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Best Dim Sum

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lisamp29 May 11, 2007 06:11 PM

I have only been to Vip Harbor Seafood on Wilshire. How about others

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  1. hch_nguyen RE: lisamp29 May 11, 2007 06:21 PM

    almost any place in SGV

    888
    NBC
    Kitchen
    New Capital
    Sea Harbour
    Elite

    etc....

    1. b
      Barbara Ladden RE: lisamp29 May 11, 2007 10:47 PM

      CBS Seafood, 700 N. Spring St., L. A., Chinatown

      Excellent selection, fresh and delicious, always.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Barbara Ladden
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        megalope RE: Barbara Ladden May 11, 2007 11:32 PM

        Would you say that CBS Seafood is better than Empress Pavilion? I'm new to dim sum; I've only had it once, at Empress. Some things were really great while others fell a little flat.

        1. re: megalope
          SauceSupreme RE: megalope May 12, 2007 09:18 AM

          Empress is really bad, in my opinion. The SGV is worth the drive from the westside.

          1. re: megalope
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            tasuki697 RE: megalope May 22, 2007 04:48 PM

            I agree with SauceSupreme completely; Empress Pavilion is not one of the better dim sum joints. CBS is much, much better than EP and is arguably the best dim sum in Chinatown.

            1. re: megalope
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              Barbara Ladden RE: megalope May 23, 2007 10:44 PM

              I had been to Empress Pavilion many times and finally stopped because of huge crowds and long waits, and the dim sum wasn't worth it. Then we discovered CBS where the longest wait, if any, is less than 10min. The dim sum is always fresh and hot. If it isn't hot, the waitress will take it to the kitchen. They are very accommodating. Good food, good prices. Not long ago we went back to Empress Pavilion and Ocean Seafood 1 time each to see how they compare to CBS and each was a bad experience. Poor service and food, and expensive. CBS wins every time.

          2. hch_nguyen RE: lisamp29 May 12, 2007 07:37 AM

            If you want to stay in L.A. proper then CBS and Empress are only passable, with Empress maybe slightly better than CBS, although unbearably crowded.

            No place in L.A. can compare to any of the places just east of L.A. in San Gabriel Valley as mentioned

            6 Replies
            1. re: hch_nguyen
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              monkey RE: hch_nguyen May 12, 2007 09:27 AM

              Very true SGV beats any other place. We ate last Sunday at Elite (former New Concept) and it was great all was tasty. We actually like this one better than Sea Harbour now which was our fave for the past two years or so. Sea Harbour on Rosemead seems to have slipped lately....And the service has gotten a lot worse...

              1. re: monkey
                kelvlam RE: monkey May 12, 2007 10:17 AM

                Seem like Elite in SGV got mentioned a few time... where is it located at? I've been to all mentioned (888 / NBC / Kitchen / New Capital /Sea Harbour) but Elite :-)

                1. re: kelvlam
                  hch_nguyen RE: kelvlam May 12, 2007 10:38 AM

                  Elite Restaurant
                  700 S. Atlantic Blvd.
                  Monterey Park
                  626-282-9998

                  near NBC...

                2. re: monkey
                  j
                  jackkirby RE: monkey May 12, 2007 03:06 PM

                  Yeah, Elite's a fantastic place. Apparently, the guy cooking there is the original chef of Triumphal Palace. You'll spot alot of similar dishes like his sauteed mushrooms, vegetarian duck meat plate and the excellent egg white fried rice with shredded dried scallops.

                  1. re: jackkirby
                    ipsedixit RE: jackkirby May 12, 2007 09:23 PM

                    He (Chef Chan?) does not do the dim sum dishes, however. At least not when he was at Triumphal Palace.

                3. re: hch_nguyen
                  eatdrinknbmerry RE: hch_nguyen Jun 1, 2007 01:15 AM

                  Seriously, drive another 2-3 miles to SGV. The closest places are just off Atlantic.... New Concept, NBC and Ocean Star (crowded). The wait at Empress Pavilion can be worse than a regular day at the DMV.

                4. l
                  lapchern RE: lisamp29 May 12, 2007 09:28 PM

                  definitely NOT 888... terrible service and dont bother going in after 1pm where they clean up quite early.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lapchern
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                    nancyc4fun RE: lapchern May 23, 2007 01:35 PM

                    Agreed! We were not impressed by 888 or empress on last visit. Ugh!

