photo by Liz Barclay
Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng’s RedFarm often feels less like a farm and more like a zoo, and it has been that way since it opened in late 2011. A weekend-evening sortie found the 42-seat dining room crammed seatless by 6:15, a line out the door, and no shot at a table for hours. But don’t let that stop you: Once seated, your view of RedFarm becomes that of a raucous garden of earthly pleasures. Pull up to the communal table, which takes up most of the room, and chat with your neighbors while you wait for your food. Ng takes Eastern classics — dim sum, noodles, curries, and rice — and dresses them in fancy new duds. Dumplings are stuffed with lamb, lobster, or duck and crab, fried to a deep golden crisp, and flattened into little flounder-like forms that rest at the edge of a fragrant pool of curry. Ng’s signature starter, “Pac-Man” dumplings, are filled fat with shrimp, dyed in pastel hues, and steamed to a high luster. Schoenfeld and Ng have a gift for kitschy flair, but some things being sacred, they leave classics alone: soup dumplings, generous in size, filled with delicate broth and a loose mass of pork and crab rather than the standard stiff porky ball, are pricier than any you’ll find in Chinatown, but they’re a treat well worth the splurge.