SGV Dim Sum for Novices
A very small group of us, two to four people, want to venture to the SGV for dim sum. Unfortunately, none of us speaks any Chinese. We've had dim sum a few times (primarily west side or Empress Pavilion) but want to try out the stuff folks on this board rave about. For our first journeys, we'd prefer to have cart service rather than menu-ordering only, though menus to help describe and select dishes wouldn't hurt. One of our party eats seafood but not meat. Reviews on another review site tell tales of non-Asians sometimes being ignored, so we hope to avoid that. With all of this in mind, I am tempted by Dommy's review of Ocean Star a week or so back, and I've also seen good feedback about New Capital Seafood. Looking for places with lots of shrimp and scallop options, and I love crispy -- potstickers and spring rolls. Any specific suggestions? Thanks.
Another location for traditional cart style dim sum is NBC Seafood in Monterey Park. Good selection, huge space. If you go on the weekend get there around 11 or you will need to wait.
I've taken my non-Asian friends and seen plenty of non-Asians there.
New Capital Seafood on Garvey has by far the best variety of any dim sum place I have seen. However, I'm not sure how friendly they are to non-Chinese speaking crowd. It's not really about the service there. Also, it's really cheap at under $2 for every item, and there are a ton of carts. But, go early or prepare to wait.
Ocean Star may have better service.
NBC also is good for non-Chinese speaking crowd, but from my recollection, quality has gone down, and it's not the same as it was years ago.
I'd recommend 888 or NBC seafood for the beginners.
It may be difficult to avoid meat -- other than the obvious ones (like gai lan, har gau, desserts) the noble pig works his way into most things. If you're doing cart service you are a bit at the mercy of their descriptions unless you know the names in Cantonese.
I don't know that I would say they ignore non-Asians; Chinese restaurants have a different rhythm of service. If you want something it is up to you to call over a server -- you will find that people wave and gesture in what seems like a rude or imperious manner in Chinese restaurants... it's totally normal. Likewise, when you want to pay, just hold up your card with the chops on it and one of the men will come over to you.