                  2. b
                    bubbles4me RE: lisamp29 May 12, 2007 09:46 PM

                    I love Ocean Star but you have to show up before 10:00 am or you will have one hell of a wait.

                    1. t
                      tasuki697 RE: lisamp29 May 22, 2007 04:51 PM

                      I just had dim sum at Top Island seafood on Valley BLVD in Alhambra between Garfield and New. I didn't get to sample a lot of the dim sum dishes (only had the Su Mai, Har Gow, Chicken Feet, and the Bean Curd Skin) but what I got to eat was pretty good.

                      1. c
                        caphill2320 RE: lisamp29 May 23, 2007 06:57 AM

                        Do any (or most) of these places serve dim sum at lunch time during the week? We are going to be in town for the holiday weekend but our only free day might be Monday before heading to the airport. Is it possible to stock up on dim sum, then head down to Long Beach?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: caphill2320
                          hch_nguyen RE: caphill2320 May 23, 2007 07:03 AM

                          I believe in Monterey Park etc... they all do. I would be surprised if they didn't. Call the places you're interested in and make sure. I'm pretty sure they do...

                          1. re: caphill2320
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                            bulavinaka RE: caphill2320 May 23, 2007 08:29 AM

                            Not that we keep track of this, but we've always assumed that the popular restaurants known for serving dim sum do this seven days a week... We've yet to have been shut out and during the week is so much easier to do... NBC, Ocean Star, Mission 261...

                            1. re: caphill2320
                              Chandavkl RE: caphill2320 May 23, 2007 12:54 PM

                              Don't know of any place in either the Los Angeles or Bay Area that doesn't do dim sum during the week if they do it on weekends. Weekend only dimsum is usually limited to cities where the Chinese population is dispersed and Chinese patrons are drawn to the restaurant on weekends from outside the restaurant's immediate radius, or Chinese patrons are otherwise not likely to be in the area on weekdays.

                            2. n
                              nosh RE: lisamp29 May 23, 2007 01:07 PM

                              Let me ask then -- for us Anglos from the west side that have Memorial Day Monday May 28 off, is that going to be a good day to go trekking for dim sum in the SGV?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: nosh
                                PeterL RE: nosh May 23, 2007 01:51 PM

                                Since the Chinese and their families all get Memorial day off too, I'd think that it would be similar to a saturday or a sunday. Get there by 11:00 and you should be OK.

                                1. re: nosh
                                  smak34 RE: nosh May 24, 2007 01:35 AM

                                  If youre patient and you dont mind crowds, by all means, go for it. Holiday wait times can vary, but usually take anywhere from 30-50 minutes. However, the bigger your party, the faster you get a table. Good Luck!

                                2. c
                                  caphill2320 RE: lisamp29 May 23, 2007 01:26 PM

                                  Thanks! However, I've been told by a friend that SGV is not exactly on the way to Long Beach from Santa Monica. Is there somewhere close in or on the way that is really good? And by really good, I mean that I want to be able to whine to friends at home that our dim sum can't even compare to what we had in LA.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: caphill2320
                                    PeterL RE: caphill2320 May 23, 2007 01:50 PM

                                    The answer to your question is no.

                                    1. re: caphill2320
                                      hch_nguyen RE: caphill2320 May 23, 2007 02:03 PM

                                      Sea Empress in Gardena is on the way, and I believe I've heard that their dim sum is quite good. I've been meaning to try them myself.

                                      1. re: hch_nguyen
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                                        zruilong RE: hch_nguyen Jun 1, 2007 04:02 PM

                                        Sea Empress is good. Better than any of the westside/LA dimsum places by far. Comparable to Chinatown for most dishes but not as good as SGV.

                                        It is on the way to Long Beach from Santa Monica, 10 East to 405 South. But, it may not leave you whining to your friends, you need SGV for that.

                                        1. re: hch_nguyen
                                          notmartha RE: hch_nguyen Jun 7, 2007 07:43 PM

                                          I went several times over the last couple of years. Pretty good for cart type style, and better than the Empress Pavillion in downtown, but can't compare with the top couple of order off the menu dim sum places in SGV.

