Your First Look at the Food From ROC Star Dumpling
Apparently the grand opening of ROC Star Dumpling happened over the weekend on Sawtelle, but they’ve actually been open and serving food for well over a week. Last Monday they “soft opened” for lunch with a fairly decent sized menu of dumplings, appetizers, entrees, a rice dish, a noodle dish, and a bunch of vegetable dishes all priced from $7 to $16. Apparently the chef used to work at The Slanted Door, and words like “elevated” “local” “sustainable” and “fresh” have been thrown around. But most of us have just one question… When the soup dumpling craving hits, is this place going to save west-siders a trip to Din Tai Fung?
The soup dumplings (aka xiao long bao) are a surprisingly fair priced 8 for $7 (at DTF, they’re 10 for $9+), and are available with pork, crab and pork, chicken or black cod.
Tough to judge on opening week, but they’re definitely solid. Good wrapper, fairly tasty filling, although the soup part is a tad underwhelming. Not the best ever, but certainly not terrible.
There’s also shrimp and pork shu mai, and spicy Szechuan wontons with pork & shrimp, but the entire dumpling menu is totally upstaged by the “crispy dumplings”.
Available stuffed with pork or chicken the crispy dumplings are essentially just gyoza (8 of them) held together by a crispy shell. Delicious. Not sure how they compare to the UFO dumplings at Jidaiya, or other well known versions of this dish, but if you find yourself at ROC Star you’re not going to want to miss out on these.
There’s also a perfectly fine scallion pancake ($4), that you can see them rolling out fresh behind the counter.
And Szechuan cucumbers that will likely disappoint anybody looking for the thick cut tower of power you get at DTF.
For main dishes I’m guessing ROC Star will serve a lot of their sauteed rice cakes ($10).
And their fried rice w/ dungeness crab, egg, green onions and vegetables ($12).
And their string beans w/ garlic. ($7) Although as it stands now I’m guessing SGV fans will find both a bit too clean.
And everybody liked the three cup chicken, but at $14 it’s not exactly a home run.
Just like its neighbors Tsujita and NongLA, Roc Star is already packed at lunchtime, and the food is definitely decent enough to keep it that way. But while Tsujita leaves west-siders feeling like they don’t ever need to take a drive to Gardena or San Gabriel for ramen again, ROC Star is more like NongLA. Perfect for a weekday lunch, but with enough west-side influence to assure that Golden Deli doesn’t get taken out of the rotation.
The + (What somebody who doesn’t like this place will say)
- Decent soup dumplings on the westside!? Finally my prayers have been answered.
- Dumpling and appetizers are priced fairly close to DTF
- UFO dumplings FTW!!!
- Dumpling places don’t have to be dirty to be good.
- Shut up about Din Tai Fung already… this place just opened and is only going to get better.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place will say)
- Shouldn’t the soup be the star in soup dumplings?
- The dumplings and apps might be fairly priced but everything else is super expensive for the portions.
- There’s just something a bit too clean and “fresh” about this place…
- Everything was fine… but nothing was great.
ROC Star Dumplings, 2049 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles