REVIEW w/ pics: Dim Sum at The Kitchen
- pleasurepalate Apr 5, 2008 10:16 AM
Next up for the "Dim Sum of the Month Club" was The Kitchen in Alhambra. Sitting down at our table, I spotted something that already I've never seen before at Dim Sum, a call box. Yes, a call box. Hmmm...dim sum on demand?
I like that; however, with ordering from their picture menu in combination with the wait staff carrying around trays of food coming around on a fairly consistent business, we didn't do much buzzing. It did come in handy though when we wanted more water, tea and eventually the bill, but enough about the buzzer, let's talk food and be sure to read towards the end about my roast duck story.
For this dim sum excursion, we checked out 15 different dishes. You're not going to get new wave fusion concoctions at The Kitchen, but what you will get is food that just tastes pretty darn good. Examples included their Chive and Shrimp Dumplings. The won ton skin was delicately transculent; yet, managed to help the fillings retain a nice hit of moisture. Taking a bite, you get sweet shrimp complimented by grassy chives, all in a nicely wrapped juicy package.
Another standout was the Shui Mai with Crab Meat. In simple words, succulent and delicious. Enough said. Being a turnip fan, I'm always on the lookout for pan-fried turnip, but this time, we opted for the Soft Turnip Cake with Scallops. I'm not sure where the cake reference came from, because it looked more like scalloped potatoes in a bowl. Regardless, I liked the dish's smooth texture, with the flavor of the onions and scallops keeping it from being too plain tasting.
In the scheme of things, there's nothing really special about Chinese broccoli, but up to this point, this was the only dim sum place I been to where they actually cut them in half for smaller portions. For those of you who know the struggle of trying to bite off a piece of this sometimes long vegetable while using chopsticks, I think you'd appreciate that little nicety.
One item that was a bit unusual were their green tea dumplings and of course, we had to order that for the table. When it arrived, it had a greenish-white bumpy exterior. I took a bite and was surprised that the black sesame filling was runny and although I liked the slightly bitterness of the green tea dumpling paired with the sweetness of the black sesame filling, that runny filling was a little off putting.
Now we get to my roast duck story. We were craving it but it wasn't on the menu and when we asked our waiter about it, he said that it won't be available until later in the day. I guess he must have sensed that we were really disappointed, because about 10 minutes later, the manager came over. After just a little persuasion and maybe because he felt bad looking at our woebegone faces, he actually decided to call one of his chefs to come in early just to make roast duck for us. Now that's service. Of course it may have also helped that I brought in a group of 20, so he was looking for good word of mouth.
He certainly got that after our duck showed up on our tables about an hour later. Let me tell you, the begging and the wait was worth it. I've had my share of roast duck over time, but this was one of the best I've ever had. The skin was golden and crispy and the duck meat was tender and juicy. My mouth is just watering thinking about it.
Overall, I enjoyed the dim sum at The Kitchen and when a restaurant goes out of their way to take care of their customer wishes, that goes a long way in my book.
To see pics, go to:
203 W. Valley Blvd.
Great review and unctuous macro on the food porno... So what's your personal ranking on the various dim sum joints so far?
Thanks for the write-up.
Friendly advice, from one food pornographer to another: Try using the macro function on your camera for closeup shots, withOUT extending the zoom lens. Physically place the camera closer to the food in order to close in the distance, and Voila!.... Less blurriness and more focus!
Great review, as always. Will have to try The Kitchen again, especially to sample their roast duck!
Great review (as usual). :) It's actually a little surprising because the last 2 times we went with our regular Dim Sum Hounds to The Kitchen, it was honestly... bad. :( Really mediocre Dim Sum from their Har Gow to their Siu Mai. We stopped going to The Kitchen about 4-6 months ago (their original chef left). Maybe they've gotten a good replacement who's taking pride in making good food again?