                                        2. re: caphill2320
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                                          bulavinaka RE: caphill2320 May 23, 2007 03:20 PM

                                          If you want to do whining with credibility then make the trip to San Gabriel Valley (SGV). Without a doubt, it's the epicenter of great Chinese foods of all sorts - and a huge epicenter at that... You can take the 10 freeway from wherever you're staying in Santa Monica out to SGV which will probably take you about 30 to 40 minutes if traffic is decent. After you're through, you can jump on 10 heading in the opposite direction , catch the 710 (this is the Long Beach Freeway) south, and you'll be in Long Beach in about 25 minutes - again, if the traffic is decent. Alot of the eateries in SGV are relatively close to the 10, so if you go early for dim sum, say by 10AM, you could realistically be in Long Beach by noon. I'm not sure on the hours of most, but I believe alot open at 10AM but some open pretty early - you could call ahead, or maybe some other posters know the hours. The caviat about going early is the selection may not be as good as noon time, when things are in full swing...

                                          1. re: bulavinaka
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                                            zruilong RE: bulavinaka Jun 1, 2007 03:59 PM

                                            Often make the trek from Gardena to SGV on the weekends. I have never experienced a traffic problem with the 10W-710S route on the weekend. If your heading to the LB airport, get on the 405 S from the 710 S and its a few more exits.

                                            I personally would try Elite, but if you want a cart experience, then you need to choose one of the other ones.

                                          2. re: caphill2320
                                            raytamsgv RE: caphill2320 May 24, 2007 09:30 AM

                                            There are a number of restaurants very close to the 10 freeway in Monterey Park (south of the 10 freeway on Atlantic Blvd.):

                                            Empress Pavilion
                                            Ocean Star
                                            Capital Seafood
                                            NBC
                                            Elite

                                            It takes about 30-40 minutes to get to Long Beach from there, depending on traffic conditions.

                                          3. j
                                            js76wisco RE: lisamp29 May 24, 2007 04:52 PM

                                            I'm not sold on Elite. I don't think there offerings are as good as Triumphal Palace or Mission261. Mission261 is a little further East off the 10 but in a very quaint little area in San Gabriel. If you are thinking of going towards Monterrey Park I suggest going the opposite direction (North on Atlantic Ave) to Triumphal Palace. I think the stand bys are superior to Elite (har gow, shu mai, pork buns, ribs in black bean sauce, shmrip rice noodles) and their other dishes off the dim sum menu are top notch (beef chow fun, chinese sausage sticky rice). All 3 of the places mentioned above are menu dim sum (no carts).

                                            If you like the experience of the carts I would opt for 888 or New Capital. My preference is ordering off the menu and getting hot fresh dishes.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: js76wisco
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                                              caphill2320 RE: js76wisco May 29, 2007 09:52 AM

                                              Thank you for all the advice! We ended up going to Elite, which was excellent, although I have to say the thing I love about the carts is the ability to be far more adventerous. THe food was great, especially the huge shu mai and the roast duck. I will definitely plan another trip there as soon as I am back out in LA. Also, it only took about 20 minutes to get to the Long Beach airport from the restaurant!

                                              1. re: caphill2320
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                                                slobound RE: caphill2320 May 29, 2007 11:09 AM

                                                I've never been to Elite either and I frequent the dim sum restaurants pretty often. How does Elite compare to NBC/Empress/Ocean Star?

                                                1. re: slobound
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                                                  Chelmoon RE: slobound May 29, 2007 01:26 PM

                                                  Hard to compare directly since Elite is part of the new wave of places like Sea Harbour and Triumphal Palace which serve more delicate and innovative dim sum (e.g., durian puffs) than your traditional stuff from Ocean Star or NBC.

                                            2. m
                                              mintchip62 RE: lisamp29 May 29, 2007 11:59 AM

                                              Triumphal Palace in Alhambra is pretty good. They're very English speaking friendly as well.

                                              1. n
                                                nosh RE: lisamp29 May 31, 2007 10:03 PM

                                                I can see how experienced dim sum lovers would prefer to order off of a menu. They have their favorites and they can spot the unusual offerings. But if I am accompanying folks who are near novices, you gotta love the carts. That is what made dim sum so unique and exciting in the first place. Sure you missed stuff and got persuaded to take some dishes that weren't your favorites, but that is part of the experience. There are dishes I love and never get enough of -- crispy crispy fried potstickers -- that never seem to come around enough, but that is part of the gamble. I also want to order and eat at my own pace, and not be inundated with the food all at once. Carts forever!!!

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: nosh
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                                                  Wonginator RE: nosh Jun 1, 2007 09:59 AM

                                                  Actually, I find the pacing to be better when ordering from the menu. The food tends to come at a smooth pace, usually one item every 2 to 4 minutes, rarely getting 2 items at the same time.

