HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

Discussion

Dim Sum at Elite Restaurant

I'm having dim sum at Elite Restuarant in San Gabriel this weekend, any recomendations on what to order/favorites?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Hi Rockgrappler,

    This recent thread should give you a good starting point:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/692490

    1 Reply
    1. There is a lightly fried tofu thing (sorry... do not know the name). Its shaped like little short cylinders. Yum!

      22 Replies
      1. re: Jennalynn

        ... sounds like the Baked Durian Pie. Yum, indeed!

          1. re: Jennalynn

            That's the dish I described. I'm pretty sure it's the tofu in oyster sauce.

            1. re: Jwsel

              they described it to us as Japanese tofu. and yes, it was bomb.

        1. re: Jennalynn

          These "tofu things" are often passed around on a tray...very fresh!

          1. re: Jennalynn

            It's the tofu with oyster sauce. Absolutely incredible. The outside is a bean curd similar to what Japanese restaurants stuff with rice. Inside is a tofu that is the consistency of custard.

            The egg tarts are excellent, and they do a baked, flaky bun filled with the egg custard.

            I also loved the shu mai, har gow, and baked pork bao (I preferred the baked to the steamed, but both were very good).

            1. re: Jwsel

              Could be 玉子豆腐, also known as tamagodofu, ribendofuwhich is tofu mixed with egg. The only tofu dish I could make from Elite's menu is under their kitchen specials, and it is actually a soy sauce marinade goose webbed feet with tofu, perhaps that's the thickened sauce used on the tofu. To use only Lee Kum Kee type oyster sauce is just taking shortcuts, for a place of this caliber.

              1. re: K K

                From http://http.cdnlayer.com/smoola/00/00... , there is an item listed as "Bean Curd Wrap Oyster Sauce."

                1. re: Jwsel

                  There are at least two tofu items at Elite. One is, as Jwsel has mentioned, their Bean Curd Wraps with Oyster Sauce. I have tasted others' versions of this dish, and I think this one is the best I know. The inside ingredients are identifiable and fresh. Others I have had at other dim sum restaurants are tasty but sometimes contain some unidentifiable filler mush.

                  The other tufu item I often see being passed around on trays at Elite is their tofu "mounds." These look like upside-down flan...with a sauce. They are good...perhaps a little bland for my taste.

                  Of course, there may be other tofu items that Elite serves that I have not yet tried. If anyone knows of another tofu dish served at Elite, please let us know.

                  1. re: liu

                    A while back, I know they had deep fried tofu with an embedded scallop on top and served with XO sauce.

                    They also have almond tofu on demand :-)

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Oooooooh, both of these sound delish!
                      I will ask and order next time...thanks, ipsedixit!

                    2. re: liu

                      Do you remember what the "tofu mounds"/upside down flan are called on the menu? I tried to order them on my last visit and wound up with the tofu skin stuffed with minced veg and pork (which was a delicious mistake).

                      Just today I tried to steer my vegetarian friend towards the "savory tofu flan" dish that I was unsuccessful in ordering, and guess what she wound up with? That's right, the same dish-- minced pork in tofu skin. She tells me that her dogs will be eating well tonight.

                      Mr Taster

                      Edit: For those considering the canine alternative.... I would not advise it, as she tells me her home in Van Nuys is now filled with olfactory-based discontent.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          That is the dish I was describing. I thought it was the bean curd wrap in oyster sauce, but the photo identifies it as Jade Tofu.

                          1. re: Jwsel

                            that's exactly how it looked like when I got them, no pork. They were walking around with them.

                          2. re: Servorg

                            Pretty sure those are the ones stuffed with minced pork.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              I found a description of it on Yelp and it appears that this dish is not the one with minced pork:

                              "The Tofu with Spicy Jade sauce was my favorite dish. It tasted like a mixture of egg white and soft tofu, fried on the outside then covered with the spicy sauce"

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Sounds like someone needs to verify this claim first hand. Any takers?

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  I will say the picture + description matches my experience, but no clue on the name.

