A BETTER BRUNCH BY FAR: DIM SUM AT RUBY ROUGE

“Dim sum” refers to a Cantonese style of cuisine that consists of an assortment of small bites of food, generally steamed or fried (e.g dumplings, buns, rolls). Skip brunch as usual; your money is better spent here. -jrs

Your first go at dim sum might be a bit overwhelming, if you’re an introvert like me. The dining room is busy and bustling, loud with activity and conversation. You don’t order from the waiters, but rather choose your food from trolleys, wheeled around the tables by servers. The options appear unending—and if you are not that familiar with the food, you might have little idea of what you’re ordering. But rest assured: everything is good. Go with a group, that way you can have a dozen different dishes, and definitely find something to your liking.

At the start, the staff leave a bill on your table to keep track of what you’ve taken, a kind of running tally. It’s a great system: You can linger, eat as much as you like, and pay only for what you choose. Trust me: The experience beats a boring, overpriced brunch of bacon and eggs any day.

I recently had dim sum at Ruby Rouge in Chinatown (1008 rue Clark). The food was spectacular, the service perfect (attentive, very friendly). My bill ran to $30, but I ate enough food for two sensible people. You can expect yours to reach $20 or so per person, depending on how much you order. Highly recommend.

 

Ruby Rouge has a massive dining room with several sections. There are also private rooms.
Shrimp dumplings. Simple and delicious. Perfect seasoning: a balance of salty, sweet, savoury.
Red bean buns. Soft rice cake filled with a sweet red bean paste, kind of mealy in texture.
Beef balls. Excellent. Note of citrus (I’ve seen recipes calling for orange peel) and sweet spice, maybe coriander, I’m not sure.
Steamed pork ribs (rear). Pork rib tips are steamed with whole black beans and oil. Stunningly good. Heat from chili flakes helps balance the fat and sweetness.
Pork and prawn dumplings. Again, excellent.
Fried squid. If you like calamari, this will keep you happy.
The damage done. About $30.