U & Me just as legit during the day
Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
nown as one of the few spots to satisfy late night munchies after an evening of drinking and dancing, I was still admittedly shocked to find out that many people haven’t been to U & Me during more civilized hours.
I am the opposite – I’ve only been to U & Me near closing time once (and enjoyed pork stomach for the first time). While growing up though, it was (and still is) a favourite spot for dim sum, and my family also went through a phase where we frequented the restaurant for dinner too.
If you’ve only been to U & Me during the wee hours, you may be surprised to learn that it’s just as busy during the day, but instead of drunk 20-somethings, the place is filled with Chinese grandmas and grandpas (and we all know the best way to judge an ethnic restaurant is…), as well as families, and workers wandering over from downtown for lunch.
The restaurant is known for serving dim sum all day, and like more and more Chinese restaurants, they have foregone the dim sum carts in favour of order sheets. While you’re missing out on the nostalgia, many people prefer it because their food is steamed to order, and there’s a greater selection as well – U & Me boasts 100+ items on its dim sum menu, including congee and noodles.
The best time to come is after 11 AM, when more items on the menu are available, including my favourite, #81, XO sauce fried turnip cake. B. and I discovered this dish by accident, but it became a fast favourite – instead of the usual flat squares of pan-fried turnip cake, the savoury cake is cut into small triangles before being tossed in XO sauce, a strongly flavoured condiment made of dried scallop, shrimp and chillies, and virtually deep-fried. The result is little bites that are crispy on the outside and soft but slightly chewy in the middle, with a ton of umami flavour and a hint of spice. I’ve tried the version at Forbidden City and it’s just not the same – it’s gummier than the one at U & Me.
One of my all-time favourite dim sum anywhere is steamed Shanghai-style dumplings, aka soup dumplings or xiao long bao (XLB).
U & Me has served up different versions of this dish over the years, but I’d argue that its current one is the best, and quite possibly the best in the city – the dumplings are bursting with broth (be careful not to burn yourself!) while the pork inside is juicy and flavourful.
It’s admittedly been a while since I’ve been for dinner now, but from what I recall, the menu offers a mix of both “Westernized” and more traditional dishes, meant to be shared family-style with rice. Almost all of the dishes clock in under $20, and they also have a menu where you can pick two or three dishes for a set price.
While U & Me does have a reputation online for bad service, I’ve never had a big issue (though that may be because I’m Chinese and some of my family members are regulars), though sometimes it’s hard to get a person’s attention. It’s a Chinese restaurant – don’t be afraid to wave them down!
Either way, if you like U & Me at night, you’ll love it during the day – the food is delicious and the crowd less rowdy.
U & Me
201 – 233 Centre St S
Calgary AB T2G 2B7
Open 8 AM-4 AM daily. Free parking available after 5 PM in parking lot along 3 Ave SW. Reservations available after 11 AM. Debit/credit available only if spending $30 or more.