                      1. re: Jwsel

                        Sea Harbor appears to have something similar, except theirs is called 鮑汁扒豆腐, where the tofu is made with abalone sauce.

                        http://eileent.com/eat/rosemead-%e4%b...

                        The dish ipsi speaks of is also mentioned in the blog at Sea Harbor, except it's steamed. (帶子白玉柱 Steamed Egg Tofu w/ Fresh Scallop in Dry Scallop Sauce).

                        1. re: K K

                          Since we're on the subject, iirc, I also had this dish at King Hua. I liked King Hua's version, but others hate King Hua. ymmv.

                          -----
                          King Hua Restaurant
                          2000 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

                          1. re: K K

                            Elite will do an ostensibly vegetarian version upon request. I have had it twice, both times for dinner, though.

                  2. Along with everything else on the menu, be sure to enjoy their sweet baked goods. Specifically, I recommend their house sugar cake, their snow buns and their egg tarts...just a start! All are served hot from the oven or steamer and should be consumed immediately with your favorite tea -- which you can request as you are seated.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Elite has what looks like an Italian Sfogliatelle:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sfo...

                      But it is filled with scallops and onions. And while the pastry on the outside looks like the Sfogliatelle, its texture is more crisp and giving. Sfogliatelle is more toothsome. I don't recall the name, but it's one of those classic "only at Elite" kind of dim sum items. It was on the menu when I was there a couple of months ago, but don't recall seeing it on Mother's Day.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        bulavinaka -- Is it their taro-scallop "crescents" ??

                        http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/CIPw9R...

                        They are quite yellow, although this photo does not show it.
                        Those are delicious!!!

                        1. re: liu

                          Hi Detective liu - you are correct! After thinking about it more today, I realized that I forgot to mention about the taro as well - thank you for finding this. As I mentioned above, this is one of those things that only Elite seems to have. I don't know how they come up with these ideas for dim sum but it's obvious that someone is putting a major effort in making these delicious wonders. The subtle lingering umami flavor is wonderful.

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            They have grown on me over the years, and now I am addicted!

                            You are so right, bulavinaka, about that "...subtle lingering umami flavor..." and for me, it is also about the contrast of textures. The outside is delicately brittle while the inside is creamy and very rich. However, I must add that they do not transport well. Finish them at the table because they turn to mush in a microwave.

                        2. re: bulavinaka

                          You made me look it up...

                          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/__CAHRpMVS28...

                          There's something that fits your description, it's the bottom middle pic, translated as scallops shredded daikon layered puff pastry. It's beautiful!

                          1. re: K K

                            Yes, same style of pastry dough, but shaped roughly like a crescent and filled with scallops, taro and I think daikon and onions. It's a real standout because of the exterior's unusual texture, and it is really good...

                        3. the buns are always good...everyone I've been with loves the almond bun

                          1. I am going there this weekend as well. My favorite is their snow buns (almond filled sweet bread).

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: monku

                                You know, those are one of the few items I prefer the next day.

                                Cold from the fridge and paired with a big bowl of Chinese sweet soy milk (diao jiang or 豆漿). Good eatin.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  They don't last till the next day at my place.

                                  1. re: monku

                                    Heck - if they make it to the 10 onramp, you've got way too much will power. :)

                            1. Does anyone know if they still serve dim sum at 5pm on weekdays? I can't seem to figure it out from their website, which is almost all in Chinese. Thanks!

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: cococustard

                                And a similar question, I keep wanting to try it but I can't get there until later in the day (like 12-:12:30) on weekends. What kind of madhouse/wait should I be expecting if I go then?

                                1. re: Discokill

                                  It depends a bit on the number of people in your party, but if you've got 3 or 4 people, I'd say a minimum of one hour.

                                  1. re: Discokill

                                    We got there at 1pm on Sunday and they seated us (7 chairs plus a highchair) within 5 minutes.

                                    They serve dim sum up to 2:30pm.

                                  2. re: cococustard

                                    No dim sum at 5 p.m. (on any day). Try Lunasia instead.

