Let's face it--some towns in the Greater Boston area have no dining scene whatsoever (especially if you discount the chains), or perhaps one that is very, very limited; indeed, such communities as Dover, Carlisle, Avon, Topsfield, and Weston have very few options for restaurants, and when you consider that the last of these towns is a scant five miles from the Boston line, it can be a bit mind-boggling. But Weston now has a restaurant called Dumpling Daughter that is open for both lunch and dinner, and it is certainly a good one, especially for those diners who love authentic Chinese fare along with other Asian cuisine.
Dumpling Daughter is very easy to miss, as it sits in a little shopping center behind the village of Weston Center, which is easy in of itself to miss, since it is located on a spur road (the old Boston Post Road) off a section of Route 20 that is basically a bypass. The exterior of the restaurant has your typical strip-mall look to it, but the interior is actually quite pleasant and comfortable, with plants and bookcases along the windows and walls, a scattering of tables with colorful chairs, not-overly-bright track lighting and hanging lights, and a sleek, modern counter where customers place their orders. Because this is not a true full-service restaurant, Dumpling Daughter does a lot of takeout business, though on any given night, many of the tables inside will be taken.
The owner of Dumpling Daughter (Nadia Liu Spellman) is the daughter of Edward Nan Liu and Sally Ling, and her mother's name may ring a bell, as the family opened a restaurant on the Boston waterfront called Sally Ling's in the mid-1980s which became a very popular spot. Some of the family recipes are brought back by way of Dumpling Daughter, including a cucumber salad with sesame peppercorn oil, wonton soup with scallions in chicken broth, crispy vegetable spring rolls with carrot, black mushroom, and cabbage, and a spaghetti plate with Beijing meat sauce. And you can probably guess by its name that dumplings are big here, and you would certainly be correct, with excellent versions that include pan-seared pork and Napa cabbage, petit chicken dumplings with Sichuan sauce, shrimp dumplings (which are on special), organic chicken with cabbage, mixed veggies, and steamed pork and chive (this writer's favorite). Buns are also featured on the menu, with the tender and savory steamed traditional beef with minced onion buns being a terrific option, along with the Taiwanese-style pork belly buns.Other items on the menu at Dumpling Daughter include rice bowls, wraps, and noodle dishes, with the last of these categories including a wonderful three-day ramen with pork belly, fresh noodles, a soft egg, and assorted veggies in a fatty pork broth. Drinks include a variety of bubble tea options and a flowering green tea, though alcohol is not offered at this point in time (you can bring your own, however, and there is no corkage fee). Many items at Dumpling Daughter cost around or under $10, with the rice bowls being a bit more expensive (in the $15-30 range).
As beautiful a town as Weston is, it doesn't really seem like a place to go to if you're in the mood to dine out. But Dumpling Daughter is doing its best to change that, with impressive dishes that, as mentioned earlier, often come from old family recipes. If you like dumplings, ramen, and other Asian dishes and would rather go to a dining spot in a quiet setting rather than fight the crowds in Boston, Cambridge, or other larger communities, Dumpling Daughter should probably be on your short list.
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