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You've got to sink your teeth into Katy's Dumplings! [long]

You've got to sink your teeth into Katy's Dumplings! [long]
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  • Post #691 - November 8th, 2019, 8:37 am
    Post #691 - November 8th, 2019, 8:37 am Post #691 - November 8th, 2019, 8:37 am
    Had a knockout new bowl yesterday– their Chongqing "ma la" noodles from the specials board. Noods were perf. Broth was robust, salty, decidedly more of a soup than the dan dan. The toppings set things apart, much like the set of deftly prepped ingredients that Santander highlights above in his recent dan dan–brightly fresh chives, a judicious dallop of highly seasoned ground pork, sesame seeds, and new to the mix, super fresh toasted peanuts. It did not disappoint in the ma la dept.– slicked with a chili oil ratcheted up several notches from the stuff on the table and perfectly sequenced pops of numbing peppercorn.

    I can't think of a better bowl I've had from them.
  • Post #692 - November 13th, 2019, 1:02 pm
    Post #692 - November 13th, 2019, 1:02 pm Post #692 - November 13th, 2019, 1:02 pm
    I've been going in every 7-8 weeks this year when I am back in Chicago visiting my dad. The quality has been excellent, and whatever dip there was when the ownership originally changed (and there definitely was a slight one in quality as well as quantity) has been totally rectified.

    I'm a creature of habit, so I probably get spicy pork noodle 80% of the time and pancake 20% of the time. The occasional order of dumplings if I'm with somebody. Everything has been on point all year.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #693 - November 13th, 2019, 1:43 pm
    Post #693 - November 13th, 2019, 1:43 pm Post #693 - November 13th, 2019, 1:43 pm
    Went this past weekend

    Chicken fried noodle - as good as usual!

    Pork/ chive potstickers - inedible
    Thick, dry wrappers; Watery, flavorless filling
    These used to be my favorite in Chicago, quality continues to go down

    I asked about specials via phone, none available that day
  • Post #694 - November 15th, 2019, 9:31 pm
    Post #694 - November 15th, 2019, 9:31 pm Post #694 - November 15th, 2019, 9:31 pm
    Combination Fried Noodle hit the spot today. Gotta justify schlepping out here to see a client. :roll:
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #695 - November 19th, 2019, 10:01 am
    Post #695 - November 19th, 2019, 10:01 am Post #695 - November 19th, 2019, 10:01 am
    I rarely am able to get so far out into the burbs but I was in Hodgkins to do some work at the shooting range (Shoot Point Blank, great facility BTW). Finding myself within spitting distance of Westmont, I went for an early lunch at Katys. Now to provide some background: my family is Taiwanese and beef noodle soup is the national dish of Taiwan. I have had this dish in Beijing, Shanghai and Taiwan itself, as well as many home cooked versions made by mom. My expectations for beef noodles are very high and I was prepared to give Katy's a somewhat condescending review of "pretty good, for the midwest".

    Well I was totally wrong about that. Katy's beef noodle soup is not just good for the midwest - Katy's is the best I've had in my LIFE. Better than Taiwan or the mainland, even better than, dare I say it, mom's version (nobody tell her). Those springy hand made noodles soaking up spicy, garlicky broth with chili oil - just fantastic! The beef shank was very tender with no excess tendon or gristly bits, something I have not been able to replicate at home:
    Image
    Image

    The scallion pancake is also damn good. It reminds me more of a mainland pancake, a bit heavier and oilier than the Taiwan variants, but still very flaky and crisp.
    Image

    I got an order of spicy chicken chow mein to go as well. This is a very well done version of the standard. Not transcendent like the beef noodles, but a well excecuted stir fry with plenty of wok hei. It was a good trunk-top meal on a cold day.
    Image

    It goes without saying Katy's is an A+ joint. I just wish I lived closer.
  • Post #696 - November 19th, 2019, 11:46 am
    Post #696 - November 19th, 2019, 11:46 am Post #696 - November 19th, 2019, 11:46 am
    eating while walking wrote:
    Well I was totally wrong about that. Katy's beef noodle soup is not just good for the midwest - Katy's is the best I've had in my LIFE.


    YES! This is something I've been meaning to add to this thread for a while. Katy's gets a lot of love on LTH, but I've never seen their beef noodle soup (niu rou mian) brought up. The broth is rich and complex, and like you said the beef is perfect. Whenever I visit the parents in Westmont, my mom (also Taiwanese) always has an order for me to take back home. The fresh made noodles is one bowl's worth, but the soup portion is enough for two bowls (I typically just use dried noodles for the second meal but the soup is so good, it doesn't matter that much).