                                    1. re: cococustard

                                      cococustard, regarding your question about their dim sum days and hours, do give them a call:

                                      #626.282-9998

                                      There are several English-speaking servers and associates there.

                                    2. note: chicken feet contains peanuts @ Elite. WTF

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: ns1

                                        Peanut oil is ubiquitous is many dim sum dishes. Or do you mean peanut chunks?

                                            1. re: raytamsgv

                                              Yup, it's part of the braising liquid. It's what makes for a good "Witches Brew" for Phoenix claws ...

                                        1. Thanks for all the good reviews of Elite. Two of us went to Elite for the first time after having been long customers of Empress Harbor up the street on Atlantic. We went there just after 10 and were seated within five minutes. It was cold today and my GF didn't want to sit near the door, so we waited and were put in the back where it was much warmer.

                                          Likes:
                                          Good quality food. The har gau had good portions and great flavor. The mushroom/meat dumpling was fantastic as well as the pork spareribs. The Naw Mai gai was nice and moist with a good proportion of sticky rice to meat ingredients (ground pork, shrimp, Lap Cheong). I had two shrimps and she had none, so, being the good boyfriend, I gave her one.

                                          Dislikes:
                                          We're not huge fans of ordering dim sum off the menu. A) we ordered all the dishes at once and they arrived at the same time, leaving some of them cold. B) I don't speak or read Chinese (4th generation) and the English descriptions are somewhat different than what I've previously seen or know. It was different enough to get not quite what we expected. Oh well, food was still good.

                                          The fried shrimp dumpling was not a favorite. The dough was thick and too chewy. The broth to dip it in was tasteless and didn't add to the dish. Coconut Cake is not "Cake" LOL.

                                          We didn't realize the portions would be larger than Empress, so we had lots of dishes leftover for just two people. That is NOT a complaint and a compliment to Elite. Count us as fans of Elite and will go back.

                                          16 Replies
                                          1. re: granadafan

                                            Glad to hear you liked Elite.
                                            If you liked the spare ribs try the pepper short ribs next time.

                                            We made the same mistake our first time not realizing the portions were larger.

                                            Have it down to a science now. We have blank menus in the car and have our choices marked and ready to present as soon as we sit down.

                                            1. re: monku

                                              One upsmanship: We have pre-printed Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3 menus ready to go. This way, the flow of food is more controlled... :-)

                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                  JL, where did you get the menu? The online menu doesn't work.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      Thanks ipsedixit, but I can't read Chinese. LOL. JL, I'll stop by there on the way home next and ask for one or two.

                                                    2. re: granadafan

                                                      I ask the servers for extra ordering slips each time I go to Elite (I don't think they're download-able)...

                                                      I get like 3 or 4 of the ordering slips each time, and take them home to fill out for the next trip to Elite.

                                                2. re: granadafan

                                                  "A) we ordered all the dishes at once and they arrived at the same time, leaving some of them cold"

                                                  I think everyone does this their first time.

                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                    LOL. I feel a bit foolish as we're no dim sum novice, but apparently we are in this case. I steamed up the leftovers tonight for dinner and enjoyed another good meal. I love the idea of grabbing a bunch of menus to select ahead of time.

                                                    Well done again, Hounds.

                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                      That's only because you don't eat them quickly enough. You need to work on your eating technique. Chewing is overrated. :-)

                                                      1. re: raytamsgv

                                                        my girlfriend slows me down, it's like carrying dead weight.

                                                        1. re: raytamsgv

                                                          I'm the same with sushi and dim sum. Small bites disappear quickly.

                                                          1. re: mc michael

                                                            "Small bites disappear quickly."

                                                            Small is in the mouth of the beholder, grasshopper... ;-D>

                                                              1. re: mc michael

                                                                You platter me... ;-D> Think of a time when the ubiquitous po-po was food and not the gendarmes...(was it really Chinese? - doubtful).

                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                  I would offer another 2 cents of my advice, but at this point it would merely be a platitude...

