At some point towards the middle/end of June, a new dumpling shop will open in the front 200 sqft of what used to be Mamie Taylor’s in Chinatown.
The new project is called BLND TGER. That’s ‘Blind Tiger’ with the I’s removed. Because the tiger is blind. Get it? I didn’t at first. Co-owner Lewis Hart patiently explained it to me as I stared at him quizzically during a recent tour.
It wasn’t one of my proudest moments.
Beyond the clever name is the undeniable appeal of a Hutong-style, evenings-only, open-frontage dumpling shop churning out a variety of stuffed delights for takeaway and quick, on-site consumption (there are only four seats inside, plus a wee patio). Hart says there will be seven dumpling options on opening day, among them Tibetan momos and tongue-numbing, pork-filled Zhongs. Preparing them will be chef Phong Vo, who you might remember from his stints running the kitchens at Heirloom and the long-shuttered Electric Owl. To drink, I’m told that we can expect a selection of interesting iced teas.
First time restaurateur Hart has two managing partners in the enterprise, front of house veteran Brett Christopher and bartender Alex Black. This begs the question: why are esteemed front of house professionals up to their necks in a new project that doesn’t appear to have a front of house? And why the hell would they pay rent on a few thousand square feet but only use 200? And come to think of it, why are there only four seats when Mamie Taylor’s was licensed for 100?
I’d press these questions to Hart if I thought he’d answer them on the record. He’s respectfully made it clear that he won’t. What’s happening behind the fresh dry wall is not for public consumption just yet. I’m happy enough to leave it alone except to say that they’ve got London’s Bergman Interiors working on it and I’d be silly to believe these guys were only planning to serve up dumplings and iced teas.
So yeah, watch this space. It should prove of deeper interest than it outwardly seems, and I hope to reveal more about it soon.