Just before going to a show at Bowery Ballroom last night, I was able to clear up my own confusion about Vanessa’s. The old Dumpling House on Eldridge (just renovated) now seems to be called Vanessa’s, just like the location on 14th Street, which I only recently became aware of. Maybe it was always called Vanessa’s and I just never noticed? About the food, this place is as great as it ever was. The boiled vegetable dumplings are not green like they are on 14th Street, but the taste is the same. More to the point, the sesame pancakes are amazing. Hot, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Forget about those round ones on 14th Street. The famous pork and chive dumplings are still an amazing bargain, even if they do give you one less potsticker for a buck now.
And yes, this place was heavily renovated. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time there trying to get a perfect photo of the space, but you can see pretty clearly that it’s quite a bit larger than before. The staff has more room behind the counter, there are several tables for dining in, and they even have a number system for ordering, so you don’t have to just stand there and pray that no one has forgotten about you. And it doesn’t seem like you’ll be stuck standing outside on line anymore, because you order inside, at the back. I’m waiting for the day when this place takes over the entire block.