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Dim Sum in Sunny Isles

Chef Philip Ho just opened where Emerald coast used to be.... Dim Sum on rolling carts and or off the menu....... Just had 5 dim sums for lunch. place shows lots of promise....

Try the Black Truffle and Scallop dumplings and the spring rolls are fabulous!

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  1. Think I know where I'm going this weekend.

    2 Replies
      1. re: The Chowfather

        Hit it today for lunch. Very pleased. Will be following up with a post on FFT. Thanks Bigstu for the tip.

    1. As promised, some more follow-up here ->


      We only tried about a half-dozen items, but they were all very good. I like the combination of cart service and checklist menu, service was friendly and the place is roomy and clean.

      Figured out that Chef Philip Ho used to be the dim sum chef at the Setai Restaurant on South Beach, which I'd take to be a pretty good sign.

      Location is:
      16850 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles

      It's back toward the northwest corner of one of the first shopping center complexes just north of 163rd St. Causeway on the west side of Collins Ave. in Sunny Isles.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Frodnesor

        Great photos, Frod.

        What are the prices like? For instance, how much did the steamed pork buns cost?

        1. re: racer x

          all Dim Sum $3-$5.... Not sure exactly either $3 or $4 for 3 buns

          1. re: Bigstu99

            Prices for dim sum range from $3-5 depending on size and ingredients. The steamed roast pork buns were a "small" which are $3 an order (the baked ones are a "medium" which are $3.50).

            Larger noodle and rice dishes and the like are more expensive (and larger).

      2. Five of us dined there today, ate everything, came to only $100 Loved it. Great waiter just in from San Francisco with 20 years experience in the Hong Kong style. We will be back with the kids.

        1. Just had a nice dim sum dinner there (I know, take it to the NAF thread, don't judge me). Very good food and service and I didn't have to get on the Palmetto to get there. Everything tasted fresh and honest, and the dim sum prices were great, especially by south Florida standards.

          Our waiter was very helpful, and as the place is new, was good at correcting/clarifying some of the translations on the menu. The black truffle and scallop dumplings were recommended and were awesome. The har siu bao could have been larger and better, but for 9 PM in a new restaurant on a Monday, that's no problem at all, yet.

          I can't wait to get back to eat off the dinner menu, everything the diners around us were eating looked and smelled good, though the prices appeared high (I wonder if some of them are meant to be shared?).

          My last observation is that all of the menu, dim sum and dinner, looked really forward-thinking for a Chinese restaurant that's not in some fusionland, and I hope they keep that up.

          1. This place was great! Thanks for the heads up. We destroyed some dim sum on Saturday afternoon! Hard to say what was my favorite because I enjoyed it all. I'm not sure I'd say it's better than Tropical but it might be. It's worth the drive from the Grove on occasion if I want somewhere different though. Service was superb too.

            1. Finally a place in South FL that brings back the authenticity of the best dim sum I've had in the SGV just east of LA. Every thing was spot on, service was great.

              14 Replies
                1. re: lax2mia

                  It's Triumphal Palace in it's heyday, not quite Elite. I will forever pine for my beloved Sea Harbor.

                  1. re: Tinitime

                    Ok, you convinced me. I am heading over.

                    1. re: tpigeon

                      Thanks everyone for the reviews/tips. On a pure taste basis only Hakkasan had better dim sum but this place has much more variety and is literally 1/4 (or less) the price.

                      Miami Beach, FL, Miami Beach, FL

                      1. re: tpigeon

                        Made it over the weekend. Service was horrible (in a clueless sense, but friendly). It's an odd space. Dim sum was decent. On par with other local offerings with, I agree, Hakkasan being better. Also fried items were much less greasy than Tropical. Glad it's open. Was packed on a rainy Saturday lunch.

                        Miami Beach, FL, Miami Beach, FL

                        1. re: lax2mia

                          How bad can service be in a dim sum place? Did they run over your foot with a cart?

