The goods: Surfside foodie favorite Chow Down Grill opened a South Beach outpost this summer, bringing late-night dumplings and noodles to a new crowd.
Ambience: Housed in a former Laundromat, the new location is nearly quadruple the size of the original, with a separate cocktail lounge and bar. The cavernous, dimly lit dining room is done in minimalist foliage murals and live plants, with cozy booths and wooden picnic tables flanked by rustic benches.
The grub: Executive chef Josh Marcus (BLT Steak, China Grill) focuses on ingredient-driven Asian cuisine in a small-plate format with mix-and-match proteins and sauces. Be sure to ask about the seasonal nightly specials. Prices are neighborhood friendly: starters average $6, salads and noodles $10-$13 and mains $16.
Dumplings, including beef and porcini and basil chicken, are made in-house, as are steamed buns stuffed with duck and a six-pack of sauces on each table. New menu items include oyster spring rolls, pork ribs and barbecued brisket with a side of spicy cauliflower. Noodles include udon soup with homemade dashi broth and wide chow fun noodles tossed with maitake mushrooms. Thai donuts with chocolate, vanilla and orange dipping sauces and a daily bread pudding are among the desserts.
Verdict: A late-night dim sum hall with an ambitious menu of dumplings, fried morsels and noodle dishes.