As I walked into the restaurant to meet my girlfriends for happy hour, I was surprised to see that the huge patio was empty. It was strange to see because just next door at James Hoban and across the street at Front Page, the patios were packed with people enjoying the unseasonably cool August night. I later learned that the restaurant is still waiting for the District of Columbia to approve the license for the outdoor patio. Lets hope that it get approved soon…it is definitely prime real estate for after work drinks this fall.
The décor inside is very similar, if not identical, to the Chinatown location. Dark tables illuminated by lights installed under the tables, long bar, dim overhead lighting, clean lines. The ambiance can be summed up with one word: sophisticated.
My five girlfriends were seated at a table in the bar and were ordering various dim sum dishes and specialty drinks. I expected a busy vibe on a Wednesday night, but the bar area was mostly empty. I sat down and surveyed the table. Two of my friends were drinking the “strawberry, lemon and Prosecco” cocktail. They both agreed that it was tasty but a little too tart.
The bar manager came over a few minutes later to take my order. I asked for the same drink as my girlfriends but requested more strawberries and less lemon. He responded, “How about more Prosecco and less lemon?” That is when I knew he and I were going to get along juuuuusssttt fine.
The drink -- made with vodka, limoncello, Prosecco and fresh strawberries-- was delicious and refreshing. Only problem? A bit too much ice. And at $11 a pop, I had hoped for a larger drink. I guzzled that thing down in about ten minutes.
We ordered a variety of dim sum (small plates). The chicken puff-- a puff pastry stuffed with chicken and pineapple-- was one of my favorites. I also really liked the spinach and mushroom dumpling.
Unlike traditional restaurants, the food is brought out as it is ready, therefore dishes arrive at the table sporadically. This allows for a very relaxed atmosphere at the table, while still surrounded by a very sophisticated setting. A contradiction that works well in this restaurant.
The service was top notch. We seemed to have two or three servers constantly checking to see what we needed, how the food tasted, etc. A welcome change from some other restaurants in the Dupont area.
Overall, I give Ping Pong Dim Sum high reviews. My only caveat? The drink prices. They were too high. In the very least, I wish there were happy hour special to offset the regular drink menu. That said, the sophisticated atmosphere, delicious food, and friendly staff won we over.