I’ve walked by this locale a thousand times over the years. There was always some new restaurant here that never took, whose arrival I’d await with anticipation yet with menus that ultimately never enticed me. That changed now that East Wind Snack Shop opened a month ago. Chef Chris Cheung (Nobu, Jean-Georges) may have cracked the code of this odd little space right off the F train at Prospect Park West.
Cheung has lived in this hood for 16 years. I bet he walked down those F Train steps thinking “what could I do with that space?” as often as I have. The result is a small family run spot by a local and celebrated chef buzzing like none before it.
The menu (dumplings, buns, ribs, spring rolls, etc.) is tight and approachable – seemingly do-able in a super small kitchen. Were there days early on when they’d run out of dumplings? Yeah, but you would too if your dumplings tasted like these. And they’re on top of it, even extending their hours till 9.
Did we wait a bit when we ordered to go? Yeah, but it’s a new hotspot, and that’s what happens. I’m not rushing to Yelp to complain about it. I even take some of the blame since we really should have just eaten there instead of taking-out. It’s a nice low-fi vibe. Cute stools. They were sweet and apologized for the wait, twice giving us treats, including these Haws that my girl knew instantly. Soft sugary fruit wafers wrapped like Chinese firecrackers.
We sauntered home with steaming hot dumplings and such in a brown paper bag, our expectations high. Maybe too high, considering there was no guarantee this stuff would even still be hot when we finally dug in. Cut to the chase; everything was hot and delicious. The Pan Fried Juicy Pork Dumplings were delectable. Just the right amount of salty, not overly doughy and not stingy with the pork, cooked perfectly with a shiny happy sear. The dictionary definition of what I want when I want one. And I want more than one.
We also had the the Sweet Chili Ribs with Pickles and Jasmine Rice. They were a thing of simple beauty, even fresh out of the plastic take-out carton. Perfectly tender and glazed. I did a little dance inside when my girl let me eat the last one.
Oh, East Wind, we needed you in these parts. I look forward to a getting my hands on your buns and hotcakes.
Update: I’ve eaten here many times at this point. Everything on the menu is worth trying, including the Buddhist Delight vegetarian dish. Long live East Wind Snack Shop!