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Elite - Dim Sum - 1st Time

JAB Oct 3, 2008 05:08 PM

I was leery of disappointment having not thought that 888 was anything special after reading rave reviews concerning it here. Overall, Elite did not disappoint. Everything was good to very good. We ordered Shu Mai & Har Gow and both were very good. We also ordered Ham Sui Gok, Spareribs, Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves & Fried Rice with Dried Scallops and Egg Whites and all were good with the Fried Rice being a little salty. Lastly, we tried a new dish to us that was Baked Scallop and Turnip in Pastry and this was alright but, I wouldn't order it again.

On the plus side, you definitely get the feeling of being in an upscale establishment from the room to the place settings.

On the down side, it's a small room, it's loud and parking is not sufficient. I couldn't even imagine what it's like at prime time on the weekend. The staff also need to improve their table side manners to match the upscale surroundings.

Let me also add that ordering Dim Sum from a menu without photos can be difficult for some. The last place that I went to for off of the menu Dim Sum in Rowland Heights had pictures. For instance, I know the Chinese name Ham Sui Gok but, I don't read Chinese and the Engllish translation was unrecognizable. No, it didn't say Football.

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  1. chef2chef RE: JAB Oct 3, 2008 05:44 PM

    Wow that place sound bad but u didnt say where it was located. I like a place in chinatown named golden dragen. Its gr8 prices conpaired to other places...enjoy

    3 Replies
    1. re: chef2chef
      JAB RE: chef2chef Oct 3, 2008 06:04 PM


      700 S. Atlantic Blvd.
      Monterey Park, CA 91754
      (626) 282-9998

      1. re: JAB
        Servorg RE: JAB Oct 3, 2008 06:22 PM

        The only thing I could think was that chef2 was referring to 888, (since you pretty much raved about Elite). No photos would leave me in the dust however. I guess I could walk around to everyone's table and ask them what they were eating or take pic's with my phone and show them to the waiter.

        1. re: Servorg
          JAB RE: Servorg Oct 3, 2008 06:41 PM

          Oh, 888 wasn't bad it just wasn't anything special and didn't live up to the hype.

          888 Seafood Restaurant
          8450 Valley Blvd Ste 121
          Rosemead, CA 91770-1681
          Phone: (626) 573-1888

    2. liu RE: JAB Oct 3, 2008 09:44 PM

      Hello, JAB.
      We like Elite a lot!

      Park on the wide residential street that parallels Atlantic, behind the restaurant; there is plenty of parking available there. I must add that I know that this applies to Saturdays; perhaps there are restrictions during the weekdays.

      Our dim sum menu on Saturdays does have pictures. Did your menu have no pictures? The paper on which you mark your selections has no pics, but there is a menu with photos of most -- if not all -- of the dim sum items they offer.

      Additionally, I love that they have a variety of items that they pass around on trays (perhaps only on Saturdays?); this permits some spontaneity...more fun!

      1 Reply
      1. re: liu
        JAB RE: liu Oct 3, 2008 10:14 PM

        All that we received was the paper on which we marked our selections. No picture menu was offered. There were trays being brought around today as well.

      2. e
        exilekiss RE: JAB Oct 5, 2008 12:09 PM

        Hi JAB,

        Thanks for the report back. :) The next time you're in the mood for Dim Sum, try Sea Harbour which is my current fave. They have menus with pictures there so you don't need to worry about translation issues. :)

        Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
        3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

        3 Replies
        1. re: exilekiss
          JAB RE: exilekiss Oct 5, 2008 01:21 PM

          Thanks exilekiss it was a toss up between the two and we went with Elite this time. Afterward, I stated to my lunching companion that next time we could try Sea Harbor and compare the 2 but, he was pretty taken with Elite and I may not be able to drag him to Sea Harbor when the next craving for Dim Sum arises.

          1. re: JAB
            liu RE: JAB Oct 5, 2008 02:00 PM

            I've been to both Elite and Sea Harbor -- and I keep returning to Elite...been there more times than I can count on hands and feet!

