8733 SE Division St., No. 101, 788-8883, wongsking.com.
[GIMME SUM MORE] When I last ate dim sum at Wong's King, I stood in the parking lot and watched as two men loaded a pig—whole, fully cooked—into the trunk of a car. After taking a number, Jewish deli-style, and entering the low-slung, wood-paneled banquet room, I peered into the kitchen and saw an entire flock of chickens, plucked and hanging from the ceiling. I stepped a few feet farther to the massive tanks of lobster and jellyfish. At Wong's King, you observe your food before you commit, and observe you should. Accept everything offered by the lilac tunic-clad servers and you'll have to be rolled into someone's trunk. Better to peer into the metal carts as they pass and steal glances at other diners' tables. That's how we snagged wonderful deep-fried shrimp balls, their crispy wonton tentacles exploding from a soft interior and drizzled with sweet-and-sour sauce. Standard dim sum offerings are uniformly excellent: delicate clamshell-shaped shrimp dumplings; hearty pan-fried pork-and-chive dumplings; pork shumai nestled in crinkly wonton cups. I didn't care for the sweet tofu, sheets of silken bean curd swimming in a sugary broth redolent of green tea and ginger, but it earned raves from my dining companion. "Mmm, brains!" he whooped, plunging his spoon into the sweet soup.
Ideal meal: Point at whatever looks good. Well, and those shrimp balls. And the steamed Shanghai dumplings. Oh, and the Chinese doughnut, which is like a churro wrapped in a paper-thin rice noodle, splashing in a little pond of sweet soy sauce.
Best deal: Good luck spending more than $20 per person at dim sum. If you do, we pity your digestive system.
Pro tip: For dim sum (served until 3 pm daily), show up early or bring a book. But don't forget that Wong's King has a full dinner menu, featuring seriously impressive seafood dishes.
10 am-11 pm Monday-Friday, 9:30 am-11 pm Saturday-Sunday. $-$$$.