                                                    2. We're heading out for our first SGV dim sum tomorrow morning and this thread alone makes me know we're going to like it. Clever posts also. We're adventurous eaters but speak no Chinese. Are there staff who speak English enough to help us out. I'm also making notes from this and other threads. Thanks.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: cedarflat

                                                        You can ask for a menu that has English on it with pictures of the items if that's helpful.

                                                        1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                                          Thanks. I thought someone on this thread or another said there were no pictures. Does the English menu have everything on it that the Cantonese one does? While I like things like har gow and spare ribs, I also like the more "esoteric" dishes as well. Don't want to miss out on things due to my shortcomings?

                                                          1. re: cedarflat

                                                            There are enough English speakers at Elite, cedarflat; both the managers and the "head servers" speak English adequately. Ask them for some suggestions about some of the more "esoteric" dishes that you desire. Also, take a walk around/through the restaurant and when you see something interesting on another table, ask the diners what they are enjoying! It's a very friendly place!

                                                              1. re: cedarflat

                                                                cedarflat, see my previous post. The menu is a description in English on one side, leaving you to interpret it. The food there is delicious. Hope you report back on your experience.

                                                            1. re: cedarflat

                                                              there is a specials menu that is in chinese only w/ no pictures IIRC, but the main menu is english w/ pictures.

                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                There is no "specials menu" per se, at least nothing that's written.

                                                                You just ask, and they tell you what the kitchen has on hand that moment.

                                                          2. Had a great lunch at Elite today and I have many thanks for all who helped. First of all, I found better and more English speakers here than I usually do in Chinese restaurants. The ladies who brought around items on platters may have been limited but no problems. We started with har gow and the spare ribs in the black pepper sauce. The shrimp were good but I don't know why I even order har gow. There are so many other more exciting and tasty things, IMO, that I'm just taking up space in my stomach with those :) I'd not had that prep of spare ribs and loved it. Bigger and meatier ribs than I'm accustomed to and that sauce/gravy was great. Were those little cubes of potatoes in there? Taking the advice to look around the room, we didn't have to look far. A party beside us was having what turned out to be duck tongues which we'd never had before. They were fantastic. I could eat them everyday. Just like little ribs. Mmm. Then we had chicken feet in their "special sauce." At first I was offput by the orange-red sauce having only had a brownish one. But they were really, really good. I don't know if chicken feet come in sizes :) but these seemed meatier and the tenderest I've ever had. The final thing was "bean curd wrap oyster sauce" which I believe is the bean curd skin/wrapper filled with bean curd and other vegetables, i.e., cabbage, carrot,? It was amazing and perhaps my favorite dish of the five. With two beers, it was only $30 which was another surprise. I hadn't noticed the legend at the bottom of the menu showing the prices. From the quality of the food, the attractiveness of the restaurant itself and the professionalism of the staff I was expecting it to be MUCH more. Speaking of the staff, I found them to be A+. Plates were removed quickly, we were given warm, moist towels with the duck tongues. Plenty of staff working the floor and it was easy to get someone's attention.

                                                            I recommend Elite highly to anyone. We drove 50 miles one way to go there through I-5 LA traffic and it was worth every mile. Thanks again.

                                                            link: http://www.elitechineserestaurant.com...

                                                            ETA: I took others advice and ordered one or two dishes at a time and that worked perfectly. I actually preferred it to any cart service. With carts I always feel I have to grab everything the first time it comes by. Their pacing was great. We always finished something(s) and had a little wait for the next thing(s) to come out.

                                                            -----
                                                            Elite Restaurant
                                                            700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                                            13 Replies
                                                            1. re: cedarflat

                                                              Thanks for the report back. Glad you had a great time and didn't have a problem with communication. I don't know if I could ever do a dim sum meal without ordering har gow. That and the shumai are mandatory for us.

                                                              1. re: Jase

                                                                I stopped ordering sui mai years ago but theirs did look good. I generally found them too dense or something. Har gow are fine but, for me, it's shrimp and it's dumpling. I also wish they'd chop the shrimp at least a little. The dumpling is too big to eat whole and when you bite or cut into it, then a big shrimp just pulls out. (Hey, am I picky or what?) Just kinda ho-hum after about 40 years of eating them :) I feel like once I made the break through and started eating chicken feet that I want to go onward and upward!!!