                                                  With carts, I've found myself getting 5 or 6 items at once, because I don't know if the cart will be back in the next 10 minutes or not. When you have 1 or 2 carts servicing the entire dining hall, other people will grab the popular items, and you'll end up waiting longer to get what you want.

                                                  I went to Elite for the first time last weekend, and it was very good, despite the 45+ minute wait to get a table (it had been 2 years since I went there when it was still New Concept). I'd rank it better than Ocean Star, NBC, and Capital Seafood. I'd rank Elite pretty close to the best, just behind Sea Harbour and Triumphal Palace.

                                                  One standout dish at Elite that I'd never seen or tried before was called "snow bun w/almond flavor". Also outstanding was the "shark fin soup dumpling", which I also had at Triumphal Palace before.

                                                  1. re: Wonginator
                                                    Chandavkl RE: Wonginator Jun 1, 2007 10:13 AM

                                                    Yes, the shark fin soup dumpling is great and the broth is really something. I'd actually put Elite above Triumphal Palace. However, don't try Elite's Oatmeal bun--sounds interesting, but it's just dark sesame paste inside of a coarse bun.

                                                    1. re: Chandavkl
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                                                      Wonginator RE: Chandavkl Jun 1, 2007 10:37 AM

                                                      One item at Elite that was not very good was a varied version of the flat rice noodles that you usually get wrapped around either beef, BBQ pork, or shrimp, with the sweet soy sauce poured on it.

                                                      This version was called "rice noodles with crispy shrimp", which was deceiving, as I was expecting deep fried battered shrimp to be wrapped in the noodles. Instead, it was you tiao (yau ja gwai for the Cantonese-speaking crowd, the fried bread sticks that goes with jook for the rest of us) mixed with shrimp, and then wrapped around with the rice noodles.

                                                      I love eating that stuff with a big bowl of jook, but wrapped inside the rice noodles, not so good. First time I'd ever seen it done, though.

                                                      1. re: Wonginator
                                                        notmartha RE: Wonginator Jun 1, 2007 01:46 PM

                                                        Actually just the you tiao (no shrimp) wrapped in rice noodles is very typical and there's the mention of it in wiki. I too find it too filling/greasy/heavy.

                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youtiao

                                                        1. re: notmartha
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                                                          Wonginator RE: notmartha Jun 1, 2007 03:15 PM

                                                          That's interesting, because I think I've visited almost every single dim sum house in LA and OC, and I've never seen you tiao wrapped in rice noodles on any of the dim sum carts before. Shrimp, BBQ pork, and beef are the usual fillings inside the rice noodles that I've encountered.

                                                          Perhaps it is not a common dish for dim sum, but is commonly ordered off the menu.

                                                          1. re: Wonginator
                                                            Chandavkl RE: Wonginator Jun 1, 2007 03:29 PM

                                                            I'm guessing it first showed up on the carts at Ocean Star maybe 3 or 4 years ago and spread to a lot of the other places in Los Angeles since then. They do a pretty good version of it at Golden Dragon (!!!) in Chinatown. Clearly not as common as the meat filled rice rolls, and even Ocean Star doesn't have it all the time, but it is out there.

                                                            1. re: Chandavkl
                                                              raytamsgv RE: Chandavkl Jun 1, 2007 03:40 PM

                                                              I recall eating that dish even earlier than that, but I can't verify it. I just know I've eaten that for a long time. But as you noted, it's not that common, even in restaurants where I've had it before.

                                                            2. re: Wonginator
                                                              notmartha RE: Wonginator Jun 7, 2007 07:46 PM

                                                              Hum, I had it a few years ago at Hong Kong Palace in Rowland Heights. The server just carried platters of it around the rooms. It's not in the carts.

                                                              I also had it in Hong Kong in my youth many many years ago, but I don't think it's at a dim sum restaurant. It's more like cheapo places where you get congee and rice noodles for breakfast.

                                                  2. kelvlam RE: lisamp29 Sep 25, 2007 10:15 AM

                                                    Is Elite Restaurant(名流山莊) still considered to be one of the best by fellow chowhounder? :-)

                                                    I'm thinking which one I should try this Saturday with my fellow brothers and sisters, before we go to Pomona's Red Cross donation center.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: kelvlam
                                                      hch_nguyen RE: kelvlam Sep 25, 2007 06:58 PM

                                                      Sea Harbour in Rosemead seems to be the frontrunner these days....For whatever it may be worth to you, I didn't care for it myself, but I think I am literally alone on these boards in that regard....

