Saturday was a good food day, even if both meals were well north of South Austin! Chen's for lunch, then Get Sum Dim Sum for dinner. Best described by a reviewer on Yelp as "the McDonaldization of dim sum," and a few mixed food reviews, I was a touch hesitant, but walked in with an open mind. Up at 45th & Lamar, it's locally owned (by the folks who own the Thai place Satay on Anderson), and occupies the spot previously filled by Panda Express; I had only been in there once, years ago, and can't remember the decor. GSDS greets you with some slightly garish paint colors (bright pink & green), but otherwise is fairly clean lines and looks.
Good thing I had read up on the place a bit before going. You look at the menu, fill out your order form, and then take it to the counter. No quaint little carts or stainless steel trolleys coming to your table, which does take out some of the fun of dim sum, and hence the McDonaldization. I think you used to fill out a paper order form/ticket, but there were none with the menus at the stand coming in the back door from the parking lot, so I went to the counter to ask. I was told they had changed things, and you now use a water-soluble marker and write directly on the laminated menus. Oh. Fortunately, the menus have pictures!!! Without that, I really think I would have been lost. So once you know what & how to order, you're fine.
The two of us ordered: A10, Salt & Pepper Seaweed Wrapped Tofu; A11 Woo Gok (taro croquette w/ shitake & bamboo); A15 Cha Siu Puff Pastry (Chinese BBQ pork in puff pastry); A22 Bok Choy w/ oyster sauce (which isn't listed on the go to menu I have linked here); B1 Cha Siu Steamed Bao (Chinese BBQ pork steamed bun); B2 Cha Siu Baked Bao (Chinese BBQ pork baked bun); and B10 Sesame Balls. And a Thai ice tea, all for $23.
We had barely gotten our water & utensils when the food began arriving. We were at a 2-top table, next to an open 4-top; it was not busy at all, and would have pulled one of the other tables closer to us to better arrange all our little plates, but the tables are bolted in place to the floor! (At least along the bench seating section past the drink machines.) Oh well, we just crammed everything onto our little table. After my little trepidations from reading other's reviews, I was pleasantly surprised with the food. The real winners were the Seaweed Wrapped Tofu (good flavor, lightly fried, not greasy, perfect for splitting), the Cha Siu Puff Pastry (great flaky texture, nice pork -- not too sweet or gooey in the BBQ sauce) & the Sesame Balls (mmmm, bean paste not sickly sweet). My friend and I were split on the steamed vs. baked buns. It's the same pork as in the puff (we were in porky moods); I liked the steamed a bit better, but couldn't really tell you why, other than the baked bun has something lightly glazed across the top and it made my fingers sticky. The bok choy was quite good too. The only thing that wasn't really great was the Woo Gok. It wasn't really hot, and you could tell from looking at the bottom that it had been sitting for awhile, as the grease had accumulated. So maybe when they're real fresh, they're good, but to me the filling also didn't have much flavor. I'd say everything else came at the appropriate temperature.
From the get go, when I asked about how to order, the service was very friendly and helpful. It was not busy when we arrived, and by a bit after 8pm, they got a small rush of people. As we were finishing up, I grabbed a menu to write down what we had ordered. The guy who was clearing our dishes saw me writing things down, and commented "So you can remember what you ate?" I said yes, and he said he could get me a print out of our order ticket. I also asked if they had carryout menus, and he promptly came back with both the ticket and the menu. Done!
While I miss the carts of a traditional dim sum place, if you want dim sum on a Wednesday night, you can now get it. I intend to go back and try some of the dumplings we didn't get this time around and certainly more of the pork in puff pastry! Techonological note: sorry, I don't know how to scan something and then link it to the blog, so I just scanned the menu as a photo to add here. Sorry it's hard to read (but if you click on it, it should give you a larger view), but just go check out the place for yourself! Also, at this writing, their website only consists of the main page "under construction" no menu posted there.