Qun Zhong Eating House, Neil Road
A co-worker of mine told me about this place, calling the guy "the Dumpling Nazi" due to his allegedly grouchy demeanor. I didn't notice anything particularly rude about him when I made my way down here today (21 Neil Road, 6221-3060), but then again, I interacted mostly with the staff rather than the proprietor himself. Anyway, the other interesting thing about this place is that they only had 13 items on the "Peking Traditional Foods" menu (four of which were desserts). I went ahead and grabbed the very first item on the list, or the boiled mixed seafood and pork dumplings. While the skin wasn't anything great, the stuffing was pretty darned tasty (and full of soup, mind you), which reminded me a bit of dumplings from Beijing and explained why this place was so crowded. Too bad they only had some basic chili sauce to go with it though.
The other items I ordered were more forgettable though. The hot & sour soup had a strange sweetish/saccharin-like aftertaste, and definitely paled in comparison to places like Hometown. And the oddly (but I suppose appropriately named) "Chinese Pancake" was composed of the same stuffing that they used the dumplings, but just put into a thicker-than-I-would-like crust, which incidentally was soggy underneath due to the juices from the stuffing. I think the Chinese name of the dish is similar to this chive thing that I like to get in Taipei, but this definitely paled in comparison to that.
My co-worker tells me that she usually gets the pan-fried dumplings and the xiao long bao instead of that Chinese Pizza thing. I suppose I'll go back to try those instead, but this is the second mainlander place in this neighborhood that has so far been disappointing on the first visit. Maybe I'm ordering the wrong things, but I think my vote is still for Xin Tao Yuan if I had to choose from this kind of cuisine in the area.