A wonder of world cuisine, the dumpling comes in a plethora of inter- as well as intra-country varieties. China alone lays claim to over a dozen sorts, with variations in casing, shape and cooking method. Today's review will zero in on two of these permutations (xiao long bao and guotie), specialties of downtown's Sammi & Soupe Dumpling.
As I drove by this little shop for takeout, I noticed how calm the student-heavy stretch of Sainte-Catherine Street near Concordia University was on this beautiful Saturday night. I could never dream of quickly finding a nearby parking spot on a pre-pandemic weekend.
As the restaurant's name suggests, Sammi's menu is high on soups, dumplings – including wontons – and soup dumplings. I did not care much for the tame hot and sour soup, and I could not comment on the starters since the noodle salad I ordered was missing from the bag.
As for the dumplings, beginning with the xiao long bao (steamed soup-filled dumplings); these were soft, moist and oozing with broth. The guotie (pan-fried potstickers), on the other hand, lost their crispiness – probably from sweating in their own steam during the drive back home. Their filling was savoury however, and went well with the spicy soy/vinegar dipping sauce.
Call it what you want – Shaughnessy Village, Chinatown 2, Concordia Ghetto; this neighborhood is one of the most restaurant-dense and crowded in town. And while the student population is large enough to sustain this extensive offering, restaurant turnaround is actually quite high in the area.
In the face of all this, Sammi has managed to stay afloat for several years by building a reputation around its well-crafted, juicy soup dumplings. It has also expanded its repertoire with frozen dumplings to cook at home, in reaction to the continued COVID-19 restrictions.
Personally I enjoyed the steamed version over its fried counterparts; those are probably better enjoyed on the spot, straight out of the pan. In light of that, I won't make up my mind about Sammi from one takeout meal; a revisit is warranted…
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $16.50
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.