The intriguingly named restaurant is now serving from Hilliard's Center Street Market
The landmark water tower in Old Hilliard proudly bearing the year of the town’s founding — 1853 — now overlooks a buzzy new attraction for the west side suburb: Center Street Market.
Built on the site of a demolished auto parts store, the 16,000-square-foot market is an eye-catching brick building with an airy, industrial interior that stretches from a concrete floor to a tall ceiling. As a facility that houses specialty shops and interesting restaurant stalls, this is Hilliard’s answer to the North Market — if part of the question asked for loads of patio seating.
Because in addition to air-conditioned indoor tables, market visitors can cop a squat at a slew of outdoor tables — many equipped with umbrellas — in a large adjoining courtyard and along a sizable patch of Center Street closed to automotive traffic. I recommend dining al fresco, which I happily did recently on entertaining fare whipped up by Dumplings of Fury, a market vendor open since Memorial Day weekend.
Perhaps you’re wondering: What’s up with that name? Well, dumplings are featured items — as are bao (sandwiches in Chinese-style buns) and rice bowls — on the modest-sized menu of this Seattle-based eatery inspired by the cuisines of China, Japan and Korea.Get a new takeout dining review delivered to your inbox every Monday: Sign up for our daily newsletter
Although I didn’t experience actual “fury,” aggressively seasoned fare seems to be the inexpensive restaurant stall’s specialty. Serving such food is a wise game plan to attract fans seeking a little dining adventure. Another payoff: Even flawed dishes can be quite compelling when they make up in audacious flavors what they lack in finesse.
That description fits the bold tasting and irresistibly crisp but oily fried dumplings I sampled, such as the fine Pan-Seared Pork Potstickers ($8 for five) boosted with scallions and cabbage and, like all dumplings here, served with a zippy dipping sauce. I especially liked the Shrimp and Chive dumplings ($8 for three): extra-large, extra-crispy, garlicky parcels thickly bound in tapioca sheets and packed with good shellfish and greens.
While jammed with fungus and also wrapped in pan-crisped tapioca “paper,” the large Garlic Mushroom dumplings ($7) were so pungent that I pitied anyone subjected to my garlicky breath afterward. (This was one time that social distancing came in handy.)
Lovers of pot roast and thin-skinned steamed dumplings should target the Beef Jiaozi ($8 for six). The comforting bundles receive complementary brightness from pickled ginger and scallion garnishes.
If you believe that variety and capsaicin are the spices of life, then the Szechuan Beef Rice Bowl ($11) and the Kimchee Fried Rice Bowl ($11) are the way to go. Both recommended entrees effectively play their botanical heat off a cooling and nice Japanese-style potato salad made with Kewpie mayo. The beef bowl featured stew-like meat, crushed nuts and cucumbers, plus sweet, briny, five-spice and Sichuan-peppercorn notes; the kimchee bowl — which was fiery, salty, a little funky and a lot of fun — was enriched with seared sweet Chinese sausage segments and scrambled egg.
I’d eagerly rip into the Tofu Bao again ($7 for two) — pillowy steamed buns enveloping crunchy fried bean-curd wedges, pickled ginger, cilantro, onions and far-better-than-it-sounds “hoisin veganaise.”
The Fried Chicken Bao ($7) and Pork Belly Bao ($8) were likewise assembled with good ingredients, but I found each whole to be less than the sum of its parts, largely because the filling-to-bun ratios were lower than I’d like.
Instead, I suggest spending your dough on shareable fare such as the dynamically spiced, furikake-flecked Fury Fries ($4.50) and the gochujang-spiked and accurately described (if curiously spelled) Sweet and Spicey Wings ($10).
I was also fond of the Spicy Green Beans featuring haricot verts ($6) and the Chinese Broccoli ($2.50). Sure, both were greasy, but these sweet-soy-splashed and onion-scented veggies were characteristically flavor-packed amusements.