|XLB in late January 2017; still a paper sign on the door|
Chef/owner Jasper Chen opened XLB in mid-January, focusing on the traditional dishes and dumplings he grew up eating. The menu has about a dozen items, ranging from xiao long bao (soup dumplings with broth inside) to beef ho fun.
I met a friend for lunch. A line had already formed before the place opened at 11 AM. Luckily, we were able to order a few dishes and nab a seat. In the back, a group of workers assemble each bao. A couple others are in charge of the other hot dishes (i.e. beef ho fun, green beans, etc.).
Eight signature xiao long bao ($10) come in a steamer basket, with lukewarm broth in each. A one-bite dumpling that you can place on a spoon and put some sauce on top before eating.
|Sauce that pairs with the xiao long bao|
An order of three Pork and Cabbage Baozi ($9) was next. These are more your standard pork bun size (maybe a couple bites). A decent amount of pork in there, but only some cabbage.
Each of the bao dishes come with a side of what appears to be a black bean sauce.
My favorite was the Hoisin Duck Baozi ($8), filled with lots of shredded duck and a lovely complementing hoisin sauce. Just two buns here, so my friend and I each got one. I'd get this one again in a heartbeat.
Finally, we tackled the Beef Ho Fun ($10), a side bowl of wide noodles, tender beef, and onions. I thought it was a small portion for the price, but still delicious.
They do have sriracha, but it's probably not gonna be on your table; it's tucked away under the spare utensils near the cashier. Yes, they have forks available if you're unable to use their chopsticks.
Despite having a full house (and more people waiting behind us for a table), we got all our food over a span of about 15 minutes. Overall, XLB had some good food, yet nothing necessarily blew me away. Some of the prices seemed like it was pushing it, and I do wonder what the lines and popularity will be like in a few months. Still, I'd encourage people to try this place out. 7/10