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Dec 18, 2007 02:18 PM

SGV Dim Sum Update?

While I know it's a perennial topic, and re-hashed every few months, it apparently requires re-hash every few months: "New Concept" now "Elite"? "Kitchen" being the new gunslinger in town to "Kitchen" kicked to the curb, "Mission 261" wonderful and innovative to 261 "tarted up standards for too much $$$; great if you really want to PAY for your har gow to be shaped like a rabbit".

So assuming I'm leading a bunch of non-Xmas-observers to dim sum on Xmas morning, where should I be looking at? What's the best of the new? Who (Ocean Star, NBC, etc.) is keeping their game up? Who's been a flash in the pan?


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  1. Bodhi, Here's my list:

    Reliable. Parking is a bit of a problem, but we try to park on the street. Easy to get a table. Nothing to write home about.

    Never been there - next on the radar. J Gold says it has improved since it first opened.

    Only if you can't make it to SGV.

    FULL HOUSE SEAFOOD, 1220 S. GOLDEN WEST AVE., ARCADIA, 91007, 626-446-8222
    Haven't been in a long time.

    Always the most crowded. Plan on 15 min wait in a crowded area. But once seated, the food keeps coming, and it is a good value (I suspect why it is so crowded). Had a terrible dinner there one time, which means avoid for anything other than dimsum lunches.

    Kind of got a little tired of their selective small dimsum menu. Dinner menu was extensive (when it was New Concept). First few tries was exciting to run down their list. Have not been back in a while.

    Recently went for a 10 course banquet dinner - blah food. Lunch is standard dimsum.

    SEA HARBOUR 3939 N. ROSEMEAD BLVD ROSEMEAD, CA 91770 (626) 288-3939
    Have not been in a long time.

    Can't remember.

    THE KITCHEN, 203 W. VALLEY BLVD., ALHAMBRA, CA 91801, 626-289-4828
    Been there once since it opened. Was impressed - good flavor on all items ordered. Need to go back.

    TRIUMPHAL PALACE. 500 W. MAIN ST., #A, ALHAMBRA, 91801, 626-308-3222
    Is this still open? Used to be the favorite slightly upscale dimsum restaurant of mine. Mission 21 was so overrated and overpriced that I have struck it from my list.

    8 Replies
    1. re: suvro

      Can you tell me which ones of these are cart places versus order off the menu places? My kids like the cart ones better. (New Capital our current fave.)

      1. re: BIM

        I don't mean New Capital - I mean Capital Seafood on Atlantic and Garvey.

        1. re: BIM

          From survo's list, the order-off-the-menu places are Elite, Sea Harbour, and Triumphal Palace. I think the Kitchen does both menus and carts. The rest have carts.

          Not mentioned on his list is my favorite cart-style place, Empress Harbor.

          I recently commented on Emperor Taste in another thread. Good, but not great. Not worth driving to, but good if you're already in the area.

          Haven't been to New Capital yet, although I have an addrees for it being on Valley in San Gabriel.

          Monterey Park Empress Harbour
          111 N Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

        2. re: suvro

          Seem to be 3 New Capital links. Not sure which one is the correct one, or if these are multiple locations. Can anyone confirm which is/are the current location(s)?

          New Capital Seafood Restaurant
          250 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

          New Capital
          8823 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA

          New Capital Seafood
          7540 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA

          1. re: Wonginator

            The one on Valley in Focus plaza, top floor where Sam Woo seafood used to be.

            1. re: zack

              Do you know the street number? I've found 2 different addresses:

              250 W Valley, San Gabriel
              140 W Valley, San Gabriel

              I think the old Sam Woo was at 140 W Valley. So why is there a 250 W Valley address popping up in Chowhound's listings, as some other websites have it?

              1. re: Wonginator

                not sure why 250 is listed but 140 is correct

                1. re: Wonginator

                  There used to be a non-dim sum branch of New Capital Seafood in the 250 W. Valley Bl. shopping center. Similar concept to the Rowland Heights and San Gabriel locations--extra low prices, particularly on live seafood, drawing large crowds of diners. However that's been gone for over two years and indeed three other restaurants have since and come and went at the old New Capital location. The sudden closing of the New Capital branch at 250 W. Valley created quite a stir in the Chinese community since it appeared to be extremely successful, at least based on the crowds there. Rumor was that the owner had to liquidate the restaurant, along with the New Capital location in Arcadia, to pay off gambling debts. The rumor was so widespread that the owner went on Chinese radio to deny that story.

