Shu Mai from Family Garden (636 Metropolitan Avenue, 718-387-1936)
Indeed, if you decide to wait for your food to get prepped rather than ordering delivery, you will see that Family Garden lives up to its eponymous rep — there is a regular clientele that the woman behind the counter remembers by name. We eavesdropped a bit more (of course we’re creepy like that), and learned that she doesn’t just match names to faces — she will pick up on regs from their voices, and perhaps their phone numbers, when they call in their orders. In a city where anonymity prevails, this kind of friendly familiarity — however fleeting — outright charms.
Anyway, noticing many types of advertised dumplings the second time around — veg and pork dumplings, both of which come steamed or pan-fried; cheese-filled fried wontons; meat wontons, which come boiled, fried, or pan-fied; shumai; and “dim sum” — we picked the $4.50 shumai.
An open-faced, eggy, yellow noodle shell swaddles a garlic- and scallion-accented pork filling, which tastes slightly of shrimp. The porcine puffs are quite pleasant, though some portions of the exterior felt a little toothsome.