My mom and I were in Chicago’s River North district today for an NYU new student/parent meet and greet. Although Jake is working in Wisconsin all summer, we thought it would be fun to check it out and to get some of our questions answered.
After it was over, we were walking around the neighborhood and stumbled upon Imperial Lamian, a newish Chinese restaurant. I took one look at it and said we had to go there. My mom had heard of it, but I either hadn’t or had forgotten (same thing in the end).
The restaurant is beautiful inside. Huge bird cages and abacus-inspired design. But we didn’t last very long inside when we saw outdoor seating. I was all set to order a bowl of hot noodles (la mian in Chinese means pulled noodles) when I spotted another diner with steamers of the cutest dim sum I’ve seen in North America.
So we ordered what she had and then some. What caught my eye at first were these pumpkin puffs. Could they be any cuter?
Inside was succulent roasted duck and butternut squash. They tasted just as amazing as they looked.
Next up: mushroom bao!
It also tasted as good as it looked, as they were filled with shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, and truffle oil.
The waiter suggested the shrimp rolls, which, instead of the standard deep-fried version, were wrapped in seaweed to look like maki rolls. I much prefer this type because the shrimp stands out much more than if it were wrapped in fried dough.
We wanted to try dessert, so chose the salted egg bun, or molten egg custard buns.
The custard was hot and gooey like molten chocolate, but lighter and less rich.
With just two of us, this was about all we could eat. I can’t wait to go back to try their noodles and other dishes. Imperial Lamian serves dim sum at lunch and dinner, but their full dim sum menu is featured on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch.
Imperial Lamian is located at 6 West Hubbard in Chicago.