Houston Chinatown staple Arco Seafood is one of America's top places for dim sum, according to a new article in Travel + Leisure. The magazine recommends Arco's "pan-fried turnip cakes, addicting pork spareribs in black bean sauce, and extra-crispy shrimp balls," in its write up.
Houston diners might quibble with the nod, but arguing about which restaurant on Bellaire serves the best dim sum is practically a full time sport among the dumpling obsessed. While some may prefer Golden Dim Sum, HK Dim Sum (a favorite of Underbelly's Chris Shepherd) or Fung's Kitchen, Arco Seafood has always held its own as a dim sum destination.
One of the reasons for Arco's success is that diners order individual items from a menu rather than selecting them from carts.
One of the reasons for Arco's success is that diners order individual items from a menu rather than selecting them from carts. Doing so ensures each item arrives hot and fresh, rather than having made multiple laps around a dining room. Also, menu service eliminates the language barrier that can prevent English-speaking diners from trying dishes they might otherwise avoid.
While the article doesn't discuss the rest of Arco's menu, the restaurant makes an excellent dinner destination too. The fresh seafood dishes and Peking duck are some of the best in Houston.
Still, carts are becoming popular at brunch at restaurants around the country. In San Antonio, chef Jason Dady uses them at his newly opened, "not authentic" fusion spot Umai Mi, and Food Network celebrity Giada De Laurentiis will employ them for "Italian dim sum" at her upcoming Las Vegas restaurant.
If the trend has come to San Antonio, expect to see it in Houston soon.