Tea Palace dim sum review (kind of)...
Well we couldn't stand it anymore so went to the Tea Palace Restaurant in the Renton Highlands on Sunset Hwy in the old shopping center. We arrived about 11 am and seated right away. They have one large room for the regular dining room that looks like it seats maybe 250. They have another room on the north side that was separated by collapsable walls that appeared to be set up for a wedding and probably would hold another 200 -300. The room was nicely decorated, light colors with cloth table clothes. The service was very friendly and everyone spoke fairly good English. The carts came around quickly and had the normal selection of dim sum. Our table was full of food within ten minutes. We have only had dim sum starting this year, in Portland (House of Louie), Kent (the Imperial Garden at the Great Wall Mall), Factoria (Top Gun, twice) and the ID (Jade Garden). Top Gun and House of Louie were our favorite so far, but this was definitely up with them, IOHO. Jade Palace food was good, but the place was so dirty (I won't go into what I saw in the bathroom) it kind of turned me off and I am not a germ-a-phobe by any means.
I know many of you have had dim sum in Hong Kong and in Vancouver and understand that Seattle doesn't have anything to compare to those places. I am only basing this on our experiences so far. We hope some day to try both Vancouver's and Hong Kongs dim sum.
As far as what we had, I first apologize for not knowing the names.
Chow mein noodles with vegetables (the thin, fine noodles(very good)
Shrimp dumplings (the norm)
Sticky rice (it was ok but I have had better)
Some type of fried shrimp dumpling with a little dish of a sweeter mayo dressing to dip it in (loved this one)
Taro balls? - I have never had taro before so tried it, kind of bland but I put hot chili oil on it and it was fine. Definite texture thing going on. Hubby didn't like it. I will eat our leftovers but probably would not have it again although it may be a acquired taste?
Chinese broccoli - the usual, a bit tough but they gave the oyster sauce on the side not drenched all over the top which I like.
Baked pork rolls - brought all three home so haven't tried them yet, but have high hopes
Little pie type pastries filled with pork - Really good, like a little pork pie.
Wide flat rice noodle filled with pork, cut in to pieces (pre cut, not at table) and light soy dressing on top - These were also fine.
The menu listed a shark fin dumpling in special soup. This isn't something we would get due to the overfishing of shark for their fins, but I know lots of people like it so thought I would mention it. They also had congee, which again, I have never had, but will try one of these days. Looks filling! Another interesting item was a black bean jello looking item. The table next to us got it and it was cut into 4 diamonds shapes. Looked interesting and will have to try it next time. The sweet cart had a good selection of different items.
I think that was it. We at until full then brought home enough leftovers for at least another meal a piece. The total was about $37.00 and that included $1.50 for the tea. My husband wanted a Tsing Tao (sp?) beer but they don't have their liquor license yet although there is a bar area set up in the dining room so I am assuming that will be coming soon. The two most expensive dishes were $5.50 each, the noodles and the broccoli or the pork buns, I am thinking. The cheapest were about $2.30 each. Next time I need to pay attention to what they are stamping on the bill. Considering how much food we had I thought the prices were reasonable.
We are going to try it for dinner one night and the regular menu and will definitely be going back for dim sum again soon.
I look forward to others trying it and giving their review. We had a different thread going about dim sum in Seattle and one review already but I thought I would start this one off again. I look forward to hearing more reviews as more people try it.
jmk: thanks for the review...i could attempt spelling the dishes you had, but being am. born chi and not hearing the many accents, i would no doubt be crucified for misspellings...
at any rate, here's an article on the place - seating for 800, multiple owners, including as one of the shareholders gene & his wife from the renton gene's ristorante, the wine place and their new asian bistro where jubilante was.
I went there for dim sum on Monday after reading about it on Chow Hound. The food was fine, pretty standard Seattle dim sum, but the service was poor. We almost got up to flag a cart down and finally asked for menus since nothing was coming around. Not at all worth the journey, especially from Seattle.
Tea Palace - Here is a true review from a person that's had dim sum in Vancouver, Bay area, LA, Seattle, Portland, NYC, Macau, Guangzhou and HK. The place is nice inside because everything is brand new. However, the surrounding area is in the ghetto. The owner is a Vietnamese guy, that owns the grocery stores - View Wah. A Vietnamese guy running a Cantonese restaurant is so-so. Its like going to a sushi place and seeing a bunch of Mexican guys making it -- "Sushi Land - Tukwila" . When Chinese go to dim sum they judge the tea and the main dishes that make dim sum what it is. : HaGow (Shrimp Dumplings), Sui Mai, Cha Siu Bow (Steamed BBQ Pork buns), Lor Mai Gai (sticky rice wrapped with lotus leaf), Churn Fun (steamed rice noodle with pork, beef or shrimp filling), etc. I would say the quality of the food is average at best. Every dish that contains shrimp is considered a large so be aware of that. Also, their speciality dishes like honey walnut shrimp, Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli), etc. are all highly priced. Their noodles and chow mein are in the same boat - highly priced. Tea Palace of course still brings everything with carts which of course leads to cold food. Unlike restaurants in say Richmond, BC as an example where you order off a menu and the food arrives hot.