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Ocean Star was kind of empty today. (?)

I had not been to Ocean Star in a couple of years, but used to go almost weekly. When we would show up at 11am on a Sunday, we would almost always have to wait a bit for a table. Sometimes as much as an hour and a half to get in.

Today, at 11, less than one third of the restaurant was full and by the time we left, there was no one coming in.

Any reason for this that I missed in the last couple of years? Everyone in my party thought the food was as good as ever, if not better. It just seemed strange, so I thought I'd ask.


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  1. More competition, holiday shopping, the economy...

    1. Was at the New Capital in Rowland Heights two weeks ago, about 11 AM, on Sunday. It was packed!!! I guess it depends.


      1. Hi SaltCod,

        Fru summed it up best. :) On a side note, none of my Dim Sum Hounds (or their friends / family) go to Ocean Star any more; they prefer newer, better quality places like Elite, Sea Harbour, Triumphal Palace (now closed), etc.

        4 Replies
        1. re: exilekiss

          Having been eating dim sum here for over 35 years starting with take out at the back of Man Fook Low, I still like Ocean Star. And yes, I've been and will be back to some of newer, higher quality, more innovative places. I guess I'm just not that Houndish.

          1. re: Fru

            Hi Fru,

            Don't get me wrong; I have a soft spot for Ocean Star. I was lucky enough to have adventurous parents who took me there back in its heyday (when NBC and Ocean Star were the top 2 competing Dim Sum restaurants - I loved both of them growing up - each time visiting was like a special holiday :).

            Just pointing out some trends and decrease in popularity amongst some of my friends.

          2. re: exilekiss

            What happened to Triumphal Palace? Not enough business?

            1. re: exilekiss

              Thanks for the replies. I'll have to try some new spots, but Ocean Star with no wait is good too. I still find new (to me) dishes there, like the almond soup, that makes it worth the trip for me. But, I'm not old school dim sum, I'm from rural Illinois, so my education will continue...

            2. Last visit to Ocean Star a few months ago, we showed up at noon on a Saturday and had no wait. The place was maybe 3/4 full, so they had a fair amount of business, just not bustling mad like in previous years.

              I thought the quality was still very good, too, but thought the traffic was less due to the economy and the numerous dim sum choices nearby.

              Keep in mind that Ocean Star's dining hall is huge in size, probably the largest among the local dim sum places.

              Went to the remodeled NBC Seafood a few weeks ago. No wait when we got there at noon on a Saturday, but there was a minor wait when we left at around 1PM.

              Only place I still see crowds at is at Elite, but that's partly due to the tiny dining room, which is probably the smallest of the dim sum places.

              1. We had reservations for eight at 1:30 at Empress Harbor yesterday, but we really didn't need them - lots of unoccupied tables, including the 10-top next to the bar, right inside the front door, which we were given. Lots of empty slots in the parking garage, too. I know this place isn't anyone's alltime favorite, but it's always been packed on weekends in the past.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Will Owen

                  ^ that's 1 of the reasons why Empress Harbor is 1 of my go-to dimsum standard. Decent food, decent price, never a wait.

                2. Aside from economy, part of it is demographic shifts.

                  Alot of Chinese and Hong Kong folks have moved east of Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel to places east of the 605 -- e.g. Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Industry, Diamond Bar.

                  Lots of the dim sum joints in the "east" SGV are packed during the weekends and holidays, to the detriment of the old standbys in the "west" SGV.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    So What is good in East SGV? it might be nice to have a go to place from my In-laws house in Diamond Bar.

                    Dommy said New Capitol is cheap and not very good. We haven't heard much about Happy Harbor and we were wondering what else there might be out there.

                    1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                      Happy Harbor is good for order off-the-menu dim sum, with Seafood Village a close second.

                      Most of the cart places are sort of blah and run of the mill, nothing of note to speak of.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        i concur on happy harbor. very good dim sum.

                    2. re: ipsedixit

                      There is also the cultural fascination with new restaurants. Everyone wants the latest and greatest.

                    3. Saltcod,
                      Funny, I was there at the same time and we were surprised at how unbusy they there. I guess I should have been tipped off at how easy parking was.
                      I thought the dimsum was quite good. Did you try that souffle looking thing that was rolling around? I was so full by the time that came out but was intrigued.
                      My prior dimsum lunch was at NBC and it was pretty bad.

                      1. Yeah, just as everyone is saying, there are other places people wanted to try. I also noticed that places like 888 and Mission 261 can get a table much easier now. The only places that I saw still have a wait was at New Capital on Focus Plaza and Elite Restaurant.

                        Triumphal Palace RIP? Any news?