Desert Companion

Anomymous: KJ Dim Sum

anomymous: we come, we eat, we dish

The Rio is a funny place for us to eat. It’s got off-Strip accessibility, but lacks the culinary flash of its neighbor, the Palms. Rio’s most famous dining asset is the massive buffet, but near that mega-trough resides its tasty new secret weapon.

If KJ Dim Sum & Seafood sounds familiar, perhaps you’ve noshed at its sister restaurant, KJ Kitchen, one of our best Chinese eateries on Spring Mountain Road. The original doesn’t do dim sum, but the new joint — an airy, open, red space with an undulating white ceiling — does it well enough to challenge Ping Pang Pong at the Gold Coast next door for Vegas dim sum supremacy. Even the service, typically terse at any dim sum cafeteria, is relatively friendly, though it seems difficult to hunt down some vegetables among the more than 50 different plates of dumplings, noodles and other slightly greasy goodies. Who do I gotta bribe to get some ong choy around here?

The standard steam table offerings are stellar: tender, juicy shrimp har gow, fluffy char siu bao rolls, deep fried balls of shrimp forcemeat, and the luscious rice-and-meat packets wrapped in lotus leaves known as lo mai gai. Broad, pillowy rice noodles filled with soft, rich beef, cheung fan, was one bite that that had me going back for more. The size and speed of the whole operation is pretty impressive; remember, this space used to be nightclub with bowling lanes.

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Dinner might be better than lunch. Chinese seafood delicacies such as abalone and geoduck clam are available, but you can also order lobster or sweet crab and pick its method of preparation, like curry-braised or ginger-scallion wok’d or garlic black-beaned. Simple pleasures are hard for me avoid, so the fu kien seafood fried rice, full of shrimp and scallops, is impossible to resist. Also, how can you  say no to lobster egg rolls?

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