What's the real story with Empress Pavillion?
Yes I usually go to the SGV for dim sum and agree it's much better, but I've been going to Empress for years and found it above passable. Within the last six months, it seems to have seriously gone downhill. I've heard rumors of change of ownership, but does anyone know the story?
I NEVER cared for Ocean Seafood in Chinatown, finding it greasy. Maybe I'll try CBS?
There is no story. Empress Pavilion is consistent. Not great, not bad, but at least consistent. And I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary.
I was just there today for dim sum.
I regularly visit CBS Seafood for dim sum on weekdays. I find the quality superior to Empress and Ocean Seafood. For example, I've yet to be served an item that wasn't piping hot. Can't say that about Empress or Ocean.
I also think Empress Pavilion's bad reputation is undeserved. I've had many good meals there, and the more pleasant service given at Empress versus the more gruff Monterey Park places makes up for the less-exciting food. That said, I've noticed that quality can be up-and-down. Sometimes, the food will be absolutely outstanding, and then it will be just a pale shadow of itself: soggy dumpling skins, pale flavors, too salty, etc. And then, everything gets great again. Or it's sort of half-and-half. If anything, that's a sign that it's all handmade.
Best time to go to Empress Pavillion is during the weekend. Service and food on weekdays can be spotty.