Bao On Beverly Blvd.--Thumbs Partly Up
I know what you're thinking. Dim sum near the Beverly Center. Targeted clientele is not Asian diners. Westside prices. Existing owner converted operation from a Korean BBQ (Jian) to dim sum. Sounds like Xino of Santa Monica all over again. But where Xino was four thumbs down, Bao does have some positive characteristics. The dim sum chefs are from San Gabriel Valley restaurants (or as the hostess said, "San Ga-bri-elle") though it wasn't specified what their duties were at said restaurants. I had four items. The baked bao (pineapple tops) was quite good. The scallop dumpling had a nice touch with green peas mixed in. The chicken spinach dumpling had a nice wrapper, and is an item that we cholesterol watchers can't find in the SGV. The chicken potsticker was strange--looked like one of those grilled shrimp paste/fish paste things (or a similarly shaped ground pork item) and was overly salty and not very good. Most items were $5 plus or minus, so you are paying more than double than Chinatown or SGV prices for lesser quality, which obviously means you don't come here if you have other dim sum alternatives. But it is all dim sum all the time, lunch and dinner, with just a handful of other selections. There are almost 50 dim sum items on the menu, including beef tripe in XO sauce, but strangely excluding any kind of rice noodle roll. One plus is that there are a number of items made with chicken that would otherwise be made with pork in an authentic dim sum place. So if you're hankering dim sum at night, looking for more chicken options, or live within walking distance, this could be the place for you. Bao is at 8256 Beverly Blvd. at Sweetzer.