A while ago when Gothamist got wind of TKettle, a spot on St. Marks that promised bubble tea, dumplings and Korean fried chicken, we were tempted to place it in the same category as many Chinatown spots trading in savory snacks and bizarre boba drinks. The appeal of slurping chewy gelatinous globes through an oversized straw has always proved elusive, but we harbor no such prejudices against fried chicken or dumplings. Additional reports about succulent handmade dumplings compelled us to head down to St. Marks, despite an aversion to novelty T-shirt vendors.
Like many Korean fried chicken joints dotting Northern Boulevard in Flushing, TKettle’s décor seems like a much happier version of Korova Milk Bar: orange chairs, white walls and a floor-to-ceiling display of stacked teapots. The sight of fry baskets still sheathed in plastic disappointed us, but then we remembered the dumplings and ordered a score: ten house and ten pork.
While taking in several jars of tea ingredients, including rose petals and ginseng root, we sampled a small cup of multicolored tapioca beads: think Trix for kids who like chewy stuff. Again not quite our thing, but surely some of the best and brightest colored boba. We took a seat, and waited for our dumplings. Thanks to a somewhat impatient couple we overheard that the doughy packages spend seven minutes in the steamer.
It was well worth the wait. One bite into the house dumpling’s pleasantly chewy wrapper and juices gushed forth leaving us no choice but to quickly down the pork, chive, shrimp and sea cucumber filled crescent. The pork dumplings proved equally exquisite. A quick dip in the hot sauce and sesame soy sauce blend further intensified the flavors.
Upon leaving we noticed that TKettle has begun offering soup dumplings as a winter special. We’ll be sure to come back for them as well as the Korean fried chicken which owner Andy Pan expects to be sampling next week.
TeaKettle, 26 St Marks Place, 212- 982-9782