance. I asked for stir fried noodles with shrimp, “for here.”

    “For here?” he said.

    “For here.” I said.

    “Too much for you!” he said. I assured him I would bring home and consume all leftovers as I’ve dutifully done in the past. He nodded, took my cash, and went in back as I returned to my puzzle. I now heard the owner singing from the kitchen in a not unpleasant voice. When he stopped I wanted to urge him to sing more. By the time my courage was up to request this, he started his tune again, and I fell into a blissful reverie.

    When he brought me the heaping dish he told me the noodles were homemade, something he’s now told me at least three times. I smiled at him, told him I know, and that’s why I drove so far to be there.

    I spent along time eating with my chopsticks, all the staff occasionally beaming at me in encouragement. I’d like to report a transcendent dish, but in truth, these beautiful noodles were overcooked, a crime. They would have benefited from a nice drizzle of the chile oil, but I steered away. Still quite tasty.

    At one point I returned to the counter to order a Coke, the owner laughed with genuine humor, “No more food for you.” And laughed even more when he heard my order.

    When he saw I was satiated, he brought a box and a bag. I attempted to fill the container myself, he laughed with good cheer, boxed and bagged my leftovers, and escorted me to the door with a warm smile. I walked into the sunshine better fitted to face the day.

    _______________________

    For those visiting Katy’s, it is worth touring the Hunan Market and Indo-Pak Grocery / Snack bar in the same strip mall. While my non-foodie friends think I know everything culinary, I’m lost and fascinated in places such as these.

    Right next door to Katy’s is a genuine head shop “Sight and Sound.” Incense burning, Boston cranked, bongs in the back. I was asked too many times what I was looking for. At one point an employee pointed to a framed poster of a naked sitting Frank Zappa and said to me, “That’s Joe’s girlfriend.”

    I did not ask for elaboration.

    -ramon
  • Post #68 - April 19th, 2006, 10:06 am
    Post #68 - April 19th, 2006, 10:06 am Post #68 - April 19th, 2006, 10:06 am
    I echo toe recommendation to check out the Indian grocery store a couple of doors down from Katy's. Its called Big Suchir & has a decent supply of all the grocery basics & saves a trip to Devon. The real reason to visit though is the snack bar in the back. Various chaats, snacks, pav bhaji, dhokla & really good kachori to eat there or take away. Its a good quick, cheap lunch stop. All homemade & you can often find the lady who runs the counter chopping various vegs & making fresh subzi in the morning. She also offers various seasonal & festival specialties such as gujia (sweet semolina filled pastries for Holi) and packets of fresh rotis to take home.
  • Post #69 - April 21st, 2006, 2:15 pm
    Post #69 - April 21st, 2006, 2:15 pm Post #69 - April 21st, 2006, 2:15 pm
    I had lunch today at Katy's dumplings and am pleased to report that smiling host man was still wearing his traditional red shirt.
    Last edited by stevez on April 21st, 2006, 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #70 - April 21st, 2006, 2:25 pm
    Post #70 - April 21st, 2006, 2:25 pm Post #70 - April 21st, 2006, 2:25 pm
    I was feeling under the weather today and that combined with being really busy found me seated at the local Chinese buffet for a quick $7 lunch.

    Oh Katy, you have ruined me for other noodles! I took one bite of the insipid machine made noodles and sighed longingly for the toothsome delights in Westmont. There was the barest hint of a kinship in the taste of the ginger and garlic but it was fleeting at best and if anything made the differences more pronounced.

    I can pretty safely say that I cannot see myself ever ordering lo mein from anywhere else again unless another place of similar quality opens up. Katy's has taken the noodle bar and raised it to the point where it is simply not worth eating them anywhere else. Between Katy's hand pulled noodles, Sticky Rice's Khao Sowy (sic), and LTH's extra crispy chow fun with clams, my list of acceptable noodle shops is rapidly becoming laser focused, but in a good way.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #71 - April 21st, 2006, 9:01 pm
    Post #71 - April 21st, 2006, 9:01 pm Post #71 - April 21st, 2006, 9:01 pm
    stevez wrote:I had lunch today at Katy's dumplings and am pleased to report that smiling host man was still wearing his traditional red shirt.

    Steve,

    Yep, red shirt was in play today, I think it'd be fun to track 'Red Shirt' at Katy's days. :)

    Dan Dan noodle, spicy fried noodles and pot stickers were simply terrific, though I also enjoy coaxing a smile from Mr. Red Shirt, he has an incredibly bright, warm, sincere smile.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #72 - April 22nd, 2006, 8:21 am
    Post #72 - April 22nd, 2006, 8:21 am Post #72 - April 22nd, 2006, 8:21 am
    stevez wrote:I had lunch today at Katy's dumplings and am pleased to report that smiling host man was still wearing his traditional red shirt.


