Dim sum at Noble Court: Seattle quality on the Eastside

Cut into a small patch of forest across the street from Safeway on 140th is Noble Court, a gem of a Chinese restaurant close to campus. Like many Chinese restaurants, Noble Court serves dim sum during brunch hours, offering diners a unique way to enjoy Chinese cuisine.

Dim sum is best described as a reverse buffet of Chinese appetizers. Guests sit at a table with a slip of paper as carts loaded with a variety of foods come by, pushed by servers happy to describe every type of dish on their cart. Diners choose which dishes they want to eat and servers keep a tally on the guest check.

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Variety is the order of the day, with the very small serving sizes diners can sample a staggering array of food.

Dishes like buns, egg rolls, pot stickers and taro feel familiar to the newbie, but dim sum is best enjoyed as an adventure, an exploration of what can be tried. Foods like chicken feet and tripe push comfort zones in the most delicious way.

Noble Court nails the dim sum experience, with small yet hearty offerings.

The restaurant is clean and bright, bustling with diners and carts on the weekend, the crowd a testament to the quality of food.

Shrimp and pork dumplings are popular and in high demand, and pork buns always please.

A specialty of Noble Court is their orange shrimp, crunchy fried shrimp with a creamy orange sauce with cashews.

A personal favorite is steamed sweet sticky rice with pork wrapped in a lotus leaf, the flavors and textures coming together to make what is one of the best comfort foods on Earth.
No dim sum is complete without having the deep fried buns known simply as footballs. Crunchy on the outside, warm and gooey with perfectly seasoned pork in the middle, it’s enough to make knees go weak.

Dim sum is a uniquely social meal, best enjoyed in large crowds. Huge tables with lazy Susans accommodate plenty of people, making the occasion a lot of fun. Carts milling about, everybody looking for some especially delicious dish and lively conversation make for a fantastic time out with friends and family.

Food isn’t limited to what is on carts, any dish can be ordered and delivered to the table. Chow mein, wide rice noodles and the like can be enjoyed next to the smaller dim sum dishes.
Customer service is top-notch, the water glasses of my group didn’t get past half empty without an attentive server coming by to fill them up.

The price is very reasonable, my group of three ate to bursting for a little more than $40. Be warned, however, this was during dim sum hours which end in the early afternoon. Afterwards, the prices per dish go up and two people can easily spend $60.

Plan for dim sum to be a hearty brunch to start a Saturday or Sunday for maximum enjoyment.