                                                                1. re: cedarflat

                                                                  Different people have different tastes, we love the har gow there but I get what you're saying about the size. My wife struggles with the big pieces too. Elite is close to my parent's house and I love going there. I'm also an absolute pig and we order a ton of food, a couple pieces each of the har gow and shumai and I'm barely getting warmed up.

                                                                  Really glad you got to try and like the more exotic items such as the duck tongue. I liked the pig ears even though I ordered them by mistake the first time. I'm kind of indifferent about chicken feet at most dim sum places. I love my mom's version of it so it's not top of mind for me.

                                                                  I like their egg tarts a lot too, if you're into that, you might want to give that a shot next time.

                                                                  1. re: Jase

                                                                    I like pig ears also but knew that five plates for two people was really, really pushing it. My SO isn't into any sort of sweets and I'm not much either so that saves us a little space for yet another savory dish.

                                                                    1. re: Jase

                                                                      What's the preparation for the pig ears?

                                                                2. re: cedarflat

                                                                  Hello, cedarflat!
                                                                  I am so glad that you had a great lunch at Elite. Thanks for reporting back!

                                                                  I agree with you that their bean curd wraps are delicious! Actually, you can pretty much close your eyes and order anything on the menu.

                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                    If we lived around here, I'd do exactly that. Everything sounded great. I hated passing up things like congee and chow fun. Should have brought some home :)

                                                                    1. re: cedarflat

                                                                      Elite has a version of these little honey pastries filled with barbecued pork that are really amazing. I don't know the name of this dish, but every dim sum restaurant has something similar. I like what Elite does with these! They are sweet and savory and luscious.

                                                                      Also, cedarflat, did you have the almond snow buns in the little foil tins? Those, too, are remarkable. In fact, I think Elite does all their pastry items well; part of the reason for this might be that they serve everything hot and "fresh."

                                                                      1. re: liu

                                                                        We're disinclined :) towards sweet but if I were going to do that, I do it there. You're right, everything they do is "fresh." If/when we're here next, maybe you can guide us through

                                                                        1. re: cedarflat

                                                                          Aaaaah, the menu will guide you!

                                                                        2. re: liu

                                                                          completely agree...they are the king of buns

                                                                        3. re: cedarflat

                                                                          Thanks for the report, cedarflat. Glad you enjoyed the place. You're more adventurous than we are. No duck tongue or feet for us!

                                                                    2. Any recent reports? Debating making the trip for lunch while I'm in town as Ohio is not exactly a hotbed for dim sum. Is Elite still the best option and is it worth the trek for a solo diner (albeit one with a big appetite) who may not be able to sample as diversely?

                                                                      Cheers.

                                                                      http://endoedibles.com

                                                                      26 Replies
                                                                      1. re: uhockey

                                                                        Hi, uhockey!
                                                                        As a fellow Ohio-an, I feel your pain. I have tried a few dim sum places in Cleveland, and they are quite lacking.

                                                                        I am a big Elite fan. I think you would be fine there as a solo diner; I have seen many over the years. The staff there is quite accommodating and friendly.

                                                                        If you aren't sure what to order, ask to see their menu with the photos. If you are still not sure, talk with one of the servers or managers and they will be glad to assist you.

                                                                        There is no reason to miss this wonderful dim sum. Go, enjoy and please report back!

                                                                        1. re: uhockey

                                                                          Elite and Sea Harbour are both good choices.

                                                                          Personally I think Sea Harbour is better, but it's like 1 and 1A.

                                                                          Dining solo does limit the experience for dim sum, but it certainly should not foreclose it as an option.

                                                                          Sort of like drinking. Nothing wrong with drinking alone, but imbibing adult beverages with other adults certainly makes the experience entirely different.

