Dim Sum Recommendation
I will visit LA tomorrow and try dim sum on Saturday lunch.
About 5 years ago, I visited one restaurant near Monterey Park (I guess it's Empress Pavilion or Ocean Star because we went somewhere near Monterey Park and went upstairs (2nd floor). They have a big, big space and people took the dishes from the carts. I was impressed by the variety of foods and the quality (you can image....I am from chicago...so not sure it's top quality in LA sense...But, they were much better than the dim sums I ate in Mott st, NYC).
I tried to revisit that restaurant (I assumed Empress Pavilion or Ocean Star), but found many bad/medicore reviews here and there. I guess they went down hill from my last visit or there were originally not top class dim sum restaurant (but, if then, I am wondering why people are so crowded in this big restaurant).
Can you comment on this and recommend great dim sum restaurant? My preferences are cart-based (not off the menu), variety of different foods (hopefully, excellent dumplings & fresh seafood), traditional or new style..(doesn't matter). Which restaurant truly gives the most pleasing dim sum experience can provide for me? How about NBC, Sea Harbor, Din Dai Fung (only dumpling? no variety?)...?
Since we have only one day to decide, I hope I can get your valuable advices soon.
Thanks for your help in advance.
If you took escalators up to the third floor, it was Empress Harbor, not Empress Pavilion, which is in Chinatown. The dim sum is very good at Empress Harbor. 888 Sea Food Restaurant in Rosemead also has some really great dim sum (but only after 10 AM or so). NBC is also an excellent choice.
Frankly, part of the problem is the bar is set quite high for dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley. What passes for "decent" or "average" here may be considered "outstanding" elsewhere.
Capital Seafood in MP is terrific, the cart food is always fresh testing, not soggy. It is also an aesthetically pleasing restaurant, not as crowded as Ocean Star (although I sometimes miss the two flavors, BBQ and curry, tofu at Ocean Star) Capital Seafood also has a noddle and congee/jook menu which you can order off of while the carts come around. I just tried the dried scallop and pumpkin congee and it was mellow and smooth and wonderful (Mission 261 used to have a congee menu like this, they might still, have not been there in a while, I prefer the cart places). Capital has Great duck tongue, shrimp and green onion steamed dumplings, shrimp and green onion potstickers, fried rice, chicken feet, BBQ duck and pork, taro buns (favorite dim sum desert), 3 flavor sesame balls (black sesame seeds, green tea and custard) , yum.
You could have been at Empress Harbor, which is next to Ocean Star. But if you were on the 2nd floor, it is likely you were at Ocean Star, especially since you describe the big dining area.
Empress Harbor is on the 3rd floor of its building. It has a good-sized dining hall, but not large.
Sea Harbour is order-off-the-menu, and Din Tai Fung has Shanghai-style dumplings, but no dim sum.
Since you enjoyed Ocean Star, I would recommend going back, unless you want to try something new.
Other people like NBC Seafood, but I've had mediocre experiences in my visits there.