                                                      1. re: hch_nguyen
                                                        kelvlam RE: hch_nguyen Sep 26, 2007 03:58 PM

                                                        Sea Harbour... you have to order your dim sum on a piece of paper. They don't have those little cart pushing the yummy food around :-(

                                                        Sea Harbour used to have a branch in Rowland Height, but it has changed owner and I think it's now known as Happy Harbour
                                                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/hlVnGNrHA5o4c...

                                                        1. re: hch_nguyen
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                                                          tuttifrutti RE: hch_nguyen Sep 26, 2007 05:14 PM

                                                          I agree about sea harbour.

                                                          it costs a little more, and there are no carts, but the dim sum you order comes out so fresh and hot and it's absolutely worth waiting and paying for.

                                                          it's the only place my group of friends will go these days (unless the drive on the 10 is suicidal...)

                                                          1. re: hch_nguyen
                                                            raytamsgv RE: hch_nguyen Sep 27, 2007 01:11 PM

                                                            That's OK. We forgive you for your blasphemy. Just kidding. Actually, I agree that Sea Harbour is not for everyone. While I personally love it, I would usually prefer to go to other dim sum places, because Sea Harbour don't always make the dim sum dishes that I want to eat. If I want avant garde fare, it's a great place. If I want more traditional dishes, other places may be better.

                                                            1. re: raytamsgv
                                                              kelvlam RE: raytamsgv Sep 28, 2007 03:23 PM

                                                              Ditto. I completely agree with both tuttifrutti and raytamsgv in re: Sea Harbour!!!

                                                          2. re: kelvlam
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                                                            exilekiss RE: kelvlam Sep 27, 2007 07:53 AM

                                                            Hey Kelvlam,

                                                            IMHO, Sea Harbor (Rosemead, near 10 Freeway) is hands-down the best Dim Sum in LA! (and this from someone who's had Dim Sum fresh in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and grew up on the "OG" places like the old Chinatown restaurants (most are gone now), and NBC and Ocean Star when they were first opening up).

                                                            Sea Harbor on Rosemead makes all their Dim Sum fresh-to-order, and the Quality of their ingredients really sets them apart.

                                                            1. re: kelvlam
                                                              liu RE: kelvlam Sep 27, 2007 09:08 AM

                                                              Elite is, for us, one of the best dim sum places at this moment. It does not offer the usual cart service, but there are many trays being passed around. If you prefer cart service, I would recommend Capital Seafood in the corner of the 99 Ranch shopping center at Garvey and Atlantic. While Capital might not have the best dim sum, the activity level is high and the entire experience is fun!

                                                              I have not been to Sea Harbour (or Happy Harbour) in Rosemead recently enough to comment. When we went some while back we were not impressed; perhaps we need to return to give it another try.

                                                            2. j
                                                              Just Cid RE: lisamp29 Sep 27, 2007 10:28 AM

                                                              There's a new place in OC called California Asian Bistro. Its on Harbor just north of Orangethorpe, in the site where Spoons used to be.

                                                              They're a different kind of asian restaurant, featuring some Chinese dishes ("Hong Kong Fusion Lunch"), some Korean dishes, Japanese food and a Sushi Bar.

                                                              Until 3pm each day, they also have Dim Sum. No carts, order off a paper menu.

                                                              I'm no great authority on dim sum, but what I had, I liked.

                                                              On the weekend (Saturday night), the clientele was largely asian, so I would
                                                              guess its pretty good?

                                                              I liked it, anyway.

                                                              15 Replies
                                                              1. re: Just Cid
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                                                                batears RE: Just Cid Oct 13, 2007 09:42 AM

                                                                What's the general consensus on which is the best CART style dim sum in SGV? Thanks!

                                                                1. re: batears
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                                                                  Wonginator RE: batears Oct 15, 2007 09:37 AM

                                                                  Ocean Star
                                                                  NBC Seafood
                                                                  888 Seafood
                                                                  Capital Seafood

                                                                  I've had only mediocre experiences at Capital Seafood, but others have raved about it, so I've decided to include it since it might just be my experiences that had been average.

                                                                  1. re: Wonginator
                                                                    raytamsgv RE: Wonginator Oct 15, 2007 01:04 PM

                                                                    I'd agree with Wonginator: Capital Seafood is merely OK, IMHO. The others are better. On the other hand, Capital Seafood has the most convenient dim sum takeout I've ever seen (located a few storefronts down---close to Kee Wah bakery). You walk in, read off the large menu on the wall, and get your order. You can also get the usual Cantonese BBQ meats there, too.

