dim sum on the westside
Is there such a thing as GOOD DIM SUM ON THE WESTSIDE?
"Good," is a relative, vague and personal term. I live in the Westside and my personal answer is not simple. As far as I know, there is one place that attempts a proper dim sum in the Westside-proper. The Palace on Wilshire and Barrington in West LA is the third or fourth iteration at this location to attempt at this, and it seems hit & miss. Bao is on Beverly, which is not imho in the Westside - more midtown - and while seems at first to be a step-up, has also been hit & miss. These assessments are according to some very respected Chinese cuisine Hounds. See this very recent thread that directly addresses both places vis-a-vis:
Tepid dim sum in the Westside was not always the case. The location that The Palace resides used to house a restaurant that offered pretty legitimate dim sum. Another Chinese Restaurant further west on Wilshire in Santa Monica also offered (imho) even better dim sum. This was back in the mid to late 90s. If I had to guess, insufficient demand and the difficulty in sustaining a work force that could pull off a legitimate dim sum operation in the Westside proved too difficult.
The eating public is somewhat more educated now and willing to venture into more ethnic zones of food. Many comment that dim sum is considered "cool" in certain circles. Factors like these may bring back more attempts at dim sum in this end of town, but it will always be at a cost. Rent is astronomical here compared to the SGV. Those who have the skills to contribute to dining experiences like dim sum most likely prefer to live in Chinese-dense communities found in areas like the SGV - the commute and/or sacrifice of cultural comforts and necessities can be a deal-breaker. Ultimately, this will affect the consumer in two ways: prices will be relatively excessive and/or the quality will not be up to par with those houses in the SGV or even Chinatown.
My personal solution is to head out to the SGV and enjoy the dim sum at places like Sea Harbour, Elite, 888, Lunasia, or more recently King Hua. The quality is at levels more than acceptable, the prices are a bargain no matter how one looks at it, and the drive from the Westside on a typical weekend morning is less than 30 minutes - less predictable during the week. Go early, leave early, and traffic is not an issue. I think my current personal best was on a Mother's Day at Elite in Monterey Park. Arriving at Elite at 0820 via a 25-minute drive, dim sum for about an hour, and back home around 1000.
So is there dim sum in the Westside that would be personally worth my time and effort? I guess my answer would be no.
When it comes to restaurants and either having a craving that you can't scratch at all, or maybe giving it a scratching, that while it won't be perfect still may leave you going "aaaaah" then I am firm believer in that lyric that Steven Stills wrote:
"If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with"
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