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Reviving the Sunset Park dim sum discussion: East Harbor is our favorite

famdoc Feb 4, 2013 08:54 AM

After years of being loyal to Pacificana for dim sum, we started to go to East Harbor about a year or so ago. On a Sunday, there can be up to an hour wait at either place, but we just found the quality of offerings and the range of offerings to be a bit better at East Harbor.

We returned yesterday and had what we thought was our finest lunch at East Harbor. For whatever reason, the wait was just five minutes.
In addition to the usual selections of gao (including delicious har gow), bao, congee, lotus-leaf wrapped rice, cakes, buns and sweets, we really enjoyed their salt-baked octopus and their clams in a glutinous soy-based sauce. A sweet roll filled with still-warm black sesame paste was the best sweet item we've ever had at a dim sum lunch.

We were lucky enough to have a server who was learning English, asked us for the English name of several food items, complimented my wife and son and generally made the time spent more pleasant (anglicized, his name is Leo, although I thing his name is more like Li Hua).

East Harbor is a lively place to enjoy dim sum, with large tables filled with both Chinese and American guests. Service is excellent, as is the food.
Dim sum for 6, with more than enough plates for everyone, was $71.

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  1. a
    AubWah Feb 4, 2013 04:14 PM

    East harbor makes Pacificana look like amateur hour

    2 Replies
    1. re: AubWah
      Peter Cuce Feb 5, 2013 01:20 AM

      In which ways?

      1. re: Peter Cuce
        a
        AubWah Feb 5, 2013 03:57 AM

        The chef's dedication to his craft

    2. David11238 Feb 5, 2013 04:04 AM

      Pacificana, or at least the former and present entities that used to occupy that spot, were the Diamond Standard at one time some years back. Pacificana, IMO, went kapock at least five years ago. Most of the dim sum they put out was inedible because they were cold, greasy and caustic with salt. I too am a fan of East Harbor. Have been for around three or four years. I also like Bamboo Garden, although in fairness, I haven't been there for a year or so.

      1 Reply
      1. re: David11238
        famdoc Feb 5, 2013 07:03 AM

        Kapock? That's a new one by me. Like it, though. It's like a mash-up of kaput and schlock.

      2. m
        mike in brooklyn Feb 5, 2013 06:06 AM

        Been going to East Harbor since it opened - perhaps best in Brooklyn but not too innovative - same dishes. We used to
        go to a place on 18th Ave and 63rd or 62nd St. in Brooklyn
        which offered dim sum unique to their location - stopped going because it was so crowded.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mike in brooklyn
          missmasala Feb 5, 2013 12:20 PM

          You must mean world tong. That place had great and innovative dim sum but it did get too crowded and then i believe it closed--i think it's long gone.

          I like east harbor. was just there last weekend. their dim sum is fresh and good, though there aren't too many innovative things or standouts.

          pacificana does not have very good dim sum, which is a shame because the physical space itself is so great. If only the food could live up to the promise of the space.

          there's also the giant place on 7th ave with a parking lot. (I forget the name.) they do decent dim sum, though i think east harbor is better.

          1. re: missmasala
            howdini Feb 15, 2013 03:06 PM

            l live around the corner from the former World Tong: it's changed ownership/management/names a couple of times since the original closed. lt's now called Good Day, and serves a fine dim sum: not as good as it used to be, for sure, tho l'm not sure how it compares to others. lt's always very crowded at lunch during the week and on weekends.

            l was actually blown away a couple of weeks ago by the deliciousness of their roast bbq pork, which had a great 5-spice/star anise flavor. My son ordered it a week later and said it was even better, but l had it last night and it was just meh.

        2. Peter Cuce Feb 9, 2013 04:59 PM

          I went with a friend on a recent weekday and we both found the dim sum to be some of the worst we've had, which is strange, because the times I had been before I found it to be pretty solid, although nowhere near amazing. It's possible that these issues are because it was past noon, so I will try again earlier in the day.

          Besides nothing being especially flavorful or fresh, the turnip cake was cold, the char siu bao had a weird minty flavor and was too sweet, and a rice pot with pork was wet & mushy. Despite being still hungry, we didn't even finish everything we ordered and instead headed to Ba Xuyen for some banh mi and sihn to bo. Unfortunately No. 1 Ice Cream has closed so we couldn't even drown our sorrows in durian ice cream.

          My friend, who visits Vancouver once a year, mostly to eat, remarked that if East Harbor were in Vancouver, it would be considered the worst dim sum restaurant in the entire city.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Peter Cuce
            Chandavkl Feb 15, 2013 07:18 PM

            Yeah, but the worst dim sum restaurant in Vancouver is still pretty good.

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