For the past three years, the Yan family has run Beijing Dumpling, an authentic Chinese dumpling shop in Binghamton. But as they neared the end of their lease, they spotted a space available near Rochester, and it was so beautiful they couldn’t pass it up.
The family recently opened Yanhuang Gourmet next to Eagle Vale Golf Club; the space at 4344 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road in Perinton was previously home to Thai Mii Up.
The restaurant has two inviting dining rooms separated by a spacious bar. A 16-seat outdoor deck provides an idyllic vantage point for dining outdoors and watching the golfers pass by in their carts.
The Yan family is originally from Beijing, China. Zhengxuan Yan, the mother, along with her son, Yunzhi, emigrated to Seattle in 2014. Yingquan Yan, the father, along with his son Lizhi Yan, arrived two years later. Lizhi is now 18, and goes by the name David.
After Seattle, they landed in Rochester before moving to Binghamton. Yunzhi Yan, the older son, currently owns and runs Seasons’ Noodle in the Columbus Building on Chestnut Street downtown.
David notes that most Chinese restaurants in America seem to share a common menu. Instead, the family is foregoing big sellers like General Tso’s chicken and sesame chicken to focus on dishes that are authentic to Beijing.
That’s why they chose to use “Yanhuang” in the restaurant’s name. It refers to Yan and Huang, two legendary leaders from ancient times; they are regarded as the fathers of Chinese people. Not only does Yanhuang contain their surname, it also conveys that their approach is true to the original, David Yan said.
It signature dish is scratch-made handmade dumplings, which had a large following in Binghamton. (Once they are settled in the new restaurant, they plan to make frozen dumplings to sell to their loyal customers in Binghamton.)
Zhengxuan Yan learned to make dumplings as a young girl in China. Together with Liu Yang, each woman can make 1,500 dumplings a day, including making the dumpling wrappers from scratch.
Six fillings are available; some of the more popular are vegetable; pork and chives; and pork and Napa cabbage. They may be ordered steamed, fried and in soup. The steamed and fried dumplings are served with two sauces, one savory and one mildly spicy.
The menu also offers appetizers, noodle dishes and main courses. If you wish to explore the cuisine beyond dumplings, a great place to start is a noodle dish.
Beijing zhajiang noodles ($12.99) is a dish that is ubiquitous in Beijing. Homemade noodles, similar in texture and thickness to lo mein, are coated with zhajiang, a thick, fragrant, salty and lightly sweet sauce, and served with ground pork and slivers of fresh cucumbers. Shrimp and vegetable fried noodles ($13.99) have similar noodles and are served with shrimp and tender-crisp leaves of baby bok choy. Both noodle dishes are garnished with tart pickled vegetables that refresh the palate.
The restaurant offers a vegetarian and vegan menu. It offers gluten-free items as well; discuss options with your server.
The family has applied for its liquor license and will begin serving alcohol as soon as soon as the license is secured.
Yanhuang Gourmet offers dine-in and takeout service. Delivery is available for an $8 fee. Dine-in reservations may be made by calling (585) 598-3114. David Yan noted that like other restaurants in Rochester, they have struggled to find staffing. Until that situation is resolved, diners should be prepared for a wait at popular times.
The restaurant is open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Mondays. The building has plenty of free parking.
Tracy Schuhmacher is food and drink reporter as well as storytelling coach for the USA Today Network’s Storytellers Project. Email her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter or Instagram as @RahChaChow. Thanks to our subscribers for supporting local journalism.