Grand House China Bistro and dim sum tips

by | October 13, 2007 | 18 Comments

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Grand House

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2701 N. Classen Bivd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
405-524-7333
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The Grand House China Bistro in Oklahoma City

What is a China Bistro? I’m not 100% sure, but my definition is an Asian restaurant that provides a slightly higher-end experience than your typical family chinese place. In the chain restaurant world, we have P.F. Chang’s China Bistro to give us an idea of what the term means. But really, who wants to eat at a chain? The Grand House could be compared to P.F. Chang’s, but in my opinion, it is a whole lot better, and it’s local, of course!

The Grand House is a large, well established restaurant in the Asian district of Oklahoma City, and it provides just about the “nicest” Asian dining experience I’ve found in the city. As a “china bistro” it’s priced a little higher than your typical chinese place (roughly $12-$25 per person at dinner), but the quality of food, the atmosphere, and the experience make it a great value, in my opinion. Plus, they do offer a variety of lunch specials during the week that make things more affordable. I highly recommend it any time, but in this post, I want to focus on their most unique niche offering, dim sum.

There aren’t many places in the city you can get a dim sum experience, but the Grand House offers dim sum every Saturday and Sunday for lunch. If you’re not familiar with dim sum, it’s an ancient Chinese tradition of eating a meal through a progression of many small samplings. A lot of dim sum restaurants are characterized by the “trolley carts” which contain the small portions that servers offer to each table as they roll them around the restaurant.

At the Grand House, a couple of these trolleys are in use, but most of their food is served off of trays carried from table to table by an army of servers. It’s a lot like an Brazillian churrascaria. If you’ve ever been to Fogo de Chao or the like, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Except, instead of huge chunks of meat, the dim sum delights usually consist of small steamed dumplings with different types of seafood, chicken or pork, plus a lot of other Asian specialties, some of which you recognize and some of which you don’t. You can get a full listing of the Grand House’s dim sum offerings on the dim sum page of their website.

Dim sum can be a great experience, but it can also be a little overwhelming and hard to master at first. I know it was for me. So, to help you out with your endeavor, I’ve developed two strategies for enjoying dim sum which I will share with you to hopefully make your experience more rewarding.

Strategy #1: the dim sum adventure — In this strategy, the objective is to try as many different items as you can in an effort to expand your culinary horizons. This strategy works best in larger groups so that you can all share each item and therefore try more items. When using this strategy, try not to take the items that are familiar, so that you can save your meal for the out of the ordinary. Also, pace yourself. One problem at the Grand House is that the servers come by so fast and so often, it’s easy to load up on the first few things you see and then your meal is over. Instead, take one or two items and then wave everyone off for a while until you’re ready to try some more. This makes the meal last much longer.

Strategy #2: I know what I want — In this strategy, you go in knowing what things you want to eat and the game is to wait for them to come to you. It’s an exercise in patience and discipline. I find this to be the best strategy for parties of two. After all, with just two people, you can’t try that many different things. When my wife and I go, for example, we know exactly what we want — potstickers, shrimp or pork shaomai, and singapore noodles. We wait for those items to form the core of our meal, and then throw in one or two other things that look interesting along the way. Another handy tip for this strategy is to keep your eye out for a server who speaks english well and then ask them to send over the items you are waiting for.

Note: No matter your strategy, there is one skill you need to master before going out for dim sum. That is, the art of saying “no thanks.” Sometimes I feel a little bad for constantly telling the servers that I don’t want any of their delicious offerings. You can’t feel bad about this or you will be terribly depressed throughout your meal. You are going to have to say “no” alot! You will constantly be asked if you want something and if you take it all, you’ll waste a lot of food and spend a ton of money. So really, make sure you’re comfortable saying “no” before you go.

Bottom line — I highly recommend that you try dim sum. Keep in mind, it’s not terribly cheap. The servers will stamp your meal ticket every time you take an item from their tray and at the end as you check out, they add it all up for you. In general, you should expect to pay between $10-20 per person for dim sum at the Grand House. You might end up spending more if you really go crazy with your selections. So for me, this is not something I can afford to do every week, but it’s great for a special occasion as it offers something truly unique.

