Words By Jose Lopez-Sanchez, Photos By Brandon Weight
My BYT colleagues spoke quite highly of Tiger Fork when it first opened in the spring, and if there’s something I’ve learned in my years reading/writing for this site, it’s to trust the team’s food recommendations. I’m happy to report that Tiger Fork’s dim sum brunch also lives up to the hype as an enjoyable, slightly modern American twist on a classic Chinese experience.
Not really knowing where to start, we asked the server to make a selection for us as to variety and volume of food. She recommended three to four dishes per person, which in hindsight might have been excessive – the portions are pretty generous, and the food is filling. Assuming you aren’t famished, I would suggest picking three items per person in your party, and adding on as necessary.
As a starter, we had the creamed tofu – a slightly confusing name to Western audiences, as each piece of tofu was deep fried and resembled a light, airy, unsweetened churro. It was the perfect vessel for all the umami goodness and omega-3 fats of the accompanying smoked trout roe and scallion oil dipping sauce; creamy, but not overly so.
The house-made congee was warm, perfectly flavored, and incredibly comforting. With a soft-boiled spiced egg and delicate drizzles of chili oil adding subtle notes, the braised shiitake mushrooms gave the dish some nice contrapuntal texture and earthiness. Each spoonful stuck to your ribs in the best way possible – a bowl of this could bring someone back to life from even the most lethal hangover. Pair this with the Chinese Bacon – slices of slow cooked, fatty duck, infused with Chinese five-spice and anise, with a side of pickled radish – and you’ve got all you will need in terms of nourishment for an entire day. If you’re feeling extra extra, order the broccolini: cooked to perfection with just the right amount of give, and smothered in their house-made oyster sauce, my mouth is watering thinking about it.
Unfortunately, a couple of things fell flat: the Jah Leung used the same tofu as before, only now it was wrapped in rice paper – a relatively bland pairing that was only rescued by dunking each portion in the puddle of sweet chili soy, peanuts, and Happy Lady Spice it sat in. Maybe they should consider drizzling some of that sauce over it. The Har Gow was also fine; passable shrimp and chili soy steamed dumplings that I wouldn’t turn away, but don’t know if I’d order again. That being said, these were the only two missteps out of a selection of eight, and neither dish was offensive or wrong – simply unremarkable.
Most people who come to Tiger Fork will talk about the Happy Toast. And fairly so. It’s a dish that is gimmicky enough to make it imminently Instagrammable, and delicious enough that you’ll enjoy eating it. Two slices of Hong Kong style French toast (with a smiley face cut into it) are smothered in butter, condensed milk, and burnt coconut cream. Although everything on the menu is meant to be shared, this is certainly one you’ll want to split with a friend – it’s a rich, decadent dessert, that feels dense even though it’s not overly sweet. The coconut cream gives it a nice toasted feel and cuts across the stickiness of it all.
All in all, Tiger Fork does a pretty solid job with their dim sum brunch, meeting our expectations (and filling our stomachs) for a reasonable price. If you’re tired of having eggs and waffles for brunch and want to try something different, adventurous, and delicious, give it a try.