Elite Dim Sum - best ever
- blackbookali Oct 27, 2007 04:06 PM
this place is head and shoulders above the rest in town. I had no idea. Makes every other place taste like Panda Express.
They just got an enthusiastic writeup in the SoCal AAA magazine, which typically depends on contributors who know their grub. Them and Canele - interesting juxtaposition. Anyway, it was the first review of a non-cart dim sum place that made me think I might actually like it, feeling strongly as I do that dim sum without the cart ladies is like Santa Claus with no beard...just wrong somehow.
Linked. I'm always interested in non-cart dim sum places (for whatever reason, most of the carts never stop at my table and I always feel like I'm missing the good stuff).
700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754
The dim sum is very good here, as I rank it 2nd best next to Sea Harbour.
Accordingly, you might find a lengthy wait if you arrive near peak times. When we arrived on a Saturday afternoon and were told that the wait was 20 minutes, we had to wait closer to 45 minutes, the longest we've waited for any dim sum place over the past 2 years. The food turned out to be good enough to be worth the wait. When we left at 2PM, there was still people waiting to get a table.
I think it is one of the best places I've ever been to, but it is a bit extreme to classify everything else as "Panda Express", IMHO. Elite is very good overall, but there are other restaurants that have better rendition of certain dishes. For example, I personally like the Phoenix claws at Sea Harbour and 888 better. But if you like it, that's what is important.
I quite agree with you, raytamsgv! Not everything that you have at Elite will be the best of that item, but as a total dim sum experience (tablecloths, nice space, very good and attentive service, good tea and tea service), Elite has remained in our top three since it opened under this new name a year or so ago.
Even though it is not cart service, they do pass around trays of interesting and delicious items. We try to "control" what we order from the menu so that we can take advantage of some of these tray items.
Eh. Elite was pretty good, but I find Sea Harbour to be much better in terms of Quality and different dishes.
Also, I'm sensitive to MSG, and Elite definitely caused an MSG reaction for me (dry throat, slight headaches), vs. Sea Harbour (never had a reaction there once in the 5-6 times I've been there).
Sea Harbour and Elite are about the same. They each has their strengths and weaknesses.
Sea Harbour seems to do better at steamed items like shrimp dumplings, and pork ribs.
Elite has better baked and fried items. Plus they have a few dim sum items I haven't seen elsewhere. Their macau pork was very good, as was their portguese egg tarts.
Their har gow and cheung fun were not as good.
I was underwhelmed by Elite. I was so excited to go to elite when I took my wife and her friend. We waited 40 minutes, but I assured them that this would be a GREAT dim sum experience and worth the wait. In the end, we all felt it was on par with good dim sum that one would fine in SF or the san gabriel valley.
Nothing stood out, but it was certainly just as good as the rest.
Elite is my new favorite Dim Sum place. (Up until this morning I had tried The Kitchen, Empress Harbour, Capital Seafood, and Ocean Star. I’ll refer to these as “the other places.”)
Crystal Shrimp Har Gow
Shrimp Stuffed with Baby Greens
Vegetable Shrimp Dumplings
Baked Durian Pie
Macao Egg Custard
Fried Shrimp Ball with Almond
Supreme Mixed Vegetable Rice Noodle
Boiled Chinese Vegetable with Garlic
Tea for two
In general the shrimp were more plump and numerous than those found in comparable dishes at the other places. The Har Gow were really packed!
The Fried Shrimp Ball with Almond was unlike anything I’ve tried before: a firm and chewy ball of shrimp (batter/gelatin/?) fried and coated with almond slivers. I don't know if this is a traditional dish, or if the Elite chef invented it, but whatever the case, Elite seems to put its own superior spin on things.
The gigantic Vegetable Shrimp Dumplings were more than just big dumplings: their pleasing, chewy skins enveloped a sweet vegetable mix and super fat shrimp. Really tasty. Something we’ll order again, I’m sure.
The Supreme Mixed Vegetable Rice Noodles were unusually flavorful, another standout dish.
The Boiled Chinese Vegetable with Garlic turned out to be only the tender tops of Chinese Broccoli in a savory (chicken based?) broth, with whole, fried, garlic cloves mixed in. I prefer this dish to the usual whole-stalk, Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce dishes at the other places. And munching on the whole garlic cloves was an unexpected treat.
The biggest winners were the Macao Egg Custard pies (super flaky crust, egg-o-licious, only mildly sweet custard filling – better than those at The Kitchen) and the Baked Durian pies (crunchy dough exterior wrapped around a sweet, authentic durian paste). Those durian pies took me right back to my Thailand vacation. Fantastic!
We also found the service more friendly and attentive than at the other places.
The two of us went on a Saturday around noon and the wait was about half an hour. Elite is a little more expensive, but, to us, well worth it. Before tax and tip our bill totaled about $30.
In short, Elite took us to a whole new level of Dim Sum quality and enjoyment.
We love the cart action and everything that goes along with it...
BUT...after enjoying dim sum at Elite (more than several dozen times!), it is difficult to even like any other dim sum.
Although very, very busy, the servers and other staff are always friendly and accommodating. One time I raved about those little black beans in one of the pork dishes to one of the managers. The next time we visited, she brought to our table a to-go container of their little black beans. How thoughtful that was! Another time I wanted to share their puerh tea with a friend and they sold me a small quantity in a baggie. Of course, they went the extra mile to please!
The food is extraordinary, and we have found the service to match. Why go anywhere else for the dim sum experience?
Went there with a party of 8 this weekend and was blown away. Every item was so fresh, it was a very marked difference from what you get off a cart (which normally I love). Only "problem" is that without knowing what to expect in terms of amount, we over-ordered by quite a bit, much more than usual for dim sum. But not to worry, everyone happily went home with ample leftovers.
Arrived at 10:40 and only had to wait about 10 minutes, thanks to being in a big group. The place was hopping busy all 2-3 hours we were there.