Every now and then there are restaurant locations that never seem to pan out. Right on Hillsborough Street and Oberlin Road, the corner location has gone through multiple incarnations as Darryl’s and Red, Hot and Blue. The latest venture on this challenging corner is the new Asian eatery, David’s Dumpling & Noodle Bar. Brought to you by the semi-retired David Mao, previously of the Duck and Dumpling, David’s Dumpling & Noodle Bar (DD&NB) does a great job of making upscale Chinese and Asian food affordable! David dabbles in a variety of cuisines here, but makes it accessible with the prices and way he cooks. And given its location on the edge of NC State’s campus, it makes a lot of sense to make great food available for those on a budget…
Inside DD&NB is an impressive space: high ceilings, brick walls, long u-shaped bar and hardwood floors. This place used to be a barbeque joint so it still has some of that feel. Artistic prints of David plying his dumpling making skills, are scattered throughout the interior. The first dining room is great for single diners and small parties. Grab a seat at the bar for small plates or pop in on one of the high-tops for a quick meal. Step into the second room for more formal dining and there’s even one other room which may be used for parties and (rumor has it) may become an Asian market. But it doesn’t matter where you eat because the food is just darn good!
Start off with a rice ale or glass of vino as you peruse the menu. It’s simple but gives you plenty of great options to either go tapas/small plates or do the full meal. DD&NB runs across the continent of Asia with a mix of Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai dishes. Some of favorite appetizers include the roti with Malaysian chicken curry with roti, salt-pepper wings and David’s half-fried dumplings. The curry with roti is a small meal in itself, you get a bowl of curry gravy along with two twisted, flaky pancakes! Dip this greasy little treat into the curry and your mouth will be thanking you for it. The dumplings are pretty traditional, pan-fried with some water to steam the tops, you’ll find a bundle of pork and scallions in each dumpling. And the wings are a plump quintet of well-spiced, fried chicken, yum! What’s amazing is that all of these appetizers are under $6, a wonderful bargain.
The mains at DD&NB are also reasonably priced with most in the $8 to $16 range but I enjoy that flexibility! Order a couple of extra dishes and eat family-style which is the way it should be with Asian food. The Singapore rice-stick noodles is a flavorful plate of lightly curried pasta stir fried with shrimp, a great taste combo. The filet chinois is also excellent, tender beef on a bed of succulent greens. And the braised beef with noodles is a traditional Chinese dish that’s perfect for cold weather slurping! For all the quick-stir dishes (moo-shoo, kung-pao, cashew) you can order it up with your choice of protein: chicken, pork, beef or shrimp. And there’s a good selection of tofu and veggie-based dishes for the non-meat eaters! And for dessert? Well, I rarely ever make it to dessert at Chinese restaurants but DD&NB has a flan, poached pear with ginger ice cream and flourless chocolate cake all under $4…
I’ve only eaten at DD&NB five or six times so I need a bit more time to explore the menu but everything I’ve tried has been quite good. Service has also been better than average so for the prices you pay, you’ve got yourself a winner. Not everyone has been as impressed as I am but you really have to consider the price range. Sit at the bar for a quick late night bite or hang out in the dining room with a dinner party, the space works well in so many ways! And there’s a good chance that you may even meet owner as he wanders around the dining room greeting diners. Just check the prints on the wall if you want to know what he looks like, bon appetit!
1900 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607