                                                                    1. re: Wonginator
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                                                                      sscheng RE: Wonginator May 26, 2008 01:19 AM

                                                                      I think the quality of Ocean Star dim sum has been going down. I've been eating there for years but in the last 3 years, I usually go to 888. I tried Ocean Star one last time last Thanksgiving and both my sister and I were disappointed.

                                                                      1. re: sscheng
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                                                                        bulavinaka RE: sscheng May 26, 2008 06:49 AM

                                                                        I'm not the authority on this issue, but I feel that with the rise of the uber dim sum places like Mission 291, Sea Harbor and Elite over the past few years, this new category of dim sum houses might have contributed to the change in dynamics of this type of business in the San Gabriel Valley.

                                                                        I know we haven't been to Ocean Star in a while as well. We don't like dealing with the parking hassles, and don't feel the effort justifies the food experience for us. Conversely, I can pull into Sea Harbour's smallish parking lot by 10AM, walk in, be seating within a few minutes, and dine on some very noteworthy dim sum.

                                                                        The only drawbacks to this experience are two for me. The wait and anticipation for the food to come - at the cart-style places, the food starts now. As soon as we start walking up to our table, the ladies pushing the carts announcing their goods are placing thoughts of particular dishes in our heads. And the absence of these carts at menu-based houses leaves a little void in my heart, similar to the one left when the Helms Bakery truck stopped coming down our street...

                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                          Lee by the Sea RE: bulavinaka May 26, 2008 02:27 PM

                                                                          We're showing our age to remember the Helms truck :) but I'd rather have La Brea Bakery from the market, truth be told...

                                                                          1. re: Lee by the Sea
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                                                                            bulavinaka RE: Lee by the Sea May 26, 2008 02:42 PM

                                                                            From the perspective of an adult in 2008, yes... but when I was a kid back in the... anyway, the Helms trucks had one meaning - goodies!

                                                                          2. re: bulavinaka
                                                                            ipsedixit RE: bulavinaka May 26, 2008 03:02 PM

                                                                            The only wrench in your theory bulavinaka is that both 888 and Ocean Star are traditional cart-style.

                                                                            sscheng appears to think 888 is still good, but that Ocean Star has disappointed.

                                                                            It's so hard to judge Chinese restaurants in general, esp. during dim sum hours, because the kitchen has such high turnover and there really isn't (if ever) a head or sous chef that one would expect to find in Western restaurants. It's basically a bunch of what we would call "line cooks" following recipes.

                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
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                                                                              bulavinaka RE: ipsedixit May 26, 2008 04:15 PM

                                                                              Ahhh - THE true authority on this and many other subjects has finally arrived... I don't mean to imply that all cart places suck, rather the dim sum market is evolving in ways where the change is spreading out those dollars broader across the valley. We have enjoyed 888 in the past and the general consensus seems to still put 888 in a favorable light. But our last visit to OS was somewhat underwhelming (as was our last two visits to NBC). I think Ocean Star might be a victim of its size. There are some large dim sum houses around but Ocean Star seems to lead the armada - maybe that is just my perception. I would guess that the overhead for a large dim sum house is huge - OS's must be goliath. If business has pulled back a handful of percentage points due to my assumption, I could easily see the need to cut back on costs in this extremely competitive market. Maybe they have to pull back on quality, serving sizes on certain dishes, or pull back on staffing. I could even see some of the better talent jumping ship or being courted over to some of the other houses because of OS's mgmt cracking the whip to pull the oars harder and faster. This series of events can create that vicious cycle of declining business leading to cuts, leading to further declines in business leading to further cuts...

                                                                              I've already mentioned where we've headed for the past year or so - haven't had any desire to go back to Ocean Star or the other places where parking is a battle, the wait can be excessive, and the quality of the food can be inconsistent (you've addressed that issue - thanks). I don't mind paying more at the menu-style dim sum houses as it's still a bargain in my eyes. If I'm paying $13 for a good dim sum experience, I might as well pay $25-$30 for an outstanding one - still a bargain, especially when I'm coming out here from the Westside. I don't know how many others feel this way but given my profile - I visit SGV from the Westside once to three times a month on average and appreciate what this local community has to offer - I'm going after the best experience that I can afford relative to what is out there, especially since I don't live in or near SGV (make the most of my infrequent visits), decide among the candidates which this site offers the opinions and recs that I highly value - yours among the top, and follow the path of least resistance to the one that hits the mark for me.