    I was there on Thursday for lunch, and he had on the same red shirt.

    They say that Albert Einstein's wardrobe contained identical sets of clothes to free him from thinking about what to wear every day. I suspect something like this is happening here too. He's clearly a genius in the noodle world. :wink:

    Tim
  • Post #73 - April 22nd, 2006, 3:44 pm
    Post #73 - April 22nd, 2006, 3:44 pm Post #73 - April 22nd, 2006, 3:44 pm
    Ok... that's it. I was on my way to Home Depot, but now it looks like I'll be driving 30 miles out of the way to Kay's. I'll try to get something different this time and will also be on the lookout for the persistent red shirt. Image
  • Post #74 - June 11th, 2006, 10:23 am
    Post #74 - June 11th, 2006, 10:23 am Post #74 - June 11th, 2006, 10:23 am
    I was there yesterday and the red shirt struck again. My hubby had the beef noodle soup and I had the house special wonton soup. The wonton soup was simply wontons and napa and tons of soup... I recommend staying with the noodles!
  • Post #75 - June 11th, 2006, 12:43 pm
    Post #75 - June 11th, 2006, 12:43 pm Post #75 - June 11th, 2006, 12:43 pm
    mby385 wrote:I was there yesterday and the red shirt struck again.

    Mby385,

    I was last at Katy's on 6.6.06, Red Shirt was in play. :)

    Lunch was terrific!

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #76 - June 12th, 2006, 12:47 pm
    Post #76 - June 12th, 2006, 12:47 pm Post #76 - June 12th, 2006, 12:47 pm
    On my 3/30 visit I had the Szechwan Noodle Soup... it wasn't spicy at all. Maybe I shoulda told him I could handle the heat. On my next visit I tried the Beef Noodle Soup and can now say my favorite is the Beef Tendon Noodle Soup, which I had on my 1st visit.

    Oh yeah, the red shirt was in the house on both visits. I wonder what his closet looks like. I also got to experience one of their heated family discussions. :wink: Seems they were more loud than angry.

    Peace!
    Goliano
  • Post #77 - June 13th, 2006, 8:19 am
    Post #77 - June 13th, 2006, 8:19 am Post #77 - June 13th, 2006, 8:19 am
    I went here over the weekend after looking and the pictures and praise about their food. I usually go to the plaza right off of Ogden and 83. But, this wasn’t too far off of it. All I can say everything was as good as I hoped...well except the dumplings. They weren’t all that good to me. I have had better, but I am sure everybody has. But, everthing else was right on. We ordered 4 noodle dishes and the drunken chicken. The drunken chicken was too drunk for me. LOL. It has too much of a wine taste to it. Next time I go I will just stick to the noodle dishes. I wish this place was right next to my work.

    On a side note, the owner there was very short and mechanical. But, from what I was told, that is how people from his origin act.
  • Post #78 - June 13th, 2006, 8:39 am
    Post #78 - June 13th, 2006, 8:39 am Post #78 - June 13th, 2006, 8:39 am
    Mario wrote:from what I was told, that is how people from his origin act.
    WTH does that mean? Why can't people focus on the grub this week?

    Lao Er content: my fave side is the mixed 5 spice appetizer mixed - spiced dou gan (dried tofu), seawood, beef and eggs. ask him to top it off w/ some cilantro and sesame oil (even tho he may be unwilling). killer bargain and almost as good as mine. :twisted:
  • Post #79 - June 13th, 2006, 9:05 am
    Post #79 - June 13th, 2006, 9:05 am Post #79 - June 13th, 2006, 9:05 am
    Mario wrote:On a side note, the owner there was very short and mechanical.
    Was it R2-D2?
  • Post #80 - June 14th, 2006, 2:02 pm
    Post #80 - June 14th, 2006, 2:02 pm Post #80 - June 14th, 2006, 2:02 pm
    Mario wrote:I went here over the weekend after looking and the pictures and praise about their food. I usually go to the plaza right off of Ogden and 83. But, this wasn’t too far off of it. All I can say everything was as good as I hoped...well except the dumplings. They weren’t all that good to me. I have had better, but I am sure everybody has. But, everthing else was right on. We ordered 4 noodle dishes and the drunken chicken. The drunken chicken was too drunk for me. LOL. It has too much of a wine taste to it. Next time I go I will just stick to the noodle dishes. I wish this place was right next to my work.


