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May 15, 2010 11:07 AM

Dim Sum for mom's 80th

My mother is celebrating her 80th birthday and wants to drive up for the best dim sum experience in the san gabriel valley. She like to choose off the carts so that is the only real criteria. Oh and it has to have an A rating. Thanks for any help that is provided.

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  1. If my 80 yr old Mom would request cart style dim sum in SGV with an "A" rating, I would take her to NBC on Atlantic. The cart style Dim Sum there is pretty good. The place had a complete makeover (both exterior and interior) as well as new owners. I think everyone will also be impressed with the all white tablecloths and seat covers. There is more variety to their weekend dim sums compared to weekdays, though.

    1. It's too bad that you want carts, because I had my 40th birthday today at Elite. The food was fabulous and the restaurant really did a great job accommodating us (mainly people unfamiliar with dim sum and some with dietary restrictions).

      6 Replies
      1. re: Jwsel

        Believe Elite has a "B" rating.

        1. re: monku

          The "B" rating means more flavor!!!

          On a serious note, getting a bad rating doesn't necessarily mean the food is bad. More than half the criteria inspectors check have nothing to do with food.

          I would reccomend Sea Harbour but it is not the cart style. : /

          1. re: A5 KOBE

            Thanks for the tips. The A rating is more important than the carts. I convinced them that the food is what counts not the delivery system.

            1. re: steveburstein

              Using restaurant ratings will severely limit your options.

              Both Sea Harbour and Elite -- two of the finest dim sum places in SoCal, and both menu-style -- have an 89 and 88 score, respectively. Or, in other words, they have a "B" rating.

              Maybe you could convince your mom that dim sum places don't ever want to get an "A" rating because they consider it, um, bad luck?

              1. re: steveburstein

                Like many have said, I would opt for either Elite or Sea Harbour. Both are head and shoulders above the rest.

                Ocean Star has decent dim sum, not sure what the rating is.

                1. re: A5 KOBE

                  lots of downhill reports on ocean* lately

        2. I believe 888 is an A - at any rate, it's my favorite of the cart places.

          1. From an old Chowhound post about LA Chinese restaurants usually getting a B rating and not an A rating.

            From poster DForm who worked for the health departments take:
            "I actually joined LA County Environmental Health for a few inspections in Chinatown. What I learned was that the majority of violations for asian establishments are from food temperature and the amount of time products sit out. The inspector who was Chinese and the owner of the establishment both agreed that a lot has to do with cultural differences and cooking preferences.


            4 Replies
            1. re: monku

              Not disagreeing about the cultural differences (which manifest themselves most starkly in bakeries), but for those (like the OP's mom) who care or rather are really anal about food safety, the temperature of cooked foods are a major issue generally.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Many deductions in points are things such as :

                -2 points for not enough sanitizer buckets
                -2 points for towels too close to cutting boards
                -2 points for unclean drains
                -4 points for temperature of prepped foods not within specific temps (especially dairy)
                -2 points for food not being 8 inches from the ground

                You could have nasty rotten food in the walk in and can get a 90+ rating.

                1. re: A5 KOBE

                  That's so true. Most consumers don't really understand how the rating system works. It is a good general guide, but it has many shortcomings.

                  1. re: raytamsgv

                    That's really true. I had a friend who owned an Italian restaurant that got a B rating. He was furious because the deciding factor in the rating was that his ultra-expensive Italian espresso/cappuccino maker had a stem that was too long according to some guidelines. I never fully understood why that was an issue, but supposedly it was presumed that the longer stem couldn't be kept clean.

            2. I second Elite and Sea H. Both really excellent but with B rating. As of last I went Ocean Star and Full House were both A's but it's been a while. Last time I went to both were maybe early last year. They're both cart style dimsum places, so call them to ask of their rating or if any of our Chowhounds know. If not any of these places then try DIn Tai Fung. Not cart-style but A rating (last time I went this year-at least the newer location in the back). They have delicious dumplings that are worth the wait. But if its a bigger party, it might not be a good idea as seats are limited.