I strayed from my usual weekend omelet brunch and ventured down to Chinatown a few Sundays ago for dim sum at Jing Fong. I had never been to dim sum before, so I had no idea what to expect (except for some dumplings).
There was a huge crowd waiting, so we knew it was going to be good. They give you a number and then call them out in no particular order (we think there was some favoritism going on). When we finally got called, we rode the elevator up to the big banquet room, where there were hundreds of people seated at big round tables. Yes, hundreds - the place is huge!
The waiters bring around carts of food and you select what you'd like, pretty much just based upon how things look, since the waiters don't speak any English. We wound up getting a LOT of dumplings: pork, shrimp with peas, soup, etc. I guess that was the "safe" move - there were many options more unfamiliar that we passed on. We also indulged in some soft shell crab, shrimp in rice noodle and a broccoli rabe-type green vegetable, which I would HIGHLY recommend. It was like pulling teeth to get some water at first - the place is very hectic, but it was pretty reasonably-priced - for 5 people it wound up being around $15-$20/person for a ton of food.
shrimp in rice noodle
I would recommend Jing Fong if you're looking for a gateway dim sum experience. I imagine there are delicious, authentic dishes there that we didn't get because we didn't know what they were - so I would do some research before going back.