Katy’s Dumpling House
1113 Lake St.
Oak Park, IL
Everyone has been raving about Katy’s Dumpling for ages, with buzz bubbling up on LTH forum as far back as the mid-2000s. When I first heard about Katy’s it was only a single outpost in suburban Westmont. However, in later years it has mushroomed into three locations sprinkled throughout the Western suburbs. We had a friend staying near the shiny, new Oak Park outpost, so we decided to finally give the storied Katy’s a try. The Oak Park version had a very modern feel, with big red booths and wood paneling; apparently, the previous tenant was another Chinese restaurant, Hutong, which explains the semi-temporary feel.
Katy’s menu was large, featuring a variety of appetizers, noodle dishes and rice entrees. We also appreciated the sprinkling of regional dishes like Spicy Beggar’s Chicken Jiangnan Style and Dan Dan noodles from Chengdu. However, we were really at Katy’s for the dumplings and noodles. The dumplings came mainly in meat and vegetable combos ($6.95-8.95) for either 10 boiled dumplings or 8 Pot Stickers. We started out with two orders of dumplings: pork and chives and chicken and bok choy, both in Pot Sticker form. The dumpling dough was perfectly tender, and was well-proportioned to the filling, a delicate balance that can often go awry. We also thought they were pan-fried perfectly!
From the selection of hand-pulled noodles, L ordered the Singapore-style noodles ($7.95), which were Cantonese-style thin vermicelli noodles in a mild soy and curry sauce. While the sauce was good, the standout were the phenomenally-light noodles. Our dining companion also ordered the basil chicken ($7.95), which while good, was extremely spicy (perhaps a misunderstanding there, since M had in fact ordered his “extra spicy”) and was chock full of whole chili peppers. M opted for a Uyghur dish: Xinjiang-style cumin beef ($8.95). It was slightly oily, but M appreciated the vibrant and earthy flavor from the whole cumin pods and red chiles.
Now we don’t know what the original Katy’s in Westmont is like, so keep that in mind, but we heartily enjoyed the Oak Park outpost. Everything we ordered was excellent, and we especially loved the fresh noodles and dumplings, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, stood above the rice dishes.