Food Porn: Wok & Roll

Mini Juicy Pork Buns (Soup Dumplings)

This meal wouldn’t have happened without our friends, the Walley’s. While scrolling through twitter, we noticed they had just finished eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Williamsville and they mentioned something about soup dumplings. Our love of soup dumplings is well documented; they might be one of our favorite dishes of all time. So, when we saw a restaurant in Buffalo was serving them, we made plans to visit the restaurant ASAP. We met up with the Walley’s and some of their foodie friends and visited the restaurant on a Saturday night.

Wok & Roll looks like an average Western New York Chinese restaurant. The interior is cleaner then most, but you’ll still find the trademark picture menu above the counter. It’s located in a busy plaza off Sheridan drive and the name Wok and Roll makes me think of a Chinese restaurant that you’d find in a mall, but like Peking Quick One they offer homestyle Cantonese and Dim Sum on a “secret menu” (it’s not really a secret, and it’s posted online) and it’s damn good. Our table had seven people and luckily everyone was feeling pretty adventurous that night, so we decided to order our dishes “family style” and try as much as possible (our grand total was 12 different dishes).

Quick Info:

  • Restaurant Type: Take Out Chinese
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Location: Williamsville
  • Prices: Apps $4-7, Entrees $8-16

The “soup dumplings” are actually called Mini Juicy Pork Buns (above) and they’re the closest thing we’ve had to the magical experience of NYC soup dumplings. At this time I believe they are the only soup dumplings that we’ve found in WNY. For that reason alone, I know we will soon become regulars. The exterior was a just slightly chewy but the ground pork and small amount of broth inside the actual dumpling was fantastic. For just $4 for six dumplings, it’s worth ordering at least two servings. We didn’t try any other dumplings on their Dim Sum menu, but I have a feeling they might be equally as great. The Crispy Salt and Pepper Calamari ($5) was a surprising dish, something I probably wouldn’t have ordered but luckily someone else at the table did. The exterior was crunchy but light and had just the right amount of seasoning. The actual calamari wasn’t rubbery as I was expecting. It’s another dish that I’m looking forward to ordering again.

The Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves (two for $4) were slightly disappointing to another diner at our table who’s eaten them elsewhere. While we enjoyed the savory rice and pork combination, apparently the dish is suppose to have a lot more stuffing (bigger pieces of pork, mushroom, possibly an egg) inside. For someone who’s never ordered it before, I was happy with the dish. We also ordered both the Snow Pea Leaf ($14) and Sauteed Chinese Broccoli ($13) entrees, but we definitely could have ordered just one of them. Both included large piles of sauteed greens with a really good texture and bitterness; they were near identical in taste.

Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves

Eggplant Casserole

Based on previous experiences, the Walley’s recommended we order a couple of the casserole entrees. Our table shared the Spicy Eggplant ($11, above) and Chicken with Black Mushroom ($16). The eggplant went over really well at our table (Alli and I missed out, we were getting full) and I really loved the juicy/greasy chicken. The bone-in chicken was tender and still had some skin and fatty bits which added a great flavor. The actual eating process (along with the Spare Ribs in Black Bean Sauce) was a little barbaric, chewing off the bones and trying to get every last bit. The Beef with Scallions included thin pieces of beef that were soaked in a sweet sauce and had the right blend of crunch and chew, another dish I would order again. The only dish the really seemed to be a universal disappointment was the Shredded Pork Tripe with Chili Oil ($6), most diners at our table didn’t like it at all and we let the server take the dish away.

At the moment there seems to only be a handful of places in Buffalo that offer more traditional Cantonese and Dim Sum dishes. Because of that, I am incredibly happy I found another restaurant to add to that list. The restaurant owner/servers were incredibly friendly and let our table know about the current vegetable specials they were running (make sure you ask when you order). They even notified our table that they were currently serving Peking duck and it’s not even necessary to call ahead. Like our experiences at China Star and Peking Quick One, the restaurant was filled with various international students ordering off the “secret” menu in their native tongue (always a good sign). If you’d like a second opinion, you can read the review that Andrew Galarneau wrote last Friday. Their “Chinese Cuisine” menu has 58 different menu items and I’m looking forward to trying all 58 of them.

Photo Gallery:

Wok & Roll on Urbanspoon

3 thoughts on “Food Porn: Wok & Roll

  1. Marc

    Check out Ni Hoowa Supermarket – you can get any flavor combo of Asian buns under the sun. Build a makeshift steamer out of a 12″ saute pan and tin foil pie tin and BOOM! Steamed buns!

  2. Would be so much better if the restaurant was named “Stop Wok & Roll”.

  3. Flapjack

    as a suggestion: maybe start an attempt to focus on actual flavor profiles rather than texture notes. you’re in a position to really shine lights on some of buffalos best.

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