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                            I agree with both liu and ipsedixit. Taking the opinions of two Ohioans about that Ohio's dim sum, the OP should go. Don't know how big of an eater the OP is, but I could easily see a big eater downing four to six dishes. That's a fair representation of dim sum if choosing wisely and across the spectrum. And so what if you're a lone diner - if it doesn't bother you, and it doesn't bother them, then...

                                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                              Bulavinaka -

                                                                              Okay you've made me brave enough to confess. I am an ex-ohian as well. And I had dim sum ONCE while living there - it was shrimp rice noodles and we were thrilled, and I mean THRILLED, to be able to have it.

                                                                              That said, I was raised by an ex-Brooklynite with a true love of life. He was the only reason we could search out the rice noodles, heaven knows they weren't well known!

                                                                              And he'd say -and I'd say - Go. Order. Have fun. Isn't that what it's all about?

                                                                              1. re: happybaker

                                                                                Poor Ohio. :-)

                                                                                Considering the prices I could order a plethora under my normal dining cost - but I have a major issue with wasting food. I just feel bad about it.

                                                                                http://endoedibles.com

                                                                                1. re: uhockey

                                                                                  Well, looks like you have a chance of getting a dining group together. Yay!

                                                                                  Other than that, you could always have them bag your leftovers and give them to the homeless folks who beg at the off-ramps. At least you know you'll be giving them something good : )

                                                                                  1. re: happybaker

                                                                                    Not sure where you got that impression from - not a single person stepped up and said they wanted to go to Elite, but now I have all sorts of dining partners for other places.

                                                                                    http://endoedibles.com

                                                                                    1. re: uhockey

                                                                                      Well I saw that you were sent a link on how to set up a meet and greet dining thing, so I figured you might have...

                                                                                      And whatever happens, fab dim sum, a newspaper and a pot of tea - you'll be dandy.

                                                                                      But very glad folks are matching up for other things!

                                                                            2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                              I had been a fan of Sea Harbour until this year, recent experiences for dim sum and dinner have been very dissapointing. I'd vote for Elite over Sea Harbour.

                                                                              1. re: Sgee

                                                                                was there last week for dim sum and still good as always.

                                                                                what did you find disappointing?

                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                  Hard / Stale Baos, tasteless chicken feet among others... happened on last 3 visits

                                                                                  1. re: Sgee

                                                                                    guess I can't comment because I don't order those items.

                                                                                    preserved salted yolk egg bun thing still awesome (according to the GF who actually eats this item)

                                                                                2. re: Sgee

                                                                                  Sgee, I am glad to hear your enthusiasm for and your endorsement of Elite!

                                                                                  Both Elite and Sea Harbour have been my favorites at one time or another. The ingredients at Sea Harbour are so clean and their shrimp items are very tasty. At Elite we are treated with royal care; their service is extraordinary and I like almost every dim sum item I have tried there.

                                                                                  As a total dim sum experience, I favor Elite over any other in the city.

                                                                                  We have yet to have dinner there. One of the managers continues to promise us that if we like their dim sum so much, we are in for a treat for dinner!

                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                    You summed it up best. I've been to Elite and Sea Harbour for dim sum and dinner multiple times. The cuisine at both are stellar. The service at Elite has been amazing--as good as any starred western restaurant. Service at Sea Harbour was good for the most part but so ridiculously awful on a Chinese New Year's eve that I no longer return.

                                                                                    For king crab 2 ways, I recommend Elite hands down.

                                                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                                                      Thanks, Porthos, for your dinner recommendation at Elite. We reside far from Elite, so we don't find ourselves in that neighborhood at dinnertime. However, I will remember your "king crab 2 ways" and get serious about having dinner there soon.

                                                                                      Our service at Elite is consistently great; what amazes me most is that everyone is being served with the same attentiveness. This says a lot about Elite!

                                                                                      We still enjoy Sea Harbour occasionally, and when we are in the mood for carts, there are many others that are good. But it is Elite that is doing everything well these days and offers us a superb dim sum experience unlike any other.

                                                                                    2. re: liu

                                                                                      I also prefer Elite over Sea Harbour. I've attended a few dinners and banquets there--completely satisfied. Both are great choices, though.

