Joining Restaurant Row on King St., Pearl King is the neighbourhood's new(ish) go-to for dim sum and tapas. After being handed our dim sum pencil sheet, we gladly went a little order-crazy because can you really have enough dim sum? (Answer: yes, but that thought was quickly forgotten once we walked in.)
Shrimp Dumplings: Har Kau ($6.75)
This night, we were feeling the Shrimp Dumplings: Har Kau ($6.75), Fried Beef Short Ribs Honey Pepper ($12), Garlic Buttered Prawn Skewers ($2.50 each), Eggplant Stuffed with Shrimp ($6), Meat Dumplings: Siu Mai ($6), and Crispy Honey Chicken ($12).
Fried Beef Short Ribs Honey Pepper ($12)
We found that the typical dim sum dishes like the Har Kau, Eggplant Stuffed with Shrimp, and Siu Mai were slightly pricier than most other dim sum places, ringing in at $6 or more each. While these dishes were quite good, they weren't so good as to warrant the price difference.
Garlic Buttered Prawn Skewers ($2.50 each)
The restaurant also offered a selection of skewers – we chose to try their Garlic Buttered Prawn Skewers but much like the dim sum, we couldn't quite justify their price point with the quality of the food. We could barely taste the garlic butter, essentially turning this dish into three pieces of rather bland shrimp on a stick.
Left to right: Eggplant Stuffed With Shrimp ($6), Meat Dumplings: Siu Mai ($6)
We have to give mad props to the Fried Beef Short Ribs Honey Pepper though. This was definitely our favourite dish of the night – a plate of short ribs glazed in honey pepper, the perfect blend of sweet and savoury. The Crispy Honey Chicken was ordered as an afterthought, hoping it would offer the same sweet and savoury satisfaction. However, we found these to be a little too crispy and dense – akin to food court Chinese food.
Crispy Honey Chicken ($12)
We mentioned price as the main inhibitory factor here, but that's only in comparison to most other dim sum places that tend to look run-down while using low prices as their selling point. Pearl King differentiates themselves through the contemporary design of their restaurant: clean white walls and minimalist decor with a few Oriental touches. Pearl King is a more modern dim sum experience with prices that are still pretty good compared to most of Toronto's dine-in restaurants.