                  Also the Garvey location is where New Capital used to be prior to moving to the old Sam Woo Seafood space in San Gabriel Square.

          2. Over the past several years, we have enjoyed many of the L.A. dim sum places. There is a wide span of quality.

            Our current favorites are Elite - for non-cart service (but they do pass around trays), and Capital Seafood (Atlantic and Garvey) for cart service. Capital Seafood does not measure up to the quality of Elite (sometimes the items at Capital are not hot enough), but it is consistently good and interesting; also, the servers are extremely friendly and helpful.

            If I am interested in the food, I will go to Elite -- our favorite! If I am with a group and just want to have a fun experience, I will enjoy Capital.

            1. Sea Harbour is tops in my book.

              Avoid Triumphal Palace.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Really? Both times I've been it was at least a B plus.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Hmm. You sound pretty vehement, I'll take your word for it. Fortunately there are enough dim sum places that I can easily check TP off my list

                    1. re: rancherostyl

                      Then again, it's a thin line between vehemence and smugness. I'll give it another shot.

              2. Somewhat off topic but very much related, I would like to give the gift of going to a dim sum establishments in the SGV area to a 2 diff couples who are familiar but not hardcore dim sum eaters.

                first question: anyone know any dim sum restaurants offering gift certificate or gift card? the likely answer is no, but does anyone know?

                second question: if i were to buy an american express or visa gift card in place of the (likely non-existent) gift card, would these restaurants accept it? I'm worried it won't be taken as regular credit card.

                thank you, i appreciate all inputs.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Beignets

                  Hello, Beignets!
                  As I posted above, my first choice would be:

                  700 S. Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park
                  San Gabriel Valley

                  Call them. I know they take most cards, and they do speak English. Discuss your needs with them. But this is "order from pictures on the menu" style, so if you prefer carts, I would try Capital Seafood at the corner of Atlantic and Garvey. This style would allow your guests to select from the actual dishes as they roll by: #626.282-3318.

                  1. re: liu

                    Thanks! I've contacted Capital Seafood and they do not do gift cards. I doubt Elite does either but I'll call anyhow :)

                    1. re: Beignets

                      Ooh, so sorry. Perhaps you could design your own and attach a few bills. We generally eat very well at Capital for about $10-$15pp, plus tax and tip. Elite will be a little more, maybe $12-$16pp, plus tax and tip.
                      Can anyone else concur with this estimate?
                      I also might add that we usually take home some leftover items, so maybe my estimates are high??
                      Also, leftovers do very well in the micro the next day!

                      1. re: liu

                        Chinese people just give the universal gift certificate. Cash.

                  2. re: Beignets

                    Visa gift cards look just like regular cards. They just do not have the person's name on it. If the meal is more than the amount on the gift card, they must tell them how much to put on the card or it will be declined. Otherwise, it should not be a problem.

                  3. my two cents...
                    i generally like menu order dim sum.

                    my favorite is sea harbor seafood, however the wait is crazy but you can make reservations if you are 8 or above... which means you'll still wait, but less time.

                    second favorite would be elite... and one of the reasons i like going here, is i can eat salty soy milk soup and "oil sticks" just up the plaza while im waiting. (xian dou jiang and you tiao)

                    i used to like capital seafood for push cart but the last two times i went i was unimpressed with the food... maybe you have to get there early. but the food didnt taste super fresh...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: modernist

                      modernist -- We have been having the same experience with Capital Seafood. Although I still like it -- and probably I WANT to like it more than I currently do because it has been so good in the past -- we have found that the last few times many items have been cooler than we would prefer. In contrast, at Elite, everything is hot and very fresh. Nevertheless, we still enjoy Capital because they do have a varied cart selection and their servers are quite helpful.

                      1. re: liu

                        That was the same problem I've had during my 2 visits to Capital. Everything was just warm in temperature, nothing being steaming hot straight out of the kitchen. I'd been hoping to have great quality food that others have reported, but I haven't experienced it there yet. Both times, I was there in the 12-12:30PM prime time dim sum period, where there should've been a lot of turnover of food and freshly made steamed items.

                        Nice decor, though. Probably among the nicest settings for a dim sum restaurant.

                        1. re: Wonginator

                          I agree with you, Wonginator, that the space is really pretty. Elite is also quite nice. Also, the service at both is excellent, so my preference for both of these places is a result of the total experience. For me, at this moment, there is nothing quite as good as a whole...I am waiting for the next contender!