I had lunch at Lumi Empanada & Dumpling Kitchen the other day. It was my first trip back since I visited for lunch a few days after they opened. I liked the dumplings I had during my first experience, so I thought I'd come back to try something new.
I noticed they added some lunch specials to the menu, which definitely made ordering simple and dining more affordable. I opted for the Wonton Soup and Fiesta Crab and Shrimp Empanada combo.
The first thing I noticed when it arrived was that the portion size was much larger than I was expecting for $9. It wasn't as large as the body-builder carb-load portions served at Maggiano's and Al Biernat's, but it was definitely more than I could eat. I guess this is to be expected these days, though. Every restaurant in town has taken a "better give them more than they can eat, just in case" approach. Seems a bit wasteful unless you are in the habit of eating restaurant leftovers on a regular basis. I'm not.
The Wonton Soup was fantastic. The shrimp and pork dumplings were on par with those found at the best Asian restaurants. Each was about two mouthfuls. They were tender, but not mushy, and didn't overpower the simple flavor of the broth. I hate putting a spoonful of soup into my mouth only to find out that the chef felt saltier was better. This definitely wasn't the case here. The broth was a wonderful compliment to the dumplings, but its flavor didn't dominate.
The Fiesta Crab and Shrimp Empanadas were up next. They were like the broth's evil sibling. They were everything the broth wasn't--heavy, deep-fried and heavily-seasoned. The flavor was tasty, but mostly in a greasy, bar food kind of way. It seemed as if they put cheese inside of it. I'm a huge fan of fried cheese, but I think it should be advertised as such. Fried cheese masquerading as shrimp and crab was a bit of a disappointment. I would have preferred empanadas about a third of the size of these, deep-fried in a light crust and stuffed with fresh shrimp and crab, sans cheese. Nevertheless, I could find myself craving these at 2am. Hint, hint...
Overall, the experience was a good one. For a $10ish lunch, Lumi is definitely one of the better choices around and a departure from the regular Tex-Mex outings responsible for clogging my arteries and inducing afternoon desk naps.
By the way, Urbanspoon rocks! Check it out.