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South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

So says Kristie Hang, whose track record has been excellent. The new dishes sound very interesting. Of course I'll probably never find out because after everybody hears about this I won't be able to get a foot into the restaurant.

http://www.kristiehang.com/din-tai-fu...

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  1. Black sesame XLB??? Is that available in Arcadia? If not, I may need to make a trip out to the South OC in the near future....

    6 Replies
    1. re: paranoidgarliclover

      The Arcadia DTF took the black sesame dumplings off the menu about 5 years ago.

      But they've always kept some handy for anyone who asks politely. Which we always do. :)

      1. re: Bradbury

        Seriously, this might be enough to bring me back to DTF. ;)

        Although I suppose I could've just gone next door to Phoenix if I had wanted black sesame *that* badly. ;)

        1. re: paranoidgarliclover

          is black sesame a dessert dumpling ???? ir us ut stuffed ub there w the pork ??????

          1. re: kevin

            Your typing is sometimes indecipherable, kevin.

            1. re: J.L.

              my bad. it should read:

              is the black sesame stuffed with pork or is it just a dessert. ?????

              1. re: kevin

                It's a dessert item, not savory.

    2. Even before this I was counting on not being able to set foot in the place for the first 6 months. Unless we are talking very odd hours like 3-4pm or 9pm.

      1. I've been to all the socal locations...food is pretty much the same, IMO. Which is to say, delicious. Everyone in my family loves it. The new location in Glendale is great...much closer to us, and it's enjoyable to kill the time while you wait for your table.

        Not sure why people think it will be such a madhouse...just put down your name and go shopping, or browsing. It's easy to kill a couple hours in South Coast Plaza...and I don't really like to shop!

        9 Replies
        1. re: manku

          A couple of hours wait for lunch is the definition of madhouse for me.

          Window shopping can be dangerous and that lunch can get expensive really quickly all of the sudden...

          1. re: Porthos

            ESPECIALLY at South Coast Plaza compared to Americana (and of course, Arcadia). At least at Americana you can hole yourself up at Barnes and Noble and read (or use their wifi) for the time. No such refuge from the expensive shops at SCP.

            1. re: Porthos

              i guess expensive even for a baller. :)

            2. re: manku

              True manku, you can just shop around South Coast Plaza and just have them call/text you when they are ready. However, given the much anticipated opening there and the signs that have had people literally waiting for years (okay, maybe 1-2, but still)...I expect the waits to be longer than Glendale or Arcadia swiftly. The 1.5 to 2 hour waits up in LA will seem to be fast in comparison. There is only so much mall you can shop while you wait, even at one of the bigger malls like SCP.

              1. re: thewongmann

                I was in glendale yesterday at lunch..wait was 20 minutes at 2pm.

                I've never waited more than 45 minutes at any location, even during peak weekend hours.

                Arcadia isn't that far from OC...if people wanted DTF that bad, they would have made the drive already.

                It will be a zoo the first few weeks it opens, especially on weekends, I would imagine.

                1. re: manku

                  I've never waited more than 45 minutes at any location, even during peak weekend hours.
                  ==========================
                  Arcadia used to be at least 1 hour wait before opening of the second location. I made the mistake of going on New Years Day to the Arcadia branch. That was a 2 hour wait on BOTH sides

                  Arcadia isn't that far from OC...if people wanted DTF that bad, they would have made the drive already.
                  ====================================
                  It's about a 2+ hour drive round trip so essentially a wash or worse.

                  1. re: Porthos

                    Waiting time today is supposedly over 3 hours.

                  2. re: manku

                    Recently went by the Glendale location around 7 pm on Sunday. Stated waiting time was an hour and a quarter. And remember there aren't that many Chinese living in that area. As opposed to South Coast Plaza where half the clientele seems to be Asian.

              2. My question would be if they have a "bar" section like they do in Glendale where you can skip the line. If so, I know exactly what I am doing the next time I'm in Orange County.

                5 Replies
                1. re: thewongmann

                  The do have a bar, according to the OC Weekly: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforki...

                  Wonderful. Instead of waiting in line for a table, I'll wait for a spot at the bar and eat the same food.

                  1. re: thewongmann

                    Assuming no one else wants a spot at the bar to also skip the wait and eat the same food ;)

                    1. re: Porthos

                      Never really had a problem getting a seat at the bar area in Glendale if my party/I wanted to within 5-10 minutes or so of entering.

                      However, SCP might be a different animal.

                      1. re: thewongmann

                        Current wait time for the bar is 1.5 hours for a party of 1.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          Please let us know if it's worth the wait! Also, would love to know what you liked, and didn't. Do the have a full bar...I mean with martinis?

                2. Apparently large crowd of Chinese hipsters waiting at Din Tai Fung South Coast Plaza. I hope one of them reports in.

                  1. and this blogger is very easy on the eyes which always helps. :)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: kevin

                      Kevin is indeed a fine, fine judge of all kinds of dumplings.

                        1. re: kevin

                          Well she is a red carpet reporter at entertainment events too.

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            makes sense, and cents.

                            thanks for that.

                        2. Yikes! 3 to 4 hour wait expected all week long.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            Wouldn't it save time to drive from the OC to Arcadia?

                            1. re: mc michael

                              But apparently the South Coast Plaza food is much better. It's not like 85 Degrees where the stuff is the same at all locations.

                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                i may have missed some stuff up thread, but C, you saying that South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung is supposed to be better than the original for LA area Arcadia one ?????

                                thanks man.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  To clarify the heading on this thread, the knock on Arcadia is that it pales compared to locations like Taipei. Apparently Costa Mesa doesnt.

                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                    Haven't tried the Costa Mesa location yet, but so far, the Taipei DTF remains the title of Emperor of DTF in my book.

