Northern China Eatery had its 15 minutes of fame last year after a quick visit by Bourdain where proclaimed they had some of the best Xiao Long Bao his lips had ever savored, so I had to check it out for myself…only problem was it near impossible to find. It’s address is 5141 Buford highway but there are no signs or address on the building. After driving around for a while, we discovered it was in the bottom of an Italian eye glasses shop around the side; it looks like you’re going down an alley and then there it is on the right!
Don’t let the appearance drive you away however, as they have a host of traditional dishes and the soup dumplings are solid! The soup dumplings (pork) were luscious and the dough was perfectly thin; order at least two for 4 people.
The menu is a little intimidating, but they do have some nice photos of all the dishes at the window and on a separate picture menu. Next up were some tasty pork and scallion dumplings that were a little greasy but still did the trick.
They also had a really fatty pork belly dish with glass noodles and potatoes in an earthy brown sauce that while tasty was a complete gut bomb; I would skip this if you’re concerned about your health.
Our other favorite dish was the spicy lamb skewers that were well seasoned albeit a bit gamey, but none were left at the end of the meal.
The last of the “hits” was their version of dan dan noodles with the sauce on the side; something I haven’t seen presented in this way before. The noodles were silk and perfect and the sauce was a little spicy with a large amount of crushed peanut, so beware.
Unfortunately there were two “misses” that I would care not to ever see cross my plate again; the first of which was titled “Northern Style Homemade”, which was whole fish with tofu, garlic and egg in a thick brown sauce. The fish snarl at you with their sharp teeth and foreshadowed the intense fishiness that was to come; I tried to cover it up with the sauce and garlic, but it was just a no bueno for me.
Last up was a hot pot with cabbage, tofu and pork that lacked much flavor and was just kind of limp.
Despite these last two items, the overall experience was pretty good and I would come back. If you’re looking for some authentic chow and quality soup dumplings you should give Northern China Eatey a shot.