The Parlor Dim Sum in Lawrenceville Promises to Breathe New Life Into The Ki Ramen Space

The concept has been in the works since December 2020, when a water main break destroyed the three-level Ki Ramen space.
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Chef Roger Li wants to invite you to a family meal at The Parlor Dim Sum

After a long-delayed furniture shipment arrives this month, the restaurant will open in the former Ki Ramen space at 4401 Butler St. in Lawrenceville. The menu will feature dim sum, Cantonese barbecue and Hong Kong specialties — the kind of food Li grew up eating.

“My parents and grandparents are all from Hong Kong,” he says. “These are the dishes we eat at home and every time we go out to a Cantonese restaurant. This program is pretty close to what you can get in Hong Kong.”

The Parlor Dim Sum will be one of the few Cantonese restaurants in Pittsburgh, so Li is excited to share his culinary heritage with folks who may be unfamiliar with the cuisine. 

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Guests will be able to order a whole or half Cantonese roast duck that is cured and dry-aged in-house. The bird is chopped into bone-in pieces and served with the drippings over rice. Li says he will source 40 to 80 Maple Leaf-brand ducks a day from Connecticut and Long Island, New York.

Other offerings include a variety of dim sum, small appetizers such as steamed or pan-fried dumplings, egg tarts, crispy pork belly, chicken feet and spare ribs served in stainless steel baskets. Shareable dishes — which will be set upon Lazy Susans at each table — will include rice and noodle bowls as well as soups. 

There will be an intensive Chinese tea service, and bar consultant Cecil Usher of Mindful Hospitality Group is complementing the cuisine with a cocktail menu centered around Baijiu, a Chinese liquor made from whole grain.

In Hong Kong, dim sum is typically enjoyed for brunch, but The Parlor Dim Sum will tentatively operate as a dinner-only establishment Tuesday through Saturday. As the staff gets more comfortable, patrons will be able to visit for lunch and weekend brunch. 

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The concept has been in the works since December 2020, when a water main break destroyed the three-level Ki Ramen space, a noodle and bao shop Li opened in 2017. As he worked to renovate the flooded building and keep yet another eatery, Ki Pollo, afloat, he decided to combine the two menus into one entity called Nanban. The fast-casual, Asian soul food spot opened last summer and is located at 4407 Butler St.  

Like Ki Ramen, The Parlor Dim Sum’s kitchen will be located on the second floor. There will be seating for 83 diners in the main dining room, a rear bar area with a garage door that opens onto 44th Street and sidewalk tables. 

Li also runs Lawrenceville’s Umami and The Allegheny Wine Mixer, a bar he recently acquired with his longtime business partner Domenic Branduzzi. 

Many people who follow The Parlor Dim Sum on social media believe the eatery is already open since Li regularly posts pictures of the family-style feasts he’s prepared. Those photos are of the food he’s been whipping up at home in preparation for his latest venture. 

Categories: PGHeats