I am a huge fan of dim sum. I threw my own first dim sum party at some point in graduate school and served my friends an assortment of more than ten different types of small plates that I tried to keep rolling out at intervals over the party time. And of course, I had too much food for my twelve guests. Because somehow, to me, it seems that the endless flow of carts and choice of small dished to be shared at the table is what it means to eat dim sum. It is the ultimate in comfort and companionship. The word “companion” comes from the Latin com [meaning with] and panes [bread]. Literally, someone with whom you share bread or a meal.
Dim sum is a family and friend affair and you can’t go alone. Even just a single companion is kind of hard to pull off. Tables are large, carts and staff come bustling through, you have to pick from choices at a fast pace. And you have to accommodate the tastes of everyone at your table. And sometimes guess what you are ordering. I hadn’t had dim sum in months, so when it was suggested I jumped at the opportunity to share small plates. Because you can’t go to dim sum alone. I’ve been in the strip mall where Fortune sits on multiple occasions but had actually never seen it before. It is a stand alone store front in one of the corners away from the main drag of the Seven Corners Shopping Center, located at the corner of Arlington Boulevard and Leesburg Pike in Fall Church, VA.
We began ordering in what seemed almost haste as dishes continued to pass by us. First, wide noodles, steamed pork buns, roasted duck, spare ribs, lots of shrimp shumai and other dumplings. Despite my friends’ hype over the food quality and despite the large population of Chinese patrons, I was not terribly impressed. Yes, we got lots of food and at relatively inexpensive prices. There were nine of us and we ate until we were ready to pop and still only spent $20 a piece, including tax and tip. There was certainly lots of food coming through, but I felt it was hard to get to everything they had to offer. Carts passing through had very little room, and at times had difficulty getting to every part of the large room. While some dishes were spectacular [we all loved the string beans, and I would have given anything for another sesame ball — I never saw them come by again] certain dishes really fell flat. The bok choy was limp and tasteless and the shrimp shumai could have come from Costco.
But, it was only one trip and they were extremely busy serving Sunday morning dim sum. I expected service to not be so wonderful. I did not expect to have multiple mediocre dishes. I will still probably go back. Just not on a weekend morning and I will spend more time choosing and ordering.
Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant
6249 Seven Corners Center
Falls Church, VA 22044