99 Krog St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-527-6007, gusdumplings.com/home.html.
Fans who mourned the recent closing of beloved Buford Highway Szechuan restaurant, Gu’s Bistro, rejoiced at the opening of the new Krog Street Market spin-off, Gu’s Dumplings. The smaller version features a concise menu of dumplings and noodles, but still includes Gu’s Bistro Szechuan favorites, with many dishes sized for sharing and take-away.
The look: Located directly across from The Cockentrice in the Krog Street food hall, Gu's market stall shows off a bright and shiny contemporary design. Stainless steel cases, bamboo counter tops and Chinese red accents beckon, along with the Gu's logo and a prominent Coca-Cola sign.
The scene: One recent evening, the line wasn't too long and the wait time for orders was around 10 minutes, as a chatty group of customers gathered around the counter discussing their menu choices and sipping drinks. But long lunchtime lines and waits of 30 minutes to over an hour have been reported.
The food: Surprisingly, perhaps, the "famous" steamed dumplings are only available with a choice of two fillings, vegetable or pork ($6 half/$10 full). They're served swimming in "secret" sweet and spicy Zhong sauce with minced garlic, toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions. The two noodle dishes ($9) are cold Chengdu with veggies or warm Dan Dan with seasoned ground beef. Szechuan vegetable and meat dishes include battered and fried batons of Spicy Dried Eggplant ($13), and super hot and numbing sautéed Chicken with Chili Peppers ($15).
The drinks: On the short beverage list, look for Coca-Cola Co. soft drinks ($2.50), Wong Lo Kat, Chinese-style herbal sweet tea ($2.50), and organic hot tea in assorted flavors ($3).
The extras: Of course, you can grab beer, wine or cocktails at the bar at Hop City, while you wait for your order. And after dinner, there's the Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams stall, where you can try out the new wheatgrass, pear, and vinho verde sparkling Portuguese wine sorbet.