            1. re: liu
              choctastic RE: liu Oct 8, 2008 01:48 PM

              Same here, I like the variety and the freshness of the dim sum at Elite. Sea Harbour not so much.

        2. a
          andytseng RE: JAB Oct 6, 2008 09:59 AM

          I would adjust my expectations on service at dim sum restaurants. The staff are generally more concerned about being efficient, and that's just the way it is.

          1 Reply
          1. re: andytseng
            ipsedixit RE: andytseng Oct 6, 2008 10:16 AM

            Concur re: service.

            Did I get the food I ordered? Check.
            Did they give me the correct type of tea that I requested? Check.
            Did they bring clean plates upon request? Check.
            Did they refill the teapot when I turned the lid upside down? Check.
            Did they bring me black vinegar (or other condiments) upon request? Check.

            ... If you got all those, then you got good service.

            Things not found at Chinese restuarants:

            Server introducing himself by name? No.
            Server asking how everything is? No.
            Server folding your napkin when leave for the powder room? No.

          2. raytamsgv RE: JAB Oct 6, 2008 11:53 AM

            I think there is a disconnect with your expectations because Chinese restaurants and patrons usually don't share the same expectations:

            Loudness: Elite is a Cantonese restaurant. Cantonese, by nature, is a loud language. Dim sum is probably the loudest meal of the day. Chinese restaurants expect families to bring children (including screaming infants)--even to upscale ones. Most Americans leave children at home to attend upscale restaurants.

            Service: Chinese patrons expect their orders to come quickly and as ordered. Tea must be refilled promptly. The less the server speaks, the better. Chinese patrons are there to spend time with the others at the table, not with the wait staff. If the patrons want something, they get the attention of the staff by raising their arms or calling them. Servers are not expected to inquire if the patrons need anything or if they are enjoying the meal.

            Photos: Very few restaurants have photos due to the cost involved. I know it's unfortunate, but that's a business decision.

            1. JAB RE: JAB Oct 6, 2008 04:02 PM

              Guys, come on, I said it was my 1st time at Elite not my 1st time eating Dim Sum nor at a SGV Chinese resaturant.

              The service was unnecessarily gruff. Grabbing and throwing.

              Again, I'm familiar with the sounds of a Dim Sum House but, Elite is overly loud based on the acoustics in that room and not the actual noise in the room.

              I mentioned the pictures because a previously attended, off of the menu, Dim Sum House had them and Elite didn't. I'm sure that if I had trouble finding Ham Sui Gok that lesser experienced Dim Sum eaters would have even more trouble.

              When I write a "review" I do it for the people who will be reading it to get a feel for the place via how I felt about the place. This can include parking, staff, acoustics, atmosphere, ease of ordering and the food itself.

              4 Replies
              1. re: JAB
                Wonginator RE: JAB Oct 6, 2008 04:16 PM

                Well, I thought your review was accurate and helpful, and similar to my experience there. Only been there once and had a 40+ minute wait, but I thought the food was among the best dim sum I've had so far.

                But since I'm an impatient one who won't wait longer than 20 minutes for dim sum, I haven't been back since whenever driving by and seeing the crowds outside. The crowds do indicate how people think positively of their food, but it doesn't help that their dining area is probably the smallest of all of the dim sum places, too. I always have 2 or 3 backup dim sum places to go to whenever the crowd is too much at any one place.

                Menus without pics sometime make the ordering process an interesting adventure that sometimes results in pleasant surprises. When in doubt, I just order whatever has the word "dumpling" next to it. :-)

                1. re: JAB
                  raytamsgv RE: JAB Oct 6, 2008 04:59 PM

                  Fair enough. I guess I've eaten at too many loud Cantonese meals and dealt with too many cramped mini-malls with limited parking. Maybe I've gotten used to this over the last few decades.

                  1. re: JAB
                    PeterL RE: JAB Oct 6, 2008 05:03 PM

                    The dinner service at Elite is one of the best Hong Kong style service I have experienced. This usually involve having a captain discussing your order with you, and runners bringing food from the kitchen, served by either the captain or a waiter. Plates are replaced frequently. Some dishes are served individually.