                                                                                      1. re: liu

                                                                                        Hi Liu, will have to check out Elite for my annual Chinese splurge dinner, abalone, crab etc..

                                                                                        I'm still scarred from my poor timing at Elite's former incarnation, had dinner a few weeks before they went under, needless to say it was disappointing.

                                                                                        1. re: Sgee

                                                                                          I hope you will be pleased for your "annual Chinese splurge dinner" at Elite!

                                                                                          The secret to their amazing service is to speak up -- kindly, of course -- if anything is not to your pleasure; they will make it "right." They really want you to enjoy your Elite experience and they are serious about their service.

                                                                                          Sgee, please do report back...with all the details!

                                                                                  2. re: uhockey

                                                                                    uhockey -

                                                                                    Dim sum for one is never wrong! Because you are having dim sum, so what could be bad?!

                                                                                    As a solo diner you either make fewer orders or, just know that you are not going to eat it all and will leave stuff at the restaurant or, what the hey - take it back to your hotel and nuke it for dinner. Not as good as fresh, but not bad : )

                                                                                    if you have time to preplan, you could contact chowhounders and see if you could set up a lunch? That way you'd have company and more choices : )

                                                                                    But honestly, ordering more than you can eat is not a horrific option : )

                                                                                    And where are you staying? That will affect your dim sum commute...

                                                                                    Happy eating!

                                                                                    1. re: happybaker

                                                                                      Staying in BH as that is where the conference is, but I'll have a car for a couple days.

                                                                                      If I could get a group that'd be great, but a Monday or Tuesday (11/14-11/15) afternoon probably does not fit the schedule of most.

                                                                                      Regarding how big an eater I am......I get by. If you're bored my posts on the France board (Le Cinq and L'Ami Jean tasting menus same day,) New York (EMP lunch tasting, Corton Dinner Tasting,) or Chicago (Trotter's tasting, TRU dessert tasting) will give some insight. By LA eating standards - Breakfast at The Griddle Cafe followed by a proper lunch and dinner wasn't too tough. ;-)

                                                                                      http://endoedibles.com

                                                                                      1. re: uhockey

                                                                                        I just took a look at your blog (nice blog) and it appears you're used to cutting through multi-course meals (some perty nice ones at that). Yes, you'll have no problem eating through a good sampling of the menu.

                                                                                      2. re: happybaker

                                                                                        Also - where/how would one set up a meet-up using Chowhound? As someone with lots of fine dining experience who has frequently met up with diners from the boards (actually going to ink and potentially LQ@SK with local hounds on this trip) I'd love to find a small group for Elite or Jitlada if there was a way to coordinate it save for random e-mails.

                                                                                        http://endoedibles.com

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Jitlada
                                                                                        5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                                                          1. re: uhockey

                                                                                            Glad to see you are looking for company on a dim sum cruise! The idea is to eat one of many, not many of one.

                                                                                              1. re: lapizzamaven

                                                                                                Four works but eight is best IMO. Many dim sum items come four per order.

                                                                                      3. Reviving this thread because Elite is where we were going to go, but feel free to break off into new if necessary, mods...

                                                                                        What's dim sum etiquette if there are no carts? I've only had dim sum once, with experienced dim summers, and there were carts, so we just pointed at pretty stuff. The husband and I have never been by ourselves and don't quite know the protocol - I take it from reading above that you order in stages so that you're served in stages?

                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: thursday

                                                                                          Yes. Instead of carts you are ordering off a menu and you can take your time and not order everything at once. Most places have pictures on the menu like Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant in rosemead
                                                                                          The problem with Dim sum is when you get seated you tend to order everything at once since the carts descend on you and 30 minutes later your done.

                                                                                          1. re: thursday

                                                                                            Dim sum, for me, is more about the food, and less about the mode of its delivery.