                                                                              I am so thankful that LA is region where we have access to so many choices - maybe too many - to where I can snub a place like Ocean Star because of some small reasons and favor other places instead. But setting appreciation aside and putting on my pragmatist hat, that's how I see it...

                                                                            2. re: bulavinaka
                                                                              kelvlam RE: bulavinaka Sep 22, 2008 10:10 PM

                                                                              Do you mean Mission 261, instead of 291? :-)

                                                                              Elite, I know it's the one on Atlantic. Where's Sea Harbor? Are you talking about the one that's on Rosemead Blvd?

                                                                              I've never tried them before... maybe I should give it a shot. are they expensive?

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Elite Restaurant
                                                                              700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                                                              Mission 261 Restaurant
                                                                              261 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                              Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
                                                                              3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                                                                              1. re: kelvlam
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                                                                                bulavinaka RE: kelvlam Sep 22, 2008 10:35 PM

                                                                                291, 261, what's the difference...?:) Yes, Mission 261 (brain fart - thanks!). I couldn't tell you how Mission 261 is lately because we have been going almost exclusively to either Sea Harbor, I mean Sea HarboUr, or Ulite, I mean Elite... :) It has been a while since visiting Mission 261.

                                                                                Mission 261 does a lot in the "PRETTY" department, but on our last visit which was after our first visit to Sea Harbour, we didn't get it anymore in the sense that the food, while visually perfect, just didn't sing to us like Sea Harbour did (nor Elite now that we've tried them as well). Mission 261 is a great place - don't get me wrong - they occupy a unique building, have nice dining areas, great service, clean everything, good bar service, great plating and presentation, but the food is up against a lot of serious competition now.

                                                                                When 261 opened, they received a lot of fanfare due to the level of dining that they had elevated SoCal dim sum to. Great place for events, taking one's parents, maybe even a date if one is so inclined. But once the polish has worn off, I think most will critique each place in SGV for the end result - the taste test. And we are very happy with our other two options.

                                                                                If you honestly haven't been to any of the three and have the ability to try all of them, I would encourage you to do so. You can't really lose at any of them as far as dim sum places that put focus on the total dining experience (again, with 261 strong in the dining aspect), but decide for yourself. It's your palate that you're trying to please - not mine. Thanks!

                                                                                1. re: kelvlam
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                                                                                  chowmominLA RE: kelvlam Sep 22, 2008 11:17 PM

                                                                                  Elite and Sea Harbour aren't really any more expensive than Mission 261 (all three are on the higher end of the dim sum dollar range) but I think they're both better. I've only been to Mission 261 for dim sum twice and granted both visits were a year ago but I wasn't that thrilled either time. It's in a pretty setting in the mission area and all but then again, Elite and Sea Harbour are relatively nice restaurants too. Elite gets my vote and Sea Harbour is the clear second choice.

                                                                                  All the links you posted are correct.

                                                                                  1. re: chowmominLA
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                                                                                    bobmakan RE: chowmominLA Jan 15, 2009 04:29 PM

                                                                                    During the holiday break - a bunch of us from the OC decided to trek up to get some Dim Sum. Traditionally I have gone to Sea Harbour, but we decided to try Elite, The Kitchen, and Mission 261.

                                                                                    Here are my take on it -

                                                                                    Elite: Excellent Dim Sum - on par with Sea Harbour, Nice ambience
                                                                                    The Kitchen: Very good - with a few shining moments with certain dishes, ambience need some freshing up
                                                                                    Mission 261: Good food but not worthy of some of the accolades I have read - but one of my friend who went with me who is from Hong Kong tells me that the Char Siew Pao (BBQ Pork steamed bun) was excellent. So maybe there is a range. Ambience also need some work - but I got the back room. The front room had a much fresher decor.

                                                                                    Bottom Line: I will alternate between Sea Harbour and Elite.

                                                                                    Other note: I can not wait until the Capital Seafood open their new branch in Irvine. Maybe we will now have real competition for dim sum against Sam Woo.

                                                                                    1. re: bobmakan
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                                                                                      bobmakan RE: bobmakan Jan 17, 2009 03:29 PM

                                                                                      Today I was driving by the Jamboree Diamond shopping mall in Irvine and noticed that Capital Seafood has opened their branch. So since if was noon and I had not either breakfast or lunch decided to check the place out.

