Well, I was a bit torn about this week’s blog post. I considered postponing posting it until I'd spoken to both the owner and GM of Yummy House, the restaurant in question.
By now almost everyone on the Suncoast knows that the one pretty good Chinese restaurant in our area failed its health inspection more than once at its old location, leading to a shut down.
That said, it's amazing how easily one can forgive when a flavorful order of steamed clams in black bean sauce with chive dumplings appears in front of you. The whole thing reminded me of a trip to NYC several years ago. We were on our way to a restaurant for a plate of steaming soup dumplings, a dish I dream about. When we got there, we saw a notice from the board of health announcing the restaurant had been shut down—and a line of angry diners wanting their dumplings, no matter what.
Well, like those customers, I easily justified my last three visits to Yummy House's new location across from Sarasota Memorial Hospital. And when I asked several people if they minded eating at the restaurant again, they said, "Without a doubt."
Some things just cannot stand in the way of good dim sum.
Yummy House's owner and general manager both told me that the refrigeration was located in the parking lot outside their previous location on the North Trail—never a good sign. Still, I wanted a full tour of the new kitchen to make sure it was spotless and adhering to protocol. Clean kitchen: check.
And judging by the crowds, I suggest reservations, even at lunch. The menu is a mirror of the previous location, and lunchtime dim sum menu is just a pencil check away. Steamed dumplings and pan-fried dumplings (especially the pork) are a must.
Most Yummy House regulars will tell you to order the famous salt-and-pepper calamari, a signature dish, along with a light version of barbecue fried rice. Where some places dump too much soy sauce onto the rice, Yummy House respects the grain, and the dish is fluffy and flavorful with egg and scallions.
Peking duck is worth ordering‚ and honestly, it's probably the only one in town. But the vegetarian dishes are standouts. Braised eggplant and green onions in garlic oyster sauce is a must-order, along with steamed Chinese broccoli, also with oyster sauce. Snow pea tips topped with mushrooms are delicate, and those whole shiitake mushrooms are perfect—especially when their sauce is mixed into an order of fried rice or Singapore rice noodles. The new location also has a full bar, separated dining areas and, oh yes, that daily dim sum.
From someone who grew up as a weekend New Yorker, trust me when I say that when it involves Chinese food, we do tend to be forgiving. Let’s hope Yummy House stays on its game. The food is good enough to warrant our forgiveness.
Yummy House | 1737 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota | (941) 351-1688 | Open daily from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m.