3 stars for dim sum & Chinese at Sunny Isles' Chef Philip Ho
Elaborate banquets with a kaleidoscope of dishes that land on the table like autumn leaves are a hallmark of Chinese dining. And just as in China, the year-old Sunny Isles Beach charmer Chef Philip Ho offers a vast feast. The enormous menu focuses on both Hong Kong- and Cantonese-style dishes. The cooking here is clean, precise and authentic. Nearly every dish from a simple eggplant Aberdeen style to silken wonton in a clear broth is subtle and well-balanced.
But it is the rolling carts of dim sum that entice me most. Sweet, young, pony-tailed waitresses wheel the carts through the aisles, lifting stainless steel trays to reveal steaming hot buns and dumplings usually three or four to a plate. Language can be a barrier, but pointing and nodding work fine.
Ambience: With seating for up to 300, the clean, bright space is divided into smaller dining rooms with wooden screens. Chairs are covered in a rainbow of shiny satin, and the walls are a peaceful shade of sage green.
- Simple beef and broccoli that pops off the plate with vibrant emerald colors contrasting the shimmery glazed beef lozenges
- Crunchy, golden chicken feet
- Cold jellyfish
- Stir-fries with hand-pulled noodles as thin as vermicelli and perfectly sliced mushrooms
- Sweet and sour pork
- Moo shoo chicken
- Hand-rolled dumplings that are among the best I have had in Miami
- A sumptuous ball of chive and shrimp enveloped in a wrapper as thin as paper and fine as porcelain
- Shu mai with finely ground pork and extra crunch from water chestnuts and tiny diced mushrooms
- Gently steamed green tea duck dumplings served with a slightly citrusy soy sauce — a fantastic explosion of flavor
- A "crepe" - jiggly steamed rice dough wrapped around lightly seasoned, perky pink shrimp and bathed in a simple soy-based sauce
- Incredibly delicious pork dumplings that are fat as baseballs
- Perfectly chewy sesame balls
- Buttery, almost French pastry-like custard tart
- Lovely braised snow pea tips
- Crunchy spears of young bok choy in a clear garlic sauce with enough bite to hold its own