Despite the blistering chill and icy sidewalks last Saturday night, Dale Talde’s eponymous Park Slope corner bistro proved it still brings the heat: The bar was two deep with patrons committed to a two-hour wait for shared plates of crispy pretzel dumplings and Korean fried chicken. Its Erie Street sibling restaurant, Talde Jersey City (8 Erie Street, Jersey City; 201-630-0077), won’t be taking reservations, either, but it is accommodating date-night couples with a bar three times larger than the Brooklyn original, as well as a core communal table just for two-tops, lit by a stretch of low-hanging Edison bulbs running the length of a glass-walled dining room occupying a former police headquarters.
Once diners are seated, they’ll encounter a more comprehensive dinner menu featuring more than 30 sharing plates. “The main difference is more,” partner David Massoni told us opening night. “We have a robata grill now, and those offerings will probably grow. Dim sum now is, as opposed to three things, eleven.”
New dim sum offerings include $13 edamame dumplings and a $15 tuna tartare spring roll. Not only are the dishes new to Jersey City, so are the prices. Two small grilled lobster claws slick with brown butter run $16. Four hot-and-sour soup dumplings will cost you $13. While Massoni assures all the new menu items were tested in Brooklyn, only staple items from the Park Slope menu are on the low end of the price spectrum.
If your goal’s to be an early adapter to Talde 2.0, stick to the chef’s spicy classic small plates, like pretzel pork dumplings paired with harissa mustard and yuzu guacamole smeared on fried sushi rice, which taste reborn, fresher, more complex, and ready to go from day one. That’s no knock on the expanded menu, which delivers with a parade of steamer baskets loaded with spicy chicken and hunkering rib bao, but until the kitchen finds a way to keep the high-priced, high-temperature buns and skins of soup dumplings from being torn asunder in their wicker confines, it’s best for now to stick with the dishes where the kitchen’s most experienced.
Another carryover: Dessert at Talde Jersey City is still an afterthought. If you waited a few pitchers at the bar to get this far, pay it forward by passing on the fried fruit pie and letting your server turn the table. You only need look next door to Carrino Provisions for some peanut butter tiramisu, or to 9 Bar Cafe’s chocolate-lined Sicilian cannoli, or Torico’s triple-scoop banana split.
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Follow Adam Robb on Twitter, @lifevicarious.