Though it's been cautiously labeled a soft opening as changes and developments continue to roll out, the Philly outpost of NYC dim sum institution Nom Wah Tea Parlor has been serving up dim sum for close to a month now, between delivery and dine-in. Here's a roundup of news updates and the earliest online reviews and reactions for those too curious to wait for official reviews to begin rolling in.
The Progress-Toward-Booze News: Owner Wilson Tang shared some good news on the beverage front this weekend, posting to social media that the tea parlor's liquor license has been finalized:
Boom. Liquor license in Pennsylvania! Beer selection coming this weekend for Philly location while we work on other libations!— Nom Wah Tea Parlor (@NomWah) March 27, 2015
Reached for comment, Tang told us he was still taking this week to "figure it out" as far as those "other libations" go. "Maybe by next week," Tang suggested, so keep an eye out.
The "Could Eat This Thrice Daily" News: Nom Wah currently enjoys an overall 4-star rating on Yelp, with a number of glowing five-star reviews declaring various dishes to be the best versions in the city. Yelper S. P. declares he "could eat [the house pork bun] thrice daily no problem" and says the shrimp siu mai are the best he's tried in Philly or "maybe ever." Reviewer Matthew H. also awards five stars, naming the salt and pepper ribs as his favorite dish "by far."
The Overpriced Dim Sum That Tasted OK News: The ecstatic Yelp reviews are, of course, tempered by a sprinkling of one- and two-star reviews, with more than one disappointed reviewer suggesting that prices are too high for food that is just "okay." One such review came from Yelper Monnie B., who also "cannot get over that they didn't have a high chair or booster seat for my 16 months old son."
The "Maybe They're Still Working Out the Kinks" News: Yelper Victor C. was pretty much disappointed all-around, citing a long wait, cramped space, high prices, and dim sum dishes that arrived cold and ranged from "pretty standard" to "seriously lacking."
The Killer Wallpaper News: City Paper's Meal Ticket blog shared an early take on Nom Wah, deeming the food, prices, room, and tea selection "fantastic" at an early visit. And they even award "bonus points for the killer dumpling wallpaper in the bathrooms," which was further documented by CP critic Adam Erace on Instagram:
But have there been #bathroomselfies? Silly question.
The Meticulously Documented News: Photographer Ted Nghiem will not be outdone when it comes to early coverage of the new dim sum destination — check out his photo-intensive blog post ("Go? Yes. You must," he notes) and this slick Tastemade video summing up the Nom Wah experience.
The Dumpling Party News: Look, we can't promise a dumpling party between Nom Wah and fellow dim sum newbie Bing Bing will actually happen or if it will be a private affair if it does, but we're definitely sure we like the sound of it.
@NomWah yo! Hearing good things, hope you guys are doing well! Let's have a dumpling party soon....— Bing Bing Dim Sum (@bingbingdimsum) March 28, 2015
The Good Enough to Break the Diet News: Instagrammer @ben_mc_carthy broke his Whole 30 pledge (wherein participants aim to reshape their lives in 30 days by adhering to a whole-foods diet that cuts out certain foods entirely), and it doesn't sound like he's too terribly filled with regret. In the comments, he also declares Nom Wah superior to dumpling competitor Dim Sum Garden.
The Gluten-Free News: Elsewhere on Instagram, the intrepid @glutenfreephilly checks out Nom Wah's gluten-free selection. For a little more detail on what to order and what to avoid, check out this associated item on the GF Philly blog.