Get your chopsticks out, Jax, because Silver Star Chinese Restaurant on Blanding Boulevard may be one of the best Chinese restaurants around. Hear me out — yeah, I know, you’ve heard it before. I’m not saying they do everything right; who does? But they’ve got some tricks up their sleeves you’re going to want to taste.
First, they do Dim Sum. Already a win, as few spots in town (read: two) do so. Silver Star has a decent selection; each tray ($4.25) includes three or four pieces per order, so you can afford to be adventurous.
Better yet, they have something that, as far as I’m aware, none of the other spots have: Soup Dumplings. These delicious morsels (you get four) aren’t easy to make and aren’t common outside of authentic spots.
Why are they so special? They start off looking like regular Dim Sum, but be careful as you scoop them up — there’s soup inside. I know it sounds crazy, but along with the pork filling, there’s a savory broth. Caution: Don’t just pop the whole thing in your mouth — it’s hella hot. You’re going to want to scoop it up with your spoon, and nibble on an edge as you drink the soup. Then, once it’s cooled down a little, feel free to go to (China)town. If you need a refresher on the finer points of the best way to eat it, your server will be happy to instruct you. An order of soup dumplings comes with a strong aged black vinegar which adds another level of flavor — though I don’t think it needs it.
We also ordered a wide selection that comes out when ready (no cart). Of the watercress, mushroom shu mai, steamed barbecue pork buns and shrimp dumplings, our favorite was by far the pork buns. Feel free to dip any of these in the vinegar and see how the taste changes.
While Silver Star’s soup dumplings would be enough to make me come back again and again, there’s more. They have a really respectable regular menu, too. You can get decent sesame chicken and chow fun at lots of spots, but Silver Star has Egg Foo Young. Oh, Egg Foo Young, how I’ve missed you! This omelet-type dish is tucked under a blanket of sauce.
Right now you’re thinking, “Heck, I can make an omelet at home.” Well, no, you can’t, not like this. One very important factor: The sauce. This stuff is ridiculously addicting — if you have to ask for extra on the side, blame me. I don’t mind. It’s a rich, thick brown sauce and all efforts to figure out what makes it so good have been unsuccessful.
Egg Foo Young is definitely one of those dishes that’s more American Chinese than something you’d find on the streets of Beijing, but I tend not to argue with delicious. I prefer the vegetable version, but you can order it with shrimp, pork or chicken — whatever you fancy.
The staff at Silver Star are ultra-kind. Queenie, who helps manage the place, will walk you through any questions you may have about the menu. She’ll seat you and, if you give her a heads up that you’re there for Dim Sum, you’ll get a sheet detailing the dim sum selection. There aren’t a lot of options in NEFla for Chinese food and this place has been around since 1978, according to their Facebook page. So if you crave Chinese, definitely check it out.