    I agree with Mario. Dumplings were definitely NOT the best I've had. Not even in the really great category, I'd say, even though I really wanted to love them.

    Here's my recap of our visit: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=79696#79696
    "I don't like the whole mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables thing. Too much texture: One is really smooth and the other is really hard." - from an overheard conversation
  • Post #81 - June 14th, 2006, 5:43 pm
    Post #81 - June 14th, 2006, 5:43 pm Post #81 - June 14th, 2006, 5:43 pm
    i'd say i like the dumplings because im not putting in all the labor to make them(it can be rather tedious the way my hubby and m.i.l. taught me). going to katy's - its a quick way to satisfy a craving. the best dumplings i had were in california eating dim sum! :lol: but i must say the noodles.... are grrrrrrrreeeat! uHmmm i know they are a few posting on dumplings, but if yah could - please reply with your rec. and compare it to katy's. tia!
  • Post #82 - June 15th, 2006, 12:36 am
    Post #82 - June 15th, 2006, 12:36 am Post #82 - June 15th, 2006, 12:36 am
    TonyC wrote:
    Mario wrote:from what I was told, that is how people from his origin act.
    WTH does that mean? Why can't people focus on the grub this week?



    You're right. People seem to be overly sensitive this week.
  • Post #83 - June 15th, 2006, 9:48 am
    Post #83 - June 15th, 2006, 9:48 am Post #83 - June 15th, 2006, 9:48 am
    mby385 wrote:i'd say i like the dumplings because im not putting in all the labor to make them(it can be rather tedious the way my hubby and m.i.l. taught me). going to katy's - its a quick way to satisfy a craving. the best dumplings i had were in california eating dim sum! :lol: but i must say the noodles.... are grrrrrrrreeeat! uHmmm i know they are a few posting on dumplings, but if yah could - please reply with your rec. and compare it to katy's. tia!


    I don't know that I've had great non-soup dumplings yet in Chicago. But then again, it's not something I order often when I go to restaurants here. I should probably start, though...

    Best dumplings/potstickers I've had have been from:

    - a dumpling shack in Beijing behind our study abroad dorms at Beijing Foreign Language Institute

    - a place outside of LA called Dumpling 1 2 3 (in Chinese it's "Yuen Bao Hsiao Guan") on Valley Blvd. in El Monte -- GREAT seafood dumplings

    - A&J Restaurant (aka "Ban Mu Yuan") in Annandale, VA, just outside of DC -- known for their potstickers

    - and every now and then ones made by myself or family members (when seasoned correctly)

    I prefer dumplings w/ handmade wrappers when I get them, but don't usually bother with that when I make them myself. Filling has to be juicy and flavorful--not overwhelmingly meaty or chive-y etc. I also like my potstickers CRISPY. Kind of pointless when they're served soggy w/ no crunch to the browned side. Potstickers made from frozen wrappers are, in my opinion, equal to if not better than handmade since a thinner wrapper gets crispier.
    "I don't like the whole mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables thing. Too much texture: One is really smooth and the other is really hard." - from an overheard conversation
  • Post #84 - June 17th, 2006, 3:36 pm
    Post #84 - June 17th, 2006, 3:36 pm Post #84 - June 17th, 2006, 3:36 pm
    Mr. Red Shirt was wearing a blue shirt for a change today. That's the first time in about 12 visits!
  • Post #85 - June 17th, 2006, 4:12 pm
    Post #85 - June 17th, 2006, 4:12 pm Post #85 - June 17th, 2006, 4:12 pm
    Another thanks to JeffB and Sazerac for posting on this place. Love it. Mr Red/Blue Shirt is Mr. Zhou lao er (second son Zhou). He has always been really nice to us other than making fun of my poorly pronounced mandarin. He told us he has been in the restaurant biz for 30 years and was partners with the Ed's Potsticker House group until they parted ways 6 years ago and he opened Katy's. I think he told us his family has been making these famous dumplings in He Bei for 3- 4 generations and the eunuchs from the Forbidden City would eat there or something like that. Again, my mandarin is pretty shaky. Yum, spicy beef tendon and noodles sound great in this 90+ degree weather!
  • Post #86 - June 24th, 2006, 11:00 am
    Post #86 - June 24th, 2006, 11:00 am Post #86 - June 24th, 2006, 11:00 am
    I had a glimpse of perfection yesterday after eating lunch at Katy's again, and thought other people might want to try it as well. On a whim, I tried the "Stir-fried onion pancake with shredded pork" item listed under the Homemade noodle section of the menu. What I got was a thick, julienned-type of dough that had the same chewiness as the noodles, but even more so. It was mixed with shredded pork, onions, carrots, etc in a similar sauce as the stir-fried noodle dish. Added a lot of chili oil, and I found nirvana. If you really like the chewiness of the noodles here, try this dish to take it over the top!
    "My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people."

