"I could've been a contender" ... and other thoughts about TOP ISLAND dim sum
Finally found some time to try the dim sum at TOP ISLAND.
The entire experience was utterly disappointing, which to me just means that people will flock to any place that offers food that is easy on the 401K, but hard on the tastebuds. This can only be the explanation for the crowds at this place.
The baos were stuffed (with miniscule amounts) of tasteless filling -- that were also too dry. The baos themselves were also too dry, which leads one to wonder ... were these things steamed, baked or (heaven forbid) zapped by your favorite Panasonic Microwave?
The dumplings? Where to begin. We asked for a tray of veggie dumplings, but the dish had both chicken and beef dumplings. Huh? Confusion aside, I've had better chicken from McNuggets and the beef? Remember the Wendy's commercial with the little old lady from the 80s ... "where's the beef"?
One of my favorite dishes, chinese broccoli with hoison/oyster sauce nearly shattered my teeth. The stalks were so tough it reminded me of those childhood memories of gnawing on sugarcane stalks. And the leafy part? So sinewy, I used up probably a whole box of toothpicks to extricate all that fiber from my teeth.
Equally sad were the spareribs (oily and tough), noodles (gluey), congee (well, ok, it's only rice so how bad could it be, right? don't ask).
Even dessert was a letdown. As a fan of all things egg custard, I could not have walked away more disgusted from Top Island's version. It tasted like it was left under a heat lamp for so long that it was better suited for an archaeologist than a diner.
Which brings me back to that great line by Brando from "On the Water Front" ...
"You don't understand. I could've had class. I could've been a contender. I could've been somebody instead of a bum, which I am."
Yeah, indeed, a bum you are.
740 E. Valley Blvd., Alhambra,
"Could have been a contender"? Sounds like this place didn't have much of a chance to be a contender from the start. From the ads I've seen they are all about price, not emphasizing quality. Some people like to eat cheap food over places that focus on quality ingredients (which are often more expensive).
Fortunately, there are quite a few good Dim Sum places in the SGV. I like to try them all and stick with the ones I think are the best. I think most restaurants are pretty mediocre. The average pizza joint, hamburger stand, noodle shop etc. is usually just that, average.
I used to have to travel all over the country on business and I always counted my blessings to live in LA. I think LA has the best ethnic dining of any city. Granted, there are some other favorite eating towns (Austin, Seattle, New York, Chicago etc.), but LA has such a wide variety. Most cities would kill to have one good Dim Sum restaurant and I can think of a handful that are really amazing.
i cruised by this place with my family on memorial day... 45 minute wait. we turned around and went to elite on atlantic. 40 minute wait. double backed and went to the place next to the 99 ranch on atlantic and garvey. 20 minute wait. bit the bullet and it was pretty mediocre.
triumphal palace or bust. failing that, nbc or ocean star i... guess, even though i'm tired of the same old same old.
We had the unfortunate experience of going there for dinner.. not any better than your dim sum experience. Probably the only good thing was that the portions weren't all that big, but I could not understand why the place is so crowded. Not all that fresh-tasting and it didn't taste very good, either. This was a couple of months ago so I can't remember exactly what we had but I wouldn't go back there. There are much better places in the area.
Never been to New Capital for dinner, and only once for dim sum (the Rosemead location).
Not really impressed (or disappointed). Assembly-line approach to dim sum. Get it out, get it out quick, charge under $2.00 for each dish, shuffle the masses through the doors, so it's all about turnover and turnover ... it's ok if that's your deal, but I prefer a bit more refinement to my dim sum experience.