By the way, the Grand House only has dim sum on Saturdays and Sundays at lunch, but they are open for lunch and dinner the rest of the week and it is well worth the trip any time. I thoroughly enjoy their Kung Pao Shrimp and Scallops (which is not a dim sum item) and my wife loves their Moo Goo Gai Pan. So, you can certainly check them out any time for a fabulous experience.

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More Photos from Grand House Asian Bistro

Sushi at Grand House Asian Bistro in Oklahoma CityExterior of Grand House Asian Bistro in Oklahoma CityLunch Special at Grand House Asian Bistro in Oklahoma CityKung Pao Shrimp and Scallops at Grand House Asian Bistro in Oklahoma City

This article was posted by Tim Wall on Saturday, October 13th, 2007. It is filed under:

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  • Rena says:
    September 12th, 2008 at 3:26 pm   

    I have been eating at Grand House since it was closer to the NW 24th Post Office…almost a hole in the wall, but not quite! The food tends to be fresh and tasty. My husband and I usually share the Egg Fu Yung (it is that big)! The lunches are great too. I tend to prefer Lido’s Hot and Sour Soup, but Grand House’s is a close second. If they are still doing it, Friday evenings is Jazz night and usually a nice addition to dinner.

  • Kimberly says:
    October 9th, 2008 at 11:18 pm   

    When my boyfriend and I first ate here, we were very overwhelmed and ate as we ordered. That was a bad idea, because we spent a lot of money, but the experience didn’t last very long and we barely got to savor any of it. The best is just to order and until you feel like you have enough, don’t start eating. Then, when you’re finished ordering, you can start eating slowly and without interruptions. After all, the food is actually okay, nothing fantastic, but the experience and the idea of sampling everything makes it all worthwhile.

    Also, I recommend an egg tart. It’s delicious. The dessert cart doesn’t come around very often, so you may have to ask a waitress.

  • Sam says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 1:43 am   

    I’ve been to Grand House 3 times now and must say I’m really disappointed with their Dim Sum. Every time I’ve gone, the food has been too salty and many of the selections seem like they were just sitting out too long and soggy. I’m a big fan of the army of people strolling around with Dim Sum steam carts offering fresh selections. However, considering this is the only place in OKC that offers Dim Sum since the only other place closed down last year, I still need to get my fix of shu-mai.

  • Tim says:
    April 22nd, 2009 at 8:25 pm   

    @Sam, yeah I have to agree. I wish they used the steam cart method to keep things a little more fresh. But, I don’t think it’s all that bad and at least they have a broad selection. Like you say, it’s just about our only option here for now and the shumai is tasty indeed.

  • Josie says:
    June 7th, 2009 at 7:23 pm   

    I’m with a lot of folks: Grand House, while a good idea, has disappointing food.

    1. Dim sum is NOT kept warm, seeing as servers carry it around on trays.

    2. Literally, every server that walks by stops to ask you if you want something. I’ve never had this happen to me at other dim sum places. It gets on my nerves.

    3. The dim sum here cost me more than in dim sum in Houston and Las Vegas, and the quality is no where near as good!

  • Tim says:
    June 8th, 2009 at 4:25 pm   

    I haven’t been back for Dim Sum in a while, but the times I have been, I’ve never had cold food. Even though they don’t use the steam trays it seems that they get things out quickly enough that they are still warm. But that’s just my experience.

    I would agree that Grand House isn’t the best Dim Sum in the country, but at this point, I believe it’s the only Dim Sum option in OKC, which might account for the higher price tag since there’s no competition for what seems to be a very popular concept every time I’ve been. Perhaps this thread will inspire another restaurant to offer Dim Sum in town. I hope so.

    Thanks for the comments everyone and keep them coming.

  • Taco says:
    July 13th, 2009 at 1:37 pm   

    Grand House is the BEST! You cant go wrong with HOMEMADE pot stickers. Most places buy them frozen and are made in some other state. The band is still there on Friday nights. Great place for lunch or dinner!

  • tdeg says:
    August 5th, 2009 at 6:36 pm   

    From the Dim Sum menu on the website:

    Chicken Feet
    Beef Porridge
    Pork Porridge
    Hum Suy Gao (Google didn’t know either)

    Never had any of these so…
    Yes, please.
    Gotta try this place out. Thanks for the review.