                    1. re: PeterL
                      ipsedixit RE: PeterL Oct 6, 2008 09:50 PM

                      At dinner (or banquet), yes.

                      At dim sum, no.

                  2. Mattapoisett in LA RE: JAB Oct 7, 2008 08:12 PM

                    What was the English Translation for Ham Sui Gok? Dommy and I have Elite on our list and will need to get an order of them.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                      JAB RE: Mattapoisett in LA Oct 7, 2008 09:06 PM

                      I'm sorry but, I don't remember. I told the waiter that I wanted Ham Sui Gok and he looked at the Chinese side of the menu and then marked it off on the "English" side with the rest of our selections.

                      1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                        PeterL RE: Mattapoisett in LA Oct 8, 2008 03:43 PM

                        Glutinous pork dumpling is one translation I found.

                        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                          ipsedixit RE: Mattapoisett in LA Oct 8, 2008 03:51 PM

                          "Ham Sui Gok" = Deep-fried mochi pork dumplings.

                          1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                            raytamsgv RE: Mattapoisett in LA Oct 15, 2008 10:49 AM

                            It should be item #30 on the dim sum selection menu: Deep Fried Stuff Meat Dumpling. "Hom Sui Gok" would be represented by the three rightmost characters on the Chinese name of the dish. The first two characters mean "peaceful shrimp," but this is the first time I've ever seen those characters associated with this dish.

                            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                              PinotPlease RE: Mattapoisett in LA Oct 17, 2008 11:28 AM

                              We've been a couple times now. Will go back many more. Some suggestions, and knowing that y'all are of the seafood persuasion the #1 Crystal Shrimp Har Gow bursting with sweet shrimp, so good both times, a real winner as was the #41 shrimp with asparagus rice noodle, so amazing, so fresh. The shanghai style steamed bun is no din tai fung style, in fact they cheat a little by serving each soup dumpling in little tart tins, but they're okay. Both the fried shrimp dumpling and the crispy shrimp rice noodle were greasy. They seem to err on the side of greasy with their fried stuff while their steamed stuff is, for the most part, perfection. The snow bun with almond flavor is a yummy light almond custard filled pastry and very delicious and if you're a sesame ball (#33) fan they're hot and fresh, the best I've ever had. "Shrimp stuff with Baby green" #14 was a chopped shrimp stuffing in a kind of limp baby bok choy leaf, not too inspiring compared to some of their dumplings. The pot stickers #39 reminded me of the style I had in Hong kong, not as over stuffed as your corner take out joint, greasy but in a good way and you could cut the greasy-ness with the sliced ginger and vinegar. Those were delish. The Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce #52 was fresh and basic. The Elite Chicken with wine sauce #58 was strictly for the hardcore, I'm one of those people who goes for it when the restaurant puts their name on a dish and this one seemed very authentic but also could be off-putting for a more western palate. It was hacked, skin-on chicken with all small bits of bone intact served cold with a sort of aspic like jelly coating and a bit of a fishy taste with a garlicky dipping sauce. You definitely have to navigate bones and skin and I got the sense that it's in the same ballpark as chicken feet, maybe chicken feet with training wheels if you will. It wasn't my style, but I can see why people would totally dig it, but since you wouldn't know what it is from the description or even a picture, I figured I'd describe it as best I could here, esp. since it's one of the pricier dim sum dishes. Enjoy Elite, I know I did. Can't wait to go again next week!

                              1. re: PinotPlease
                                liu RE: PinotPlease Oct 17, 2008 01:03 PM

                                I am an Elite regular, and I drooled through the enire read of your post! I KNOW how good they are!

                                I enjoy most of the same items that you highlighted. Next time, be sure to try their rice noodle supreme with veggies and their egg tarts. Also, their tofu skin wraps are quite good with plenty of fresh ingredients inside. Their rice noodles with XO sauce are very tasty. If you order these, be sure that you get the rice noodles with XO sauce and not the taro with XO sauce. We found the taro to be too mushy for our tastes, but the XO rice noodles are addictive!

                                Thanks for your details. Elite is one restaurant where I might order almost anything on the menu and be delighted!

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