At first we didn’t understand the odd-ish name of Walnut Creek’s new Chinese dumpling house, Dumpling Hours. But after a lunch stopover, it is now clear. The made-to-order dumplings are so pillowy soft and tasty — the dough is delicate enough to see through — you’ll want to consume them day and night.
The casual, sit-down spot from the owners of San Francisco’s Dumpling Home held its soft opening yesterday, Aug. 12, at 1389 N. Main Street, Suite B, in the former Burger Loft. And if its second day of business is any indication, it is going to be a success. The restaurant opened at 11 a.m. and by 12:30 p.m., diners were seated both inside, where about 10 tables look into the open kitchen, and at another five or so tables on the patio.
Dumpling Hours specializes in a variety of traditional Chinese dumplings, from boiled ($8-$11) and pan-fried ($9-$13) to the wildly-popular steamed bao or soup dumplings ($7-$24), which are offered in four or eight pieces and arrive still steaming in a bamboo basket.
The Numb & Spicy Pork Xia Long Bao ($8) were exquisite; not your typical thick-skinned dumplings. These were near-sheer, graceful purses filled with perfectly-cooked pork and a squirt of red spicy sauce that is gently washed away by the savory burst of broth. I easily could’ve eaten the larger portion ($15).
I supplemented my bao with a light Wood Ear and Silver Ear Mushrooms Salad ($7), a dish I always order when eating out in Chinatown. Like the more well-known, brown-colored wood ears, silver ear mushrooms are thin and crunchy and prized in Chinese cooking for their health benefits. They are much lighter in color though — appearing like cabbage or sauerkraut — but give off the same umami flavor and addictive snap as wood ears. Super stoked to have this dish in my neighborhood now.
In addition to the small plates and salads, the Dumpling Hours menu has a small offering of noodles ($13-$19) as well as soups ($10-$12). Stay tuned for more news on this bright addition to Walnut Creek’s dining scene. The restaurant’s opening hours are 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily for lunch and 4:30 to 9 p.m.