  • Alisa says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 10:57 pm   

    Has anyone tried Hong Kong Dim Sum on Classen? I haven’t, but I definitely want to check it out. I also enjoyed the Grand House, but as many others mentioned, it wasn’t the best quality and was a bit pricey.

  • Tim says:
    August 20th, 2009 at 10:01 pm   

    @Alisa, is Hong Kong Dim Sum still open? I thought it had closed. I’m afraid Grand House may only be our only Dim Sum option in OKC now.

  • Kimberly says:
    September 28th, 2009 at 3:28 pm   

    This use to be my favorite place to eat, but it seems they must’ve changed management or something. My boyfriend loves it because the sushi were so cheap (they taste on the buffet-side of sushi though), but now they’ve been marked up.

    The food especially the cheese wontons were the best I’ve ever had, but now, it’s not as good. It’s either very oily or too dry. Very disappointing. Trying to find another weekday restaurant near our home now.

    http://twentysomethingponders.blogspot.com

  • J.R. says:
    October 1st, 2009 at 12:34 pm   

    The only thing I can add is that the vermicelli bowl was terrible. I love the one at Lido and this wasn’t even close. The pork was greasy and tough. I thought making good pork was basic chinese cooking but this was really bad.

  • Carrie says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 11:28 pm   

    @Kimberly, management has most definitely not changed. Like one of the other reviewers said, I have also been eating at the Grand House since it was literally an old house with less than 10 tables where the CVS now stands. The same Chinese family has owned it from day one and I doubt that will ever change. My tip for the best Dim Sum experience is to go when it’s the busiest around 11:30 on a Sunday. Yes I know that’s crazy talk, but that’s the only way to guarantee that everything that’s coming to you hasn’t had any time to sit because dim sum should never be eaten “later”. Also, to be completely honest, I would never order sushi at the Grand House, because well… I would never order sushi at a restaurant that wasn’t Japanese.

    @J.R. as well, I don’t want to sound rude. The Grand House is a Chinese restaurant and vermicelli bowls are strictly Vietnamese. Vietnamese food and Chinese food are not even remotely similar and many people don’t know that. This is speaking from experience, I’m Viet, my ex is Chinese, and my own mother HATES Chinese food. As much as I LOVE the Grand House for dim sum, they should have never ventured in to that realm.

  • Bloom says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 8:58 pm   

    I don’t like eating here on the weekdays, but once in a while, I do enjoy dim sum here…sadly, the last time I was there for dim sum, management gave most everyone else paper napkins, but when a big group of Caucasian/white group came in – they all got beautiful linen napkins.

    Haven’t been there for over 7 months – simply b/c of that.

    Dim sum is ok…so sad that it’s practically the only dim sum place here.

    What makes it worse is that you don’t the $ of the dish you’re getting and the paper that they keep track of the food is in Chinese.

  • Tim says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 7:28 am   

    Bloom, thanks for that report and it seems there are many who agree with you. You might be interested to know that the new Fung’s kitchen which opens just a little north of Grand House on Classen is now doing Dim Sum on the weekends as well. Some report it is better than Grand House and they even use the nice steam carts to keep everything fresh. We’ll probably have a review of it soon, but it might be worth checking out.

  • Customers Chan says:
    July 7th, 2010 at 12:10 pm   

    I kept going to Grand House for many years. Recently the food quality has gone downhill. May be there is no competition, they think that all customers will be back anyway if they want to eat dim sum.
    The server is careless, by putting the food to my table with soy sauce, he spilled it to my clothes. I assumed those employees are not paid good, so they do lousy job. We are not going bqck again.
    Yes, the prices are so high and yet the food is not good. We are thinking they will close their doors soon if there is another same type of restaurant coming up.

  • Jackie says:
    September 8th, 2010 at 7:49 am   

    My friend had her wedding reception there and it turned out awesome! The service was great, they had a buffet set up, and their servers even helped serve out the wedding cake and box up the leftovers. A great idea if you’re looking for a space for up to 150 people because you’ll get the venue and food for an affordable price!

    As far as food, my favorite is the lemon scallops.

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