Day of the Week: Saturday, 2/2
Total Bill: $110.95 (before tip)
Breakdown: 3 appetizers, 11 dim sum, 2 sushi rolls, 1 pork fried rice
Pros: Extensive dim sum menu, plus a lot of other options.
Cons: None (maybe too much selection, so you don’t know what to get first!).
Verdict: With the largest dim sum selection in Tampa, we’ll be back.
Hubby has been on a dim sum kick lately. He’s missing Chinatown Brasserie (which is too bad because it’s now closed!). Tampa doesn’t have anything quite that awesome but TC Choy’s looked promising. I had been there once before about 10 years ago. I was tutoring a woman in one of my classes; as payment, she took me to TC Choy’s and introduced me to sushi. I must say, I remember the inside being much different (and a little nicer). Maybe it was new then? Anyway, we went Saturday night with two friends, B & C, to check it out.
We arrived about 7:15 and started at the bar for a drink before getting our table. I had the lychee martini ($9), which was excellent. C had a Florida Golden margarita, or something like that (it had OJ in it), that was also really good, and I don’t even like margaritas. It’s not on their website but it’s on the cocktail menu at the restaurant. B was drinking a saketini ($9) that I thought was way too sweet (I wouldn’t have put Chambord in that particular drink).
We made reservations but didn’t need them. We got a spacious table (meant for five or six people), which was good because we ordered so much food. In addition to what was on our check, our friends ordered more. (Two of the dim sum on our check, above, were actually theirs. They ordered at least two other dim sum, plus C had a hot & sour soup, a veggie fried rice, and some veggie spring rolls.)
I can’t remember details of what came out when (dim sum was flying at us left and right!), nor the details of every single thing we ordered, but let me tell you about the highs and lows.
Hubby ordered the volcano roll ($13.99) and I ordered the love roll (tuna with spicy seaweed salad, $7.99). He thought the volcano roll was fishy but I think there was something wrong with his taster. I loved it. My love roll was good but seaweed salad actually is kind of fishy and I didn’t care for the combo. I wouldn’t get it again.
The appetizers we got were the chicken satay ($11.95, came with at least four skewers), crab rangoon ($7.95), and crispy pork wonton ($4.95). The satay was delicious. Perfectly cooked and accompanied by a tasty sauce. We also really loved the crab rangoon (another tasty sauce). I thought the crispy pork wonton didn’t have enough filling, so I’d skip that next time. It was just all wonton.
All the dim sum we got were $3.99 for an order of three or four. My favorite dim sum was the steamed BBQ pork buns. They’re so doughy and sweet and delicious. These buns are also about double the size of other buns I’ve had, so I think they’re a good deal. The siu mai and fried garlic shrimp roll were my other favorites. I was surprised by how much I liked the garlic shrimp roll, given that I’m not a big garlic eater. But this garlic wasn’t overpowering. I didn’t care for the fried tofu skin shrimp roll. The Shang Hai pork and ginger dumplings were good but the flavor of pork and ginger is very strong in them. I preferred the other dim sum because I thought the flavors were more delicate.
Our friends ordered the chicken sticky rice in lotus leaf dim sum. I would not recommend that. Lotus leaf is pretty tough and stringy, like a tougher version of grape leaf, and the rice inside was pretty flavorless. This is probably one of those things that, if you didn’t grow up eating it, it’s hard to acquire a taste for it.
The pork fried rice ($12.95) was fantastic, and a large enough portion for two people to comfortably share. I would definitely get that again.
Unfortunately, they were out of the baked egg custard dumplings, which I was so looking forward to for dessert. I hope we get to try those next time. I think I’d like to try the lotus paste sesame seed balls and crispy taro turnovers next time, too. Don’t they sound so exotic?
Our server (Kary?) was a really nice girl. Two older women who seemed to run the place (maybe owners?) also looked after us, making sure our water glasses stayed full, etc. One of them also made our drinks and I think she did a really good job.
We’ll definitely go back to TC Choy’s to satisfy our dim sum cravings. There are other places in town that have dim sum but I don’t think any of them can match the breadth of selection of TC Choy’s.