Friday, April 18, 2008

Blue Kio V. Po's Dumpling Bar (or, Asian not Wasian)

Within the past two weeks I've frequented two different Asian restaurants down on 39th Street: Blue Koi and Po's Dumpling Bar. It cracks me up that they're so close to each other and yet so ridicuously different. Lemme tell you a little about it.

Blue Koi
We went here last week, partially because Chinese sounded good and partially because I liked the sound of the name. We walked in to a decor that couldn't decide if it was hipster or Asian and were horrified to see that all the staff were white.

The menu was pretty good from the vegetarian standpoint, but they don't let you split dumpling orders! That pissed me off because I didn't want 8 damn dumplings and my boyfriend isn't vegetarian so we weren't planning on sharing. BUT, their food was good. We had dumplings, home made noodles and fried tofu with awesome sauce. The awesome sauce wasn't as impressive as we'd hoped, but apparently Matt and I just like spice too much, as our visit to Po's Dumpling Bar possibly confirmed.

Score (1 is worst, 5 is best)
Ambiance: 1
Service: 3
Cost: 2
Taste: 3
TOTAL SCORE: 9 (out of a possible 20)

Po's Dumpling Bar
My boyfriend wanted to go to Pangea, but once we got there I didn't see a damn thing I wanted, so we left and went to Po's Dumpling Bar instead. The restaurant is beautifully laid out (it reminded me a little of Sung Son) and it's quite possible that we were served by one of the owners, who we were happy to see was Asian (Cantonese, we later found).

The menu at Po's was more veggie friendly than a lot of Midwest restaurants. The prices were so low that we ordered several dishes thinking they'd be small like at Blue Koi, but we were so wrong. I had veggie tofu soup, sesame balls (which ended up being a bad idea since they're sweet and I don't like the Asian version of sweets), and some emperor dumplings, veggie of course. Matt had the pork emperor dumplings and some chicken curry noodle dish. Not only were the dumplings 2-3 times larger than any other dumpling I've ever had, but all of the other dishes were enormous as well. We could have easily split nothing more than a $10 dinner and have walked away content. It was fabulously impressive.

Once again, the dishes were less spicy than we expected, but our server explained (after we asked for chili sauce to add to our dipping sauce) that their cuisine is Cantonese which is less spicy than the central China cuisine. And while I'm talking about our server again, I just have to say that he is the best server I've had in forever. He was just sweet, adorable and completely eager for us to have an amazing meal, which we totally did.

Score (1 is worst, 5 is best)
Ambiance: 4
Service: 5
Cost: 5
Taste: 3 (had to score it down for the sesame balls, even though it's my fault I ordered them)
TOTAL SCORE: 17 (out of a possible 20)

So by my random scale of deliciousness, Po's Dumpling Bar wins by a landslide. But SRSLY I'm salivating now just thinking about their delicious dumplings. I may have formed a new addiction.

Related posts:
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Restaurant Review: Cancun Fiesta Fresh
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The DLC said...

I haven't been to Po's yet but am a huge dumpling fan. If you haven't been, check out Bo Lings dim sum on Sundays (11-2 I think). More dumplings than you can shake a stick at. Not necessarily veggie friendly though :<

May said...

I've been meaning to check out their dim sum. Thanks for the recommendation, it makes me feel more sure that I'll like it, especially if it's dumplings galore. ^__^

And, if you like dumplings, you really really do have to try Po's. They are just the most delicious things in dumpling land.

Elizabeth Anne said...

Ah, I have not yet been to Po's. (I've looked and liked what I have seen). As I am always one for the underdog, I love me some Blue Koi. Spiked Bubble Tea: enough said. Maybe it was the luck of the day, but last time I was there, I saw the hottest Asian guy working...ever. I'm not sure where the owners are from, though. I love to watch the chefs cook; you can do this if you sit at the counter. Again, the staff I've seen cooking was diverse. Have you tried Lu Lu's? It is a wee bit "hipster" - even if you don't like that sort of vibe, it is still a great spot. I just love how Kansas City has so many Asian places that are so different. That is great and beautiful point, May! 39th Street rocks, in general.

Flora Chang said...

The owners of both restaurants are from Taiwan. I am from Taiwan myself and I love Po's pot stickers (The Emperor's Dumpling). They are the way pot stickers are supposed to be... and so so delicious too! Their noodles are handmade; very chewy and fresh. The owner of Po's told me that his family used to have a business in Taiwan selling handmade noodles and dumplings skins... no wonder. His wife learned all the cooking from his father. They are not fancy dishes, but they remind me of the food you can eat in any Chinese family.

Flora Chang said...

Oh I forgot to mention, May, if you like dim sum, try to check out "Pine and Bamboo Garden" on Shawnee Mission parkway. Their dim sum (same time during the weekend) are really good too plus it's easier to park.

The DLC said...

awesome! someone suggested pine & bamboo garden on my blog a while back but I spaced on it. Glad to know the dim sum is good.

Unknown said...

Hello May! my name is James and on behalf of Po from Po's Dumpling bar we would like to link your review of our restaurant to our website. We are pleased to hear that you hold us and what we do in such high Regards. Please let us know if this is agreeable to you. Next time you come in ask for Po and we will fix you up something special! Thanks so much!


May said...

James, I would be honored to have this post linked from your site. Your restaurant rocks!

Valerie Atwood said...

Po's is great! Best Asian, I have found!

Buy Cialis said...

This is really truth sometimes I can see different Asian restaurant in my way at home ad that's interesting because all of then offer different food, that's perfect!!

David said...

I like both restaurants, but for different reasons. I don't think you gave Blue Koi a fair shake though. I wouldn't describe it as hipster, because it looked like that when grunge would have been more in style. The atmosphere is determined by the local artist they are displaying at the time. Which to me is a huge plus about the restaurant.

You missed out if you didn't try the awesome sauce. It alone is worth the trip. Almost everything on the menu has a tofu option for Vegetarians. I also think Blue Koi has slightly better bubble tea.

Po's has slightly better dumplings, but overall I like Blue Koi slightly more. Definitely closer than your report card would represent.