Dig into the duck and dumplings at Macky’s Dim Sum

February 2, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Put down the chopsticks, or maybe a fork, and ignore the stares from other diners, because the menu at Macky’s Dim Sum presents a hand-eye coordination challenge. Order the roasted duck — lacquered skin and moist meat presented in oh-so-neat rows — and utensils will be rendered useless.

Scoop away the breast nuggets — and the boneless morsels disappear first — and the more challenging pieces remain. Use fingers or, better yet, both hands. Chuck the chopsticks. Forget the fork. Eat like a Neanderthal.

A few (jealous?) glares from tablemates make for small discomfort on the way to a worthwhile payoff. The duck requires little adornment, so skip the cloying plum sauce. Dip instead into a pot of zippy chili paste stationed next to the soy sauce. Remember to stack the bones — neatly, of course — on the side of the plate.

Macky’s offers more civilized options, too.

The menu includes a whole taxonomy of baked, fried and steamed dumplings, familiar Chinese dishes and a couple of showstoppers: a Kabocha squash and a fresh pineapple stuffed with seafood and other fillings.

Start with a few basketfuls of dumplings: a delicate, half-moon shaped variety packed with shrimp; light, almost ethereal steamed pork dumplings; and Shanghai-style soup dumplings brightened with a few drips of vinegar.

The soup dumplings, so named because of the broth contained within, require some dexterity to navigate — via chopsticks — from the basket to a porcelain spoon. Dribble some vinegar on top and voilà.

Beyond duck and dumplings, the restaurant offers ample small plates, as the name implies. Opt for the soy-sauce-doused noodles with just enough chew; a pan-fried turnip cake — earthy and delicate at the same time; a thin, crispy onion cake; and toothsome pot stickers — a takeout staple elevated here by a crisp skin without a whiff of grease. Also on the must-try list: bites fashioned from eggplant, shrimp and black bean sauce, served three to a plate and gone fast.

A deft hand seasons the salt-and-pepper cod and a vegetarian cousin, salt-and-pepper tofu. The tofu, bean curd with the consistency of firm cheese, is as addictive as fried mozzarella sticks from a greasy spoon.

Chinese broccoli doused in oyster sauce makes for some satisfying greenery, a momentary detour from the carbs.

The mango chicken — with ample chunks of mango and a subtle sauce with hints of sweet — arrives in a bowl fashioned from noodles woven and then fried. The edible result resembles some sort of extraterrestrial handicraft.

Macky’s occupies the Gilman Village space last filled by Sweet Addition, a longtime soup-and-sandwich institution. Patrons now eat in a space accented by sage-green walls, Chinese artwork and a semi-open kitchen.

Gracious servers keep the teapot replenished with enough tea to float a battleship. The affable owner darts from table to table, helping diners navigate the expansive menu.

No word yet on whether the staff condones diners digging hands-first into the duck.

Macky’s Dim Sum

In Gilman Village, 317 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite 43

391-7200 for reservations

11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Monday to Friday

9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Saturday

9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday

Restaurant reviews are a regular feature of The Issaquah Press. Reviewers visit restaurants unannounced and pay in full for their meals.

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