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Westside Dim Sum -- I Know, I Know

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I realize that a lot of people on this board won't even consider eating dim sum in Chinatown -- it has to be the fantastic chow from the SGV. We had a group going before we realized that this weekend commences Chinese New Years, and we aren't ready to make the trek to arrive by 10 a.m. or wait upwards of an hour.

The only cart dim sum I know of on the westside is VIP Seafood on the NW corner of Wilshire and Barrington, since the Royal Star (?) closed on Wilshire around 30th a few years ago. Has anyone been to VIP dim sum? Is it at least fun and tasty? Are there any other dim sum places on the westside? I know, I know that I should get in the car and head towards Rosemead and it will be worth it... I know it won't be authentic. But is it any good at all?

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  1. I actually quite like it. I'm no expert on dim sum and I absolutely hate driving so it's the place I go to most often for dim sum. I can't vouch for it's authenticity but about 95% of the patrons appear to be Chinese and I go frequently with Chinese friends so it must be alright. The food is fresh and tasty with lots of options. The service is friendly too. I certainly like it better than Empress Pavilion downtown. The fact that it's reasonably close and I don't have to wait in line for hours on an empty stomach makes for a much more pleasant experience.

    1. I like VIP, more than I did Royal Star (I found RS to be greasier.) You'll get mixed reviews on the place here, but I like it, although I haven't been there in about eight months. You are correct that it's the only place that serves dim sum in the carts on the Westside, so you don't really have much of a choice besides driving to Chinatown or SGV!

      But remember that it will be just as crowded and crazy there (maybe even more so) as Empress Pavillion or any other dim sum place will be on Sunday. If you do go, I'd suggest parking on some side street in Brentwood (Goshen or Kiowa or something) and walking. The valet is a total nightmare.

      1. VIP Harbor Seafood was great when they opened back in 1995, particularly since they were the sister restaurant to Harbor Seafood in San Gabriel (and surprisingly better than the SGV branch). However ever since the place was sold 2 or 3 years ago (I think the current owners might be Thai instead of Chinese) it has significantly gone downhill. However, as the only dim sum restaurant on the Westside, beggars can't be choosers, and it is authentic fare.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chandavkl

          Used to be frequent patron number of years ago and loved it. Went back 2 weeks ago and noticed a big change since last visit, so ownership change makes sense. It was bad and will probably not go back again.

        2. As far as I know, they're the only lonely outpost on the Westside... As Chandvkl mentioned, they were great when they opened way back when (in Westside restaurant years) but it gets really crowded, probably because the other patrons feel the same as you do. Having recently eaten a few times at Asakuma next door, we have been the incidental victims of disgruntled customers openly complaining to the nearest bystander about how terrible their experience was - and I mean openly hostile. As for Chinese food on the Westside, we consider Hop Woo (on Olympic just west of Sepulveda) to be consistantly good and the closest thing to SGV food. It's mostly Cantonese with some decent BBQ items. No dim sum but the food is good and the portions are generous.

          1. Are you sure Royal Star is closed? I drive by there regularly and I'm pretty sure I would have noticed if something new had moved in.

            Royal Star used to have dim sum on carts for lunch on weekdays. Not sure about weekends.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Bjartmarr

              Royal Star has been dead dead dead for a few years now (a pity, too).

              Back in the day they served dim sum 7 days a week.

              1. re: Bjartmarr

                It is now the very un-Chinese Punch Grill.

                1. re: New Trial

                  I think it's actually set to re-open in the next couple of weeks as South.
                  http://la.eater.com/archives/2008/02/...

                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    I wonder if this is part of a mini-trend back to Sourthern comfort food. The mediocre French 75 in Century City recently morphed into (the only slightly better) Savannah.

                    1. re: New Trial

                      Interesting. About the last thing the neighborhood needed was another high-end sports bar, but I'll be excited if the deep fried pickles are any good since the best I've found around there are at Hooters.

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        I have not tried them but doesn't The Counter have fried pickles on its menu, too?

                        1. re: New Trial

                          They do, I just don't like them as much as the ones at Hooters.

                          1. re: mollyomormon

                            I can see the ad campaign now: "In a pickle? Go to Hooters!"

                            1. re: New Trial

                              So, I just got an email from Urban Daddy saying that South opens next week. If I'm in a pickle next week, I think that's where I'll be going. I'll let you know how the pickles stack up.

              2. so do the carts only come out on Sunday at lunchtime? I just moved to Brentwood and noticed this place... what else can you all tell me about it? I have been craving dumplings NONSTOP!

                4 Replies
                1. re: queen jord

                  As I recollect, the carts circulate during the week as well. Definitely on Saturdays, too.

                    1. re: queen jord

                      dim sum is traditionally only served during the brunch/lunch hours.

                      1. re: queen jord

                        Yes. They sometimes will offer leftovers with the evening menu as an appetizer sampler but not a la cart(e).

                  1. The few times I've been to VIP most of the patrons were Brentwood Caucasians. I was the only Asian there. I don't think it's terrible but I don't like it enough to try it- if I've got a dim sum craving I feel like I might as well get in the car and drive. (Then again, I don't live within walking distance of VIP anymore!) It's not authentic and has bowed to it's non-Asian patrons by putting a lot of chicken substituted items on the menu (in place of things that would normally have pork). Again, not terrible but quite Americanized. If that doesn't bother you, it's okay.