    Just reading through this thread, the quality level throughout the menu is obviously high, but hopefully this gets more people to try the beef noodle soup. Thanks for sharing.
  • Post #697 - November 19th, 2019, 1:23 pm
    Post #697 - November 19th, 2019, 1:23 pm Post #697 - November 19th, 2019, 1:23 pm
    Beef noodle or beef tendon noodle is my usual go to. So damn tasty!
  • Post #698 - November 20th, 2019, 9:53 am
    Post #698 - November 20th, 2019, 9:53 am Post #698 - November 20th, 2019, 9:53 am
    bg23 wrote:
    eating while walking wrote:
    Well I was totally wrong about that. Katy's beef noodle soup is not just good for the midwest - Katy's is the best I've had in my LIFE.


    YES! This is something I've been meaning to add to this thread for a while. Katy's gets a lot of love on LTH, but I've never seen their beef noodle soup (niu rou mian) brought up.


    I think it was brought up in the early mentions, 15 years ago, as the first reason to visit K’s. (See first post and links in this string.) Still the best. Happy to hear it’s going strong from someone with reason to know what’s what.

    I visited for the first time in a long while recently. Everything seemed to be good as always in the noodle department. I was disappointed that fish dumplings were 86’d and pork and napa dumplings weren’t up to par (both wrappers and filling) as suggested recently. Still quite good but not the best in Chicago (of course we now have some other terrific dumpling offerings in the city).

    Jeff
  • Post #699 - November 21st, 2019, 10:32 am
    Post #699 - November 21st, 2019, 10:32 am Post #699 - November 21st, 2019, 10:32 am
    JeffB wrote:Still quite good but not the best in Chicago (of course we now have some other terrific dumpling offerings in the city).
    Jeff

    I'm not up to date on the Chicago dumpling scene, would you mind listing a few good places to try? I miss getting a basket of steamed dumplings with hand made skins (and tasty fillings of possibly questionable provenance) from street vendors in China...
  • Post #700 - November 21st, 2019, 10:57 am
    Post #700 - November 21st, 2019, 10:57 am Post #700 - November 21st, 2019, 10:57 am
    eating while walking wrote:
    JeffB wrote:Still quite good but not the best in Chicago (of course we now have some other terrific dumpling offerings in the city).
    Jeff

    I'm not up to date on the Chicago dumpling scene, would you mind listing a few good places to try? I miss getting a basket of steamed dumplings with hand made skins (and tasty fillings of possibly questionable provenance) from street vendors in China...


    Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings has the best XLB in the city as far as I am aware.
    2002 S Wentworth Ave #103
    Chicago, IL 60616
    qxydumplings.com
  • Post #701 - November 27th, 2019, 7:16 pm
    Post #701 - November 27th, 2019, 7:16 pm Post #701 - November 27th, 2019, 7:16 pm
    We went to the Oak Park location on the rumor that things were better. They are. According to staff, the original owner is back in charge- homemade noodles and homemade dumplings are back! Overall, food was so much better than the last time we were there!
  • Post #702 - November 28th, 2019, 2:04 pm
    Post #702 - November 28th, 2019, 2:04 pm Post #702 - November 28th, 2019, 2:04 pm
    This would be amazing and something I'm legitimately thankful for
  • Post #703 - November 28th, 2019, 3:01 pm
    Post #703 - November 28th, 2019, 3:01 pm Post #703 - November 28th, 2019, 3:01 pm
    If true, it's a Thanksgiving miracle.
  • Post #704 - December 7th, 2019, 10:27 am
    Post #704 - December 7th, 2019, 10:27 am Post #704 - December 7th, 2019, 10:27 am
    Hoping for some clarification from one of you folks that may know. When Katy's in Oak Park first opened, its relationship to the Westmont location seemed pretty clear. Same food, same preparation, shared website. But since then there have been numerous changes (or rumors of changes) of ownership at the Oak Park location, and indeed, the quality or at least consistency of the food there began to fluctuate wildly. (Although I've had some hit or miss meals at the Westmont location as well; as I posted somewhere earlier, the last time I visited the Westmont location the dumplings, of all things, were totally off.) But even through a few changes of ownership or chefs or whatever happened, the Oak Park location remained associated with the Westmont location, at the very least though the website. Iirc, you could always click through from the Westmont site to the Oak Park site.

    What's confusing me is whether the Oak Park location has indeed been connected to the Westmont location by any more than name these past few years. If the "original" owner has indeed returned ... where has the original owner been all this time? Back at the Westmont location? Or is this the "original" owner from the first time the Oak Park outpost opened? If there have in fact been subsequent owners after the original owner, then where did they come from? Were they directly associated with the Westmont location and its owner? Or did they just coast on the Katy's name with no other direct connection?

