Lin Asian Bar & Dim Sum

An honest review of the restaurant holding my title of the best soup dumplings in Austin.

7/10

Right off the bat, I have to hand them several points for their incredible soup dumplings. If you haven’t seen my last post about the top soup dumplings in ATX, I rated them #1. They are a perfect ratio of all the ingredients, and you really get a good serving of soup, where oftentimes it’s an overwhelming amount of meat. The broth is super flavorful, and the pork is well seasoned and tender. Their sauce is identical to Wu Chow, which I love, and the dough is super soft and chewy, not too dense or tough.

However, I do have several critiques of Lin and wouldn’t say it’s my favorite Chinese restaurant, though, I will definitely return. Their Orange Peel Beef was incredibly delicious; it had a perfect balance of savory to tart from the citrus, and had an overall good texture from the crunch of the coating, despite the meat being a tiny bit tough. Not only was the beef not the best chew, but the dish was TINY. There were 6 pieces of beef total, and they were slightly larger than bite-sized, so I’m a bit confused why it’s considered an “entree.” When ordering classic Chinese plates, one would assume it’s family style, but the portion would hardly satisfy one person.

Along with the Orange Peel Beef, we also ordered the Combo Fried Rice. I have to say, this dish was incredible. The texture was perfect: the addition of corn and the diced meat provided a perfect bite each time as well as made it very flavorful and light (in the best way possible), where oftentimes fried rice is incredibly heavy and monotone. This portion size was much better, and there was a large amount of meat and egg in the rice, so it was still definitely filling, but still left me hungry enough to eat tons of dumplings and other entrees.

Despite this dish being delicious, I have to say Wu Chow makes a better one. Their texture is somehow even better, and it has more umami flavor.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is adorable. The remodel of an old house off of 6th Street truly made me feel like I was eating in someone’s home. The decorations and place settings further emphasized the homey atmosphere: they serve their water in mugs!! However, the amount of tables crammed into the small space makes for a really noisy meal–I could hardly hold a conversation. All in all, comfortable atmosphere makes it a much more casual space and one I wouldn’t go to for a nice date night, but I will say it’s perfect for dim sum–as long as you’re okay with it being loud!

All in all, a really great meal with truly amazing soup dumplings, I definitely recommend for lunch and even a relaxed dinner, but be prepared to spend a good amount ($10 for 5 dumplings, for example) and make reservations well in advance if you don’t want to risk not finding seating.

Let me know your thoughts on Lin, and if you haven’t gone, you are missing out on some flawless soup dumplings!

-Ari

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