Despite the semi-dilapidated exterior, a step inside Dim Sum will make you feel much more than a hop away from Airline Highway.
The yellow, windowless building on Delcourt Avenue might feel like it's telling passers-by that it had closed in the ’90s, but don't judge this book by its cover. One step inside this Chinese restaurant and you'll find a lavishly decorated place with gold trim, Asian influence and delicious options.
First, some background: Dim sum is a Chinese cuisine style where food is served primarily in small portions, steamed baskets or tin containers, on wheeled carts so customers can stay put and have a little bit of everything. The Baton Rouge restaurant isn't quite as authentic, but it's the closest version here that you can visit.
If you're down to share some adventurous plates, Dim Sum is perfect for lunch, dinner or even Sunday brunch.
During a recent visit, we chose a large swath of small and entree dishes. The menu has nearly 75 items, and it's easy to get carried away here. We picked more than a dozen items for four of us. We had some safe choices (bok choy, Singapore-style vermicelli) and a few Andrew Zimmern-like dishes (we're not sure why we ordered beef tripe; don't order beef tripe). But we enjoyed most of what we chose.
Of the smaller plates, our favorite was the stuffed sweet rice. This comes with chicken, pork, shrimp and sausage in rice in a steamed lotus leaf. We all fought over the final bites of this. Other small-plate highlights include siu mai (diced pork, shrimp and mushroom dumplings) and ha gow (marinated shrimp dumplings).
The larger plate of Singapore-style vermicelli impressed with its combination of a not-too-spicy sauce, shrimp, strips of bell pepper and chopped onions. We cleaned this one quickly. The bok choy, a serving big enough for five or six people, had juicy mushrooms and a garlicky sauce. The dish was served piping hot. We also had no trouble finishing this one.
Our group was divided on the pecan shrimp, a platter of fried shrimp glazed with a creamy, sweet and salty sauce and topped with roasted pecans. Overall, it's a heavier, overwhelmingly flavored dish. It's similar to what you might order at a takeout restaurant, but with just enough of a twist to warrant a few more bites.
Desserts are tucked into the binder of a menu. If you're up for something beyond chocolate and vanilla, you'll find some surprising sweets at Dim Sum, too.
We all agreed that we should have ordered more of the fried sesame balls (two per order), which has a sweet red bean paste inside that isn't overly sweet or salty. The coconut snowballs were fun, different and also quite tasty, with a spoonful of crushed nuts inside this gelatinous disc and coated in coconut flakes.
By the time we had finished trying a little bit of everything, we needed to-go boxes. We did get carried away, and not every plate was great. But for a while, we felt like we weren't on Airline Highway. We were on a little trip, trying something new. It was a trip worth taking.
WHERE: 9431 Delcourt Ave., Baton Rouge
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
INFO: (225) 924-3550 or dimsumrocks.com
PROS: An authentic Dim Sum restaurant in Baton Rouge, and it's pretty good; dishes like stuffed sweet rice, fried sesame balls and bok choy.
CONS: Not an inviting-looking building; don't order tripe, just don't.