                                                                                            Dim sum culture, like a lot of other food cultures, evolves. It just so happens that most dim sum places in Hong Kong (home of this particular genre of dining) are currently no longer using carts, preferring customers to instead order the food hot from the kitchen, instead of placing pre-made portions under a moving heating lamp (AKA cart) and letting it sit until someone points at it. This allows for better pacing for the meal as well, since customers don't have to wait for a particular cart item to make its way around the dining room before reaching him/her.

                                                                                            In the U.S., Elite and Sea Harbour are trying to bring this "new" approach to dim sum to the masses, but I guess there will always be some nostalgic resistance.

                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                              The "buffet rule" (g) with either stationary food or stationary diners has an advantage for children and those that like to eat "now" and get going. The standard model is kind of stood on its head a bit with cart dim sum, which is funny in a way.

                                                                                            2. re: thursday

                                                                                              Order in stages.

                                                                                              It's hard to be rude in a Chinese dim sum restaurant.

                                                                                              Usually it's the natives who are the most offensive.

                                                                                              Enjoy your time.

                                                                                              1. re: thursday

                                                                                                You will be given a sheet on which you can mark the desired dishes. Be aware that the dishes will come out in a random order depending on what is cooked first in the kitchen. This can be inconvenient if your dessert comes out first.

                                                                                                The way to avoid this is to order in batches. On your first sheet, order the main dim sum dishes. When you are part way finished with these, ask for another sheet. Then you can order new dishes or re-order any dishes that you really like. When you are almost ready for dessert, get yet another sheet and order your dessert dishes.

                                                                                                If you want a truly "authentic" experience, fight to pay the bill. This may be difficult if only you and your husband will be eating. I can say from experience that old-school Cantonese patrons will stage some truly epic fights in order to get the bill. But if you're not sure how to do it, my advice is don't do it. Old-school Cantonese patrons will know where to draw the line so that the cops aren't called in to quell a riot. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                                  I know this first hand from my own experiences dealing with my in-laws, but I've always wondered whether or not there is any genuinely, authentically generous element in these bill-paying debates, or is it utterly and completely a matter of "keeping face" and maintaining the cultural obligations and hierarchical Confucian traditions? (Or a combination of both?)

                                                                                                  My impression is that it's a matter of face, and little else, but I am open to being shown otherwise.

                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                    From my experience, it is about etiquette that's not practiced that often amongst the younger generation. When i was younger, I saw numerous "fights" at other tables. These days, it's not quite as pronounced. I would say that it's not hierarchical. Family friends/peers fight amongst themselves. Additionally, it seems to be more Cantonese than universally Chinese.

                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                      but I've always wondered whether or not there is any genuinely, authentically generous element in these bill-paying debates, or is it utterly and completely a matter of "keeping face" and maintaining the cultural obligations and hierarchical Confucian traditions? (Or a combination of both?)
                                                                                                      ____________________

                                                                                                      Both. But for many one is the same as the other.

                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                        Many po po types have long given up busting out the crane or tiger claw style kung fu techniques of snatching the bill off the waiter's hands (also to avoid injury or physical harm to others, as well as the food on the table), in favor of stealth maneuvers, ie slipping the credit card stealthily to the waitstaff on their way to the restroom mid way, and when that technique was overly used, it evolved to being the early bird to the restaurant before anyone else came and giving the credit card to the manager with the promise not to accept payment from others. The James Bond approach became more efficient than Shaolin, but those epic fights were once a marvel to behold.

                                                                                                        1. re: K K

                                                                                                          Amateurs...

                                                                                                          True mastery is when the payer slips into the restaurant the day before the meal, and either puts down a deposit or (if the menu is already set) outright pays for the meal & gratuity in advance. Thus, no bill is presented during the actual gathering.

                                                                                                          Carl Douglas would be impressed.

                                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                            It doesn't work if your Mom knows the staff. I once was able to steal the check and present a credit card in one fell swoop. I gave it to the guy. My mom looked at him and said, "I'm going to pay for it." The guy put my credit card down, took my mom's cash, and went on his way.

                                                                                                            1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                                              Soon to be a best seller: Sun Tzu: The Art of Stealth Payment With Cash Against Friends and Relatives, with the Foreword: Know Thy Restaurant Management.