Two years ago, we reviewed this buzzing new "dim sum" restaurant in the West Village, and decided that how much you will like it probably depends on what you think a dim sum dining experience should be. We've since been back a few times to check in on the joint, and Red Farm appears to be exactly the same as we remembered it - just with more hot people.
As we said last time around, Red Farm is not the place for the person that shows up in Chinatown at 11am, ready to battle it out with 100 other people for the best shrimp dumplings and chicken feet from a rolling cart. This is not an authentic dim sum experience, and if you go in expecting that, you're probably going to hate it. Red Farm is more suited for people who know dumplings better as "pot stickers", and maybe have a little trouble with chopsticks. And it's also now seems to be a popular destination for people who are famous or think they're famous because they were in Hamptons magazine once. There's a serious "see and be seen" situation going on in this tiny little restaurant.
Aside from the crowd observations, we're happy to report that the food seems to have only improved at Red Farm, though we still like the things from the dim sum menu more than we like the entree-type dishes. The name of the game here is creativity, and the more creative things coming out of the kitchen tend to be the most satisfying. Order the Pac Man dumplings, the Katz' pastrami egg roll, and the dumplings that look like stingrays, and you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good meal. You'll probably have a good time too, assuming you like to people watch. (You do).
These small pastry cups are topped off with a piece of filet mignon and some snow peas. We weren't sure what to make of it, and somehow the meat was a bit fatty and unpleasant to chew. Skip these and go heavier on dumplings.
Holy sh*t. The last time I tasted something so good and yet so clearly terrible for my well-being was when I put a fried Snicker's bar into a bowl of ice cream. This is an egg roll that's been stuffed with Katz's pastrami and cabbage and then fried until appropriately greasy. It's then served with deli mustard and a side of shame.
We like soup dumplings. A lot. Which is why we go to Joe's Shanghai. These pork and crab guys are pretty excellent in their own right...but Joe's this is not. Keep that in mind and you'll be happy.
Well isn't that neat, they look like stingrays. We like these big fried crab and duck dumplings a lot. But we like the curry sauce in the middle of the dish even more. Make sure you dunk the dumplings in that stuff, and then get up in there with a spoon before they take the plate away.
You gotta admit, this looks pretty awesome. Points for creativity and points for these being very tasty little shrimp dumplings. I now demand some thing delicious in the shape of Donkey Kong. What? You started this, now finish it.
This huge, sliced rib steak with bok choy looked promising, and came highly recommended by our waitress. Unfortunately, we found it to be a big snooze. There are plenty of other things on this menu for the meat loving/iron deficient diner.
This one was the winner from the "Rice & Noodles" section on the Red Farm menu. Korean rice cakes make me happy, and the Chinese sausage here is pretty damn good.
Another good one from the noodles section, especially if you're looking for something with seafood in it. When crab meets noodles, good things happen.