                          The space bears the obvious scars of having been formerly deployed as an AYCE buffet.

                          1. re: Frodnesor

                            How bad can service be well lets see what can bother someone.....
                            1. The waitress does not speak English/Spanish
                            2. They do not know what is in some of the items on the cart.
                            3. They have to get someone to help you
                            4. the management comes over too many times to see if everything ok after second waiter waitress comes over.

                            The only legitimate complaints I had about service..

                            1. Second server told me wrong Items in the dim sum (turned out ok for me but bad for a person with food allergies or a veggie).

                            2. Servers did not know what condiment went with what dim sum.

                            granted #2 only happened within 2 hours of the place opening and not since!

                            By the way made it for diner too food from the menu is Great!

                            1. re: Frodnesor

                              C'mon, you'd think I'd say anything about the service if it wasn't really bad?

                              First there were no carts going around when we entered, and none came out after 15 minutes of being there. They took so long to come out that we thought they'd switched to menu service only. Then poof, cart arrives. Then another long lull. We pulled a waiter aside and asked if we could check off what we wanted on the menu. He said no, to wait for the carts. A few minutes later carts appear then disappear. Table next to us checks off items on the menu and hands it to their waiter. 10 minutes later poof, a tray of dim sum for the party of 8. Meanwhile our dumbass party of two sits and waits for carts. Manager goes into excrutiating detail of what dim sum is to the table next to us and says to either get food from the carts or to check off what they want from the menu in complete opposition to what our waiter said.

                              And along the lines of Bigstu's comments, pushcart ladies seemed clueless of the contents of half of what they were trying to hawk.

                              Like I said, not horrible service in terms of attitude, more in terms of incompetence. Maybe it's my fault that I've lost my "cavernous dim sim hall in Monterey Park" attitude from living here so long. But what do I know about service at a dim sum restaurant...

                              1. re: lax2mia

                                I agree with the service issues, but gave them much benefit of the doubt because the place is new and pretty large. It also did not take away from my personal experience.

                                1. re: tpigeon

                                  I guess we got lucky. Our experience was flawless service-wise and service actually went above and beyond the call of duty. Couldn't have been more accommodating and servers/cart ladies knew each and every item.

                                  1. re: Blind Mind

                                    I did not have problems ordering from the cart or the menu. The only problems I ran into was from a little bit of too much checking how my meal was done by 4 different people, and the fact that some of the push cart people did not know what some of the items were. Both of these things I could easily live with and would not prevent repeat visits from me. I like this place.

                                2. re: lax2mia

                                  At least they didn't run over your foot with the cart.

                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                    I will forevermore watch my feet...and to be safe will stay well clear of the congee cart.

                        2. re: Tinitime

                          That's good enough to get me there this weekend!

                    2. Going for lunch today. Can't wait to try and see how it compares to NYC, SF, Seattle and Chicago. I hope they have XLB (soup dumplings)? I will report back.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: rebus1805

                        Did not see Soup Dumplings there...only Place I know is Joe's Shanghai in NYC..... You can make your own Soup dumplings.... the secret is find a ice cube tray with really really small cubes and freeze your chicken stock..... The rest is the same as any dumpling plus a cube!

                        1. re: Bigstu99

                          Have found XLB in other places in NYC and in other cities. But Joe's are still the gold standard for me.

                          1. re: rebus1805

                            Chu's in the Gables is the only place down here that I know has XLB. Ho does not.

                          2. re: Bigstu99

                            Report on dim sum lunch today. The decor has been changed from Emerald Coast. Tablecloths and fancy coverings on the seats. Helpful and friendly service. We sampled various dishes (8 in all) and liked them all. Congee with pork, shrimp and pork dumplings ( most places call them siu mai) , shrimp crepe, baked pork buns, chef special dumplings, chiu chow dumplings, truffle and scallop dumplings and a dessert gelatin. We had two dishes from the carts and the rest we ordered off the menu. We enjoyed all our choices and I loved the dessert dish which was longan and gobi berry gelatin. Very good. The lunch bill was $30 including tax but before tip.