    I was thinking of grabbing food from the OP location today, but the "fool me twice ... " side of my brain is giving me pause.
  • Post #705 - December 7th, 2019, 10:41 am
    Post #705 - December 7th, 2019, 10:41 am Post #705 - December 7th, 2019, 10:41 am
    Vitesse98 wrote:If the "original" owner has indeed returned ... where has the original owner been all this time? Back at the Westmont location? Or is this the "original" owner from the first time the Oak Park outpost opened?

    Mr Red Shirt?
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #706 - December 22nd, 2019, 6:57 pm
    Post #706 - December 22nd, 2019, 6:57 pm Post #706 - December 22nd, 2019, 6:57 pm
    Is it a Christmas miracle? Well, maybe not quite, but certainly a development that in my opinion provides a decent option for Xmas eve dinner if so inclined and a solid Chinese option in the OP area.
    Being an optimist and looking at some recent posts, I thought we would try some Chinese chow, and chow fun, before watching the Bears game—with nothing on the line, who cares. Well, Katy’s is back-maybe not as good as we remember, but definitely worth a try.

    Dumplings-not the frozen of the past. Thick and home made like wrappers.
    Noodle dishes—crispy chow fun with a tasty sauce. Not the brown sauce of the past, but some interesting spice.

    Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised and anxiously await either confirmation of my views or raining on my enthusiasm.

    Give it a try and report to the group.
  • Post #707 - December 23rd, 2019, 11:28 am
    Post #707 - December 23rd, 2019, 11:28 am Post #707 - December 23rd, 2019, 11:28 am
    Yes they do take outs
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #708 - December 26th, 2019, 5:06 pm
    Post #708 - December 26th, 2019, 5:06 pm Post #708 - December 26th, 2019, 5:06 pm
    I’m still not convinced to visit again.

    The Dumplings were always my main draw, Dan Dan Noodles next.

    I’m not convinced the original owners have returned (Mr Red Shirt) and have doubts about any connection between Oak Park and Westmont.

    My reluctance is more about the loss of a great restaurant and not doubting the potential of a new place. If out in Westmont my attention is more towards the recent...

    Yu's Mandarin Westmont
    665 Pasquinelli Dr, Westmont

    ... of the small chain that I enjoyed in Schaumburg.
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #709 - December 26th, 2019, 7:16 pm
    Post #709 - December 26th, 2019, 7:16 pm Post #709 - December 26th, 2019, 7:16 pm
    Based on the rumors of green shoots, I got takeout from Katy’s Oak Park for Beer Shop lunch today. I’ll say it was solid, much better than visits a year or more ago and worth a spot in the rotation.

    Stir fried noodles with dry chili had thick and slightly irregular noodles, probably not hand pulled but good texture and well cooked. The dish had a little chili bite and some wok hay. I’d say good, with only a little more wok hay keeping it from excellent. Pork and chive dumplings had thick northern-style skins and a filling that was actually better than the somewhat bland version I’ve had my last couple of trips to Westmont.

    I’m not calling a complete reform or saying Katy’s is an excellent Chinese restaurant but it now goes on the list of solid choices. I’m looking forward to trying the soups when winter returns.
  • Post #710 - December 27th, 2019, 7:51 am
    Post #710 - December 27th, 2019, 7:51 am Post #710 - December 27th, 2019, 7:51 am
    tazerowe wrote:I’m not calling a complete reform or saying Katy’s is an excellent Chinese restaurant but it now goes on the list of solid choices. I’m looking forward to trying the soups when winter returns.


    Very good assessment. We've done take-out twice in the past month with similar results. Much better than during the skid, and the folks in-store are super friendly and trying pretty hard. It is very solid and our guests, who weren't used to some of the selections, were very impressed with the dry chili chicken, and beef fried noodle. Green beans are much better than a year ago. Pot stickers of all stripes were well-received. I won't hesitate ordering from Katy's in the future.
  • Post #711 - January 6th, 2020, 10:26 am
    Post #711 - January 6th, 2020, 10:26 am Post #711 - January 6th, 2020, 10:26 am
    Further on Oak Park: there is now a banner hung on the sign advertising new management. Yesterday I had the pickled turnip and pork soup over at Beer Shop. This was really, really good, among the best versions of the dish I know. The broth is a little salt, given the pickles, with plenty of pork and silky bok choy. Thick, irregular noodles came in a separate container to keep them from going soggy. I pounded the whole quart container and instantly felt my head cold dissolving! I had noodle soup at Lao Peng You Saturday, and that was good, but this was much better. So glad to have this option back!
  • Post #712 - January 6th, 2020, 11:18 am
    Post #712 - January 6th, 2020, 11:18 am Post #712 - January 6th, 2020, 11:18 am
    We finally made our virgin trip out to Katy's Dumplings Westmont location over the weekend.

