I’ve been looking longingly at the “Dim Sum Coming Soon” sign hanging at T&T Seafood Restaurant in Edmonds for nearly two months, and on Monday (quick on the heels of the happy news from Dick’s Drive-In) I got what I’ve been waiting for: dim sum in my hometown! Wasting no time, I beat feet to T&T, a place I’ve been touting since it made its debut in its original location — a rickety little cafe in Shoreline. And there awaited a world of surprises.
I beat feet to T&T for the dim sum opening-salvo Monday. Chicken feet, that is.
For a Monday, before noon, on a ridiculously rainy day, the fact that the enormous restaurant was filling up fast was my first surprise. Everywhere I looked, customers were taking chopsticks to dim sum, offered on hand-held trays and via rolling carts by servers I’d never seen before. Which is truly saying something, since I burn up most of my Chinese-food dollars right here.
Save me some steamed beef balls, OK?
FYI: In addition to soup noodles, Wonton Noodle House is now offering excellent jellyfish with pickled eggs.
I’ll be the first to admit my cover was blown long ago at T&T, where I’m no stranger to the crew or their bosses, Tony and Theresa — having lent them a hand more than once over the last decade. And I mean that literally as well as literarily.
I once spent an entire day at the restaurant, from 11 a.m. till midnight, for a feature story on how the kitchen works at a big Chinese joint whose menu features more than 100 different dishes. When things got busy, as they did during that reportorial visit, I put my long-honed waitressing skills to work, as you can see in the photo below.
That’s me, bussing a table, in the upper right quadrant of this 2005 photo. [Seattle Times photo/John Lok]
On Monday’s visit, I was thrilled to see that one of my lunch-special standards — honey pork chops — were making the rounds alongside pan-fried turnip cake.
Turnip cake and honey pork chops? Sweet!
Dim sum’s on the menu. But don’t worry, you can still get Szechuan chicken, Nicole Brodeur’s favorite Walnut Shrimp and Nate’s top pick, “House Special Crab.”
I was also interested to learn that the entire secondary prep-room (an add-on after T&T expanded into the store-next-door several years after moving into the 99 Ranch Market complex) had been made-over into a separate dim sum kitchen. That kitchen is now the province of dim sum chef Bill Chow, who’s plied his trade locally and nationally, and was a careful hire after a six month search, says owner/chef Tony Mann, posing here with his wife and business-partner Theresa and Chef Bill.
Mondays are Tony and Theresa’s day off, but they were on hand for the dim sum debut.
OK, so here it goes: my big surprise. In the many years I’ve been chronicling the local dim sum scene, I’ve noticed that some of my top dim sum reviews (including the opening of Imperial Garden Seafood Restaurant in Kent and O’Asian in downtown Seattle) involved restaurants where service was led by a curly-haired dude in a suit. And I was overjoyed to see that, unbeknownst to me, Tony had not only increased his staff by a dozen new faces, he’d hired an old familiar one: David Lau, with whom he’d worked years ago at Fortune City, seen below in his suit, with the appropriately named Chef Chow.
Manager David Lau (right) has been busy training servers at T&T. In addition to lengthy stints at Imperial Garden and O’Asian, he’s a familiar face from Purple Dot in the International District.
They’re serving dim sum daily from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. See you there!