                            Two negatives, no soup dumplings and no fried squid which are two of my favorites. I was quite pleased with lunch and will return for dinner. You can get dim sum at night and they also have an extensive dinner menu with some intriguing choices. BTW, no website yet. I urged the manager to be online ASAP. I want this restaurant to succeed and hope more Chowhounds will make the trip to Sunny Isles Beach to give them a try.

                            Emerald Coast
                            16850 Collins Ave Ste 106A, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

                            1. re: rebus1805

                              Have been there twice since it opened. Everything is great there, but to report, the manager has mentioned that they will be doing XLB in the future, just not now, since they are also trying to figure out their menu so far. Also excellent is the pulled noodles with scallions as well as the pan-fried vegetable buns (filled with mushroom).

                              I'm also excited to try them for dinner - was intimated to me that they will make whatever dish we wanted for dinner, included fresh fish catches.

                              But, we are very excited for this then.
                              Will be back soon again.

                        2. I forwarded the thread to a friend known to lament the lack of dim sum, and she went for dinner. Though I told her dim sum was all day, I think she was confused to not see carts and ordered regular dinner items, including Skate, which came smelling of ammonia. She sent it back, and doing further research found that skate can develop this smell when handled incorrectly or not fresh.

                          I'm going to chalk her experience up to "ordering mcDonalds in Paris" (ie: stick with dim sum at a place lauded for dim sum), and I'm still enthusiastic about going for dim sum this weekend.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: non sequitur

                            FYI- the carts are out during lunch and end at 2:30.

                          2. Went for Dim Sum on Sunday and had: shrimp dumpling, scallop/truffle dumpling, mushroom dumpling, shrimp shumai, chicken/pepper rice cake, honey pork, garlic ribs, turnip cake, spring rolls, cha siu bao. Think the place is a great value spent about $40, atmosphere fine and service was attentive but the cart pushers should know what they have inside dumplings. Management was on top of everything though. The food just did not hit the spot for me, pungent and traditional but nothing to draw me back in a hurry. I've only gone once and that is not enough to make a complete call. I wish the place and chef good luck Dim Sum is not easy to pull off.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: nfood

                              Report on lunch today. Place was full. Ordered clams with black bean sauce, taro dumplings with pork, hand pulled noodles with chives and mushrooms, salt and pepper calamari, spare ribs and bean curd dumplings. Service friendly and quick. Carts rolling. Did not like the spare ribs, sent them back and were not charged. All the other choices were very good, especially the noodles and the calamari. The clams were delicious in that black bean sauce. $30 before tip. We loved it and are very happy Chef Philip Ho is in Sunny Isles Beach. It is definitely worth a drive. Comparable to some of the best we have had in other cities with real Chinatowns.

                            2. Was there yesterday half full for luch everything great 20% off lunch til the 19th of Oct.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Bigstu99

                                I went last 2 weekends, and could not figure out why everything cost LESS than expected. The 20% explains it. Reexamination of the bill also showed the discount broken out at the bottom. Nice surprise. where did you find out about this?

                                I think I was there the first time on the same day as Lax2mia: it was raining, there were no carts, we ordered, then there were carts. The second time (yesterday) the place was packed and we had to wait for a seat. When was the last time that happened here in the off season! On this second visit it was strictly carts, NO menu. Not even offered.

                                Since we already have some favorites (hand pulled mushroom and chive noodles for one), it was disappointing to not have the chance to order, though I do like spontaneous opportunities to see and try things I might not have thought to order.

                                I think the best option would be hybrid: some from menu, supplemented by cart. Next time, if no menu is offered (cart only), I will remember to order a few items from memory, then go cart diving.

                                1. re: non sequitur

                                  edit - scratch what I said, the carts vs no carts probably had nothing to do with going there early. I think I was there the same day you and lax were as well. It was the day of the tornado warnings, right?