                                                                                      Apparently they had a grand opening on Friday (Jan 16, 2008). So I went in and sheepishly asked the girl at the front what was the wait for one person. Expecting for them to tell me no place and I had to struggle in my Cantonese or Mandarin to ask if she let me into a table for 4. But unlike some of my experiences in the San Gabriel, Rowland Height, Alhambra, and Monterey park. The girl spoke flawless english and told me that there is a table ready. Score point for service!

                                                                                      My assesments:

                                                                                      Ambience - Nice. About the size of Elite or about twice the size of most stand alone McDonald for reference point
                                                                                      Service - Everyone was nice and spoke good english (Probably ABC - American Born Chinese). This will be a plus for my non-Asian friends because they can understand what they are eating.
                                                                                      Cart - Cart service, so some of the Hong Kong style
                                                                                      Food - I would rate it 4 stars out of 5 (Elite I would rate as 4.5, the places in HK my relatives had taken me I woulr normally rate a 5). The Har Gow was good (2nd to Sea Harbour), Siew Mai was so so they could do better, Chi Chiong Fan (Rice noodle wrapped with meat) with Charsiew was very good (very close to Elite), Char Siew Bun was also good (3rd after Elite and Sea Harbout). By than I was stuffed - remember I went solo. But choose these dishes as my benchmark.

                                                                                      Bottom Line :

                                                                                      Yeah - don't have to drive to Los Angeles to get good dim sum. Definitely will visit again

                                                                                      1. re: bobmakan
                                                                                        JAB RE: bobmakan Jan 17, 2009 04:43 PM

                                                                                        Thanks for the heads up. I'll try it soon as I've been driving to Seafood Paradise and this would be much closer.

                                                                      2. badseed RE: lisamp29 Sep 27, 2007 12:40 PM

                                                                        some links

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Ocean Star Seafood Restaurant
                                                                        145 N Atlantic Blvd Ste 201, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                                                        NBC Seafood Restaurant
                                                                        404 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                                                        Elite Restaurant
                                                                        700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                                                        Triumphal Palace
                                                                        500 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

                                                                        Sea Empress Seafood Restaurant
                                                                        1636 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

                                                                        CBS Seafood
                                                                        700 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                        Capital Seafood Restaurant
                                                                        755 W Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                                                        Mission 261 Restaurant
                                                                        261 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                        Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
                                                                        3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: badseed
                                                                          kelvlam RE: badseed Sep 28, 2007 03:22 PM

                                                                          nice badseed! how do I add links like that on chowhound board? I'm too newbie :-p

                                                                          1. re: kelvlam
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                                                                            Lee by the Sea RE: kelvlam May 26, 2008 02:30 PM

                                                                            Click on "link to a place" before you finish your original comment, enter the address, and the site will look up all it has and invite you to add a new link if it doesn't already have yours. Unfortunately you can't edit them into your comment if you forget, except by making a new post. There's a long description somewhere.

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                                                                          chowpuppy RE: lisamp29 Oct 13, 2007 03:23 PM

                                                                          I'm not a dim sum specialist but I have been going out for either Chinese breakfast or dim sum almost every Saturday morning here in LA for the past year (something about having a Chinese significant other...). What I have noticed is that competition for dim sum in the SGV is fiercely competitive and constantly changing - with places coming and going as soon as one restauranteur can manage to steal a top chef from another.

                                                                          Currently my favorites are as follows

                                                                          Elite
                                                                          Sea Harbour
                                                                          Mission 261

                                                                          But by this time next year I am sure my list will look completely different.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: chowpuppy
                                                                            liu RE: chowpuppy Oct 14, 2007 11:29 AM

                                                                            chowpuppy -- I completely agree with "Elite" in first place...for the moment.
                                                                            I might place Capital Seafood in a distant second place (Atlantic and Garvey).

                                                                            We just yesterday had dim sum at Sea Harbour in Rosemead -- not our first time there. Something for me was "off" about the taste. Also, we were seated near the kitchen door, and we kept smelling something quite like lighter fluid...??? Sea Harbour is not in my top three.

                                                                            1. re: liu
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                                                                              jdwdeville RE: liu Jan 15, 2009 04:52 PM

                                                                              wow! thank you! i was starting to feel as though i was alone in not being in love with this place... wasn't a horrible experience, but it was disappointing and we ended up being charged for more items than we ordered/ate. you seem to like Elite, i'll have to try that one next if i can convince the SO.

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