    The four of us had:

    Pork and Chive Dumplings
    Chengdu Dumplings from the special board
    Dan-Dan Noodles
    Mala Dry Pot (beef)
    Kung Bao Chicken

    The two absolute hits of the night were the Dan-Dan Noodles and the Mala Dry Pot.

    The noodles came within seconds of our order being placed which gave us some concern that it had been pre-made, but the noodles had that great texture you so seldom see, and the broth was great.

    The Mala Dry Pot was sort of inhaled by us, it was that good, although I have to say that it, along with the Kung Bao both suffered from a lack of meat which was is short supply. Next time we'll have to ask we can get "extra meat".

    In a close third were the Chengdu dumplings, which deserve a spot on the regular menu. Delicious and in a proper chili oil sauce. Third place since you can get great Chengdu dumplings all over the city that are equally good.

    The Kung Bao Chicken was ordered as a "more familiar" dish to balance things out, but turned out to be a fine rendition, but again lacking in the actual chicken. I'd recommend this without reservation to anyone who want's a combination of the new and familiar. Nice and spicy.

    The Pork and Chive dumplings didn't fare as well, they didn't have the same zing as everything else, and cooled very quickly so we were facing cold and rather bland dumplings. A trip through the chili sauce from the Chengdu dumplings helped, but they were still cold.

    All in all, a great trip, travel time was 26 minutes from Downtown (no traffic), but there are many many pretty much equally great places in Chinatown and elsewhere in the city that I'm not sure Katy's makes it onto our "regular" rotation but will certainly be our "when we're in the area" go to spot.
    Last edited by chicagojim on January 6th, 2020, 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #713 - January 6th, 2020, 1:34 pm
    Post #713 - January 6th, 2020, 1:34 pm Post #713 - January 6th, 2020, 1:34 pm
    tazerowe wrote:Further on Oak Park: there is now a banner hung on the sign advertising new management. Yesterday I had the pickled turnip and pork soup over at Beer Shop. This was really, really good, among the best versions of the dish I know. The broth is a little salt, given the pickles, with plenty of pork and silky bok choy. Thick, irregular noodles came in a separate container to keep them from going soggy. I pounded the whole quart container and instantly felt my head cold dissolving! I had noodle soup at Lao Peng You Saturday, and that was good, but this was much better. So glad to have this option back!


    Interesting. I was tweeting with Hungry Hound last week, who posted about OP Katy's. He said the people there told him it was the same ownership as Westmont. So maybe OP had different ownership for awhile and the Westmont people bought it back?

    And its still not clear if Westmont changed ownership during the remodel in '17 when there seemed to be staff turnover (Red Shirt & tall woman gone, shorter woman and chef stayed + new FOH)

    Regardless, glad that OP seems to be back in the rotation. Curious if its the same product as Westmont, though since I live out west, I probably won't make it past Midwest Road!
  • Post #714 - January 6th, 2020, 3:25 pm
    Post #714 - January 6th, 2020, 3:25 pm Post #714 - January 6th, 2020, 3:25 pm
    I can only be glad to hear that OP Katy's is improving. I wish they'd bring back some of the good stuff (dan dan, shredded pancake) they had when they first opened.
  • Post #715 - January 6th, 2020, 7:34 pm
    Post #715 - January 6th, 2020, 7:34 pm Post #715 - January 6th, 2020, 7:34 pm
    Complaining about Katy's OP is like complaining about Al's franchises. Stick w/the mothership and all's well.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #716 - January 6th, 2020, 7:46 pm
    Post #716 - January 6th, 2020, 7:46 pm Post #716 - January 6th, 2020, 7:46 pm
    ndgbucktown wrote:I can only be glad to hear that OP Katy's is improving. I wish they'd bring back some of the good stuff (dan dan, shredded pancake) they had when they first opened.


    OP Katy's has Dan Dan again, and a really eager-to-please new staff (and chili oil). The noodles in the aforementioned pickled turnip and pork soup are a return to homestyle, and the dumplings - pork and chive, and beef (perhaps with a bit of lamb), cilantro, and garlic - are Westmont-quality. It's been quite a ride but they're now back in my rotation. It was really as bad as reported in the intervening years.

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