                              2. No more rolling carts during the week....Weekends only for the rolling carts.... In a way a plus tried bunch of stuff they never roll arouns..... Pan fried Red bean and watercrest nuts off the charts....duck dumplings where great but they stuck to the paper! Shrimp in rice noodles yum.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Bigstu99

                                  I think you mean red bean and water chestnuts?

                                  Now that you mention it, I did notice that the dumplings all seemed to stick to the paper inside the steam basket.

                                2. I hate to say it but Philip Ho has really gone down hill lately. While I have not been to the weekend brunch they have cut down on the size of the menu. They will still make things to order for you but beware what you ask for. This is a report over many visits. Service has gone down hill you have to ask for condiments that should come with the dim sum. Special orders coming out frozen, then cold then too hot to eat. Pan fried noodles coming out soggy and management arguing it was the sauce when the edges of the noodles aren't even browned. New waitresses not even waiting for tea to be seeped and pouring right away. Also the food in general has been dumbed down a little it used to be every mouthful was an explosion of flavor , now it just is ok

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Bigstu99

                                    That is too bad. I have only been once (several months ago) but really liked it on that visit. I was considering it for Father's Day.

                                    Do others agree with Stu's observations?

                                    1. re: BigBonesBradley

                                      We were just there over Memorial Day weekend (Monday actually) and didn't have any issues. They were doing checklist service not pushcart but all the dim sum came out at appropriate temperature and I didn't notice any decline in food quality. The service has never exactly been a precision operation and is variable, though I've never experienced rudeness.

                                      1. re: Frodnesor

                                        Went for Mother's Day and despite the crowds dim sum was still some of the best in town. Agree, you don't go for service (although my fiancee says it warmly reminds her of Hong Kong service so to her it's a plus). Can't say I've ordered much off the menu so can't comment on any detrioration in quality on that front, but I till recommend the dim sum.

                                    2. re: Bigstu99

                                      I went this past Sunday and we had the dim sum from the carts. Service was good despite a big crowd. Dim sum was very good with a good variety of dumplings. Their XLB (soup dumplings) were OK. Very friendly and helpful servers. Good congee, siu mai and shrimp rice paste. Food was all warm and tasty. Seven dishes for two for a cost of $25, including tax but not the tip.

                                      1. re: rebus1805

                                        LIke I said I've been going midweek when there are only a few tables going. World of difference when they are slammed!

                                        1. re: Bigstu99

                                          Always the case with dim sum. High volume = fresh hot dim sum.

                                    3. Hadn't been there in several months, what happened?

                                      The first sign was how many empty tables there were at peak time, 1:15PM today. The second second sign was a totally different staff. Not a singular familiar face. Oddly, not a single male except for a lone water boy.

                                      The portions seemed smaller. Two of our orders from the carts were cold.

                                      Is it over???

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: miaedu

                                        I went about 2 months ago, must have been right around the time of the changeover. Even though I was there for carts, there were menus on the table. I opened the cover and right at the top of page 1 was "shark fin soup", which kind of caused me to lose my appetite. I haven't been back since.

                                        I don't want to open a debate over food ethics that will spill over into veal and foie gras, but for me shark finning is such an ecological disaster in the making (distinguishing it from gravage-feeding ducks for foie), that I couldn't continue to go to Ho.

                                        I realize the soup may be offered at EVERY dim sum place, and I guess I'll have to inquire, but if I do I may find myself eating much less dumplings.

                                        I felt so guilty after my meal I wrote my State Senator to ask for legislation banning the trafficking in fins (which 5 other states have already enacted).

                                      2. if you notice the name of the restaurant has changed. it was Philip Ho's, now it is Chef Ho.

                                        Philip Ho's at sunny isle has gone out of business two months ago.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: keithtang

                                          same owner? whats the latest?

                                          i went 6 months back or so. thought it was good but not amazing.....

                                          1. Chef Ho closed in late December 2013, however there's a note saying that the place is now rented and it will be SEAFOOD.