    -Orson Welles-
  • Post #87 - July 15th, 2006, 4:15 pm
    Post #87 - July 15th, 2006, 4:15 pm Post #87 - July 15th, 2006, 4:15 pm
    Does anyone know what is the Chinese name for the beef tendon noodle soup at Katy's? The beef noodle soup is called niu rou mian, I believe.
  • Post #88 - July 16th, 2006, 9:22 am
    Post #88 - July 16th, 2006, 9:22 am Post #88 - July 16th, 2006, 9:22 am
    In Mandarin: niou jin mien
    In Cantonese: Ngou gun mien
  • Post #89 - July 18th, 2006, 2:55 pm
    Post #89 - July 18th, 2006, 2:55 pm Post #89 - July 18th, 2006, 2:55 pm
    In recognition that the sun is currently parked about 872 feet above the surface of Chicagoland, Mr Zhou was wearing a black tank top today. I had the cold szechwan noodles which were just about perfect for today.
  • Post #90 - July 21st, 2006, 2:58 pm
    Post #90 - July 21st, 2006, 2:58 pm Post #90 - July 21st, 2006, 2:58 pm
    Janet C. wrote:Hmm...I guess I have to be the odd (wo)man out here.

    When my mom and her friend were in town back in April, we trekked all the way out to Katy's Dumplings (a good hour out of our way) after all the stellar reviews I read here. I really, really wanted to love this place, but I think we all came away a little disappointed.

    I did really like the stir fried noodles w/ shrimp, but thought the potstickers were not the best I've had. The filling wasn't nearly as flavorful as the ones I make at home for Chinese New Years (and I wouldn't even call myself the greatest of dumpling makers).

    The beef noodle soup was, for me, the greatest disappointment. This has been one of my favorite dishes ever since I was little, and I've sadly had to reconcile with the fact that it's a rare thing to find a well-made beef noodle soup. Most places just do not make very flavorful broths. The best I've had is from a family friend's Chinese restaurant where my mom works part time in, of all places, Richmond, VA.

    We also ordered a few of their cold dishes. My mom and her friend thought one of them was done pretty well, although I'm sorry to say that I can't remember which one it was. They both thought everything was way too salty. Indeed, it was lucky that we had some bottled water in the car since the restaurant only had tea to give us (which was kind of weird).

    If I happened to be in the neighborhood, I might go back for the shrimp noodles, but otherwise I just wasn't as impressed as many others who've raved about this place. In fact, I was a little embarrassed afterwards that we'd gone that out of our way to eat there, but I guess at least it was worth finding out for ourselves what the food is like. Just wish we could've liked it better.


    Wow, I really have to question your taste in authentic Chinese food, regardless of your background. This is very authentic Chinese food. I say this from experience in China and Taiwan as well as from the many Chinese people who swear by this restaurant. The beef noodle soup is their specialty and is outstanding. If you didn't like it, then you really don't like authentic Chinese beef noodle soup, ditto for their dumplings. Maybe you make dumplings a certain way at home and like that, but perhaps you wouldn't like dumplings in Asia as well? Not every Chinese person who I know who has gone there likes every dish, but they all tell me it is authentic. Perhaps it is the region that 'Jao Lao Er' is from? Maybe you wouldn't like that region's dishes as well. The owner has a very successful restaurant in China and came here to open one in the U.S. Much of the menu is only available in Chinese.

    This guy is 'right off the boat', and I have known both the owner and his wife for a while now ('Katy', his wife, works down the street at a Sushi place that is Chinese owned.) You will not find a nicer, friendlier couple than these two, especially if you speak Chinese with them. I know that has nothing to do with the food, but makes it a fun place to visit for me.

    Your review of this restaurant is way off base and I really had to reply so that others who wish to sample authentic Chinese noodle and dumpling dishes using hand made ingredients are not turned off by your review.
    This is a very authentic Chinese restaurant for the dishes it serves. You may love it, or not, but it is authentic and I think it is great (as do scads of Chinese patrons). Seriously worth more than an hour out of your way to try.

    ET

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