                            2. re: Chandavkl

                              does it have the full bar like the relatively new joint in Glendale does ???????

                              1. re: kevin

                                According to the OC Weekly, yes. There is a modest "bar and lounge" so it's possible to wait less than a couple hours for a table at DTF in SCP. http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforki...

                              2. re: Chandavkl

                                Okay, I'm not in your area but just have to ask. If you get there for lunch about a half hour before they open, is there a wait beyond that? We went to the one in Bellevue/Seattle and did that and waltzed right in.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  They open at 11am, so it would be a very early lunch.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Based on post at the bottom of this thread, arriving at 9am today to make the 10am weekend opening was sufficient to make the first seating.

                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                      Just look upon it as a dim-sum equivalent :)

                                      They were the best XLB (oops, I first wrote dim sum!) I've ever had. But I haven't been to China.

                                       
                                       
                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                        And actually, 30 minutes would've been sufficient today for immediate seating...but after that, it got crowded fast. When we left at 11:30, there was minimal outside queue to leave your ph#.

                                  2. Today there was a 1.5 - 2 hr wait for parties of 2.

                                    I asked if they did to-go, they said not for another couple weeks.

                                    Took a look inside and it was really nice inside, looked like there was a bar.

                                    1. I always thought the difference between DTF Taiwan and DTF USA is the water for the XLB skins.

                                      So unless DTF SCP is importing Taiwan water ...

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        I'm surprised anyone is even having this conversation...every DTF I've been to in the USA has been virtually identical. Some blogger, who got invited to the opening and may live in OC, says it's like Taiwan and everyone buys it hook, line an sinker.

                                        Next thing you know we're going to discussing the superiority of the McRib at the newest McDonalds :)

                                        PS. I love DTF, and will probably go next time I'm staying down in OC. But I'd bet the farm it's the same as the other three in LA.

                                        1. re: manku

                                          South Coast Plaza branch had better be better than Arcadia or Glendale. It is apparently substantially more expensive.

                                          1. re: manku

                                            Oh, don't kid about McD's! Many yrs ago, only certain branches had been selected to test the McAngus burger. I didn't know that, and so I ordered a McAngus burger at the Brentwood location (after having it at the South Pas location and finding it much better than any other burger there) and the cashier was like, "What the hell are you taking about???"

                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                            My current DTF hierachy:

                                            Taipei >>> Shanghai > Arcadia > Tokyo > Glendale

                                            If Mrs. J.L. goes shopping at South Coast Plaza soon, maybe I'll tag along...

                                            1. re: J.L.

                                              If I'm in Shanghai or Taipei, and hungry for XLB, I think going to DTF would rank just above "poking retina with hot chopstick."

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                I'm with ya, but the thread is about the DTF... Savvy? :-)

                                                If I'm in SH, you'll find me at Yang's eating SJB. That, or getting some yellow croaker on at Old Jesse. Or hijacking the family dinner at some unfortunate farmer's place in Hangzhou.

                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                  DTF in places like China and Taiwan remind me of Hard Rock Cafe, circa 1980s.

                                          3. The DTF locations in Japan are really not that exceptional...

                                            1. Went tonight. The space is about 1.5x the size of the newer Arcadia branch. There is a full bar. The food is pretty much identical to the Arcadia branch. The exception being the pork XLB here was a bit more flavorful than the ones I had at the Arcadia branch about 1-2 months ago. Got the black truffle XLB at $22.5 for 5. My least favorite item. Finished 3 out of 5. Just overkill.

                                              Everything else was excellent:

                                              -spinach with bean curd and wine
                                              -house steamed chicken soup
                                              -pork XLB
                                              -truffle XLB *
                                              -pork and shrimp dumplings
                                              -shrimp fried rice
                                              -fried pork chop

                                              There are chicken, vegetarian, and fish dumplings for the bovine adverse.

                                              Whether it's worth the wait. Probably not but you're gonna have to do it if you want to try it within the next 6 months. I grabbed a number after the gym, went home and showered, ran some errands, and came back just in time to be seared promptly after 2 hours (quoted 2.5 hours at 5:45).

                                              A welcome addition.

                                               
                                               
                                              16 Replies
                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                Reminds me of one of my early visits to Bianco.

                                                Put name down, caught a movie at the Arizona Center, came back and grabbed a drink at Bar Bianco, then settled in nicely for some pistachio pizza.

                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                  That's a nice... oh, wait... they just called my name from the wait list at Chengdu Taste from 4.8 days ago. Gotta go!

                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                    From a trusted hound, Porthos: " The food is pretty much identical to the Arcadia branch."

                                                    ---------------------

                                                    thanx Porthos! :> saves most of us a bunch of wasted time. i figured it should be inline with the other So Cal branches.

                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                      Thanks, Porthos for another great report. Looks outstanding. Wow…did you eat all of that yourself? With $22.5 for the truffle dumplings alone, how much was your tab…for one, two? Do they serve food at the bar, and is the wait for the bar similar? Thanks!

                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                        yes, inquiring minds wants to know. :)

                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                          Most items are $8-9 an item. Bar was first come first serve so I didn't get a wait time. There was a seat at the bar for 1 available at 5:45. Nothing at 745. You get the full menu at the bar. You can expect to be stuffed for around $40-50pp.

                                                        2. re: Porthos

                                                          Thank you for the report and photos, Porthos. I am glad the shrimp fried rice and pork chop are as good as ever at that DTF location. I am also curious how their "appetizer" and spicy wontons are (I don't bother with their XLB anymore)

                                                          1. re: Ernie

                                                            I agree. The XLB is their weak link for me too. The crab and pork ones are just downright bad IMO. Much happier with their fried rice, the steamed soups, the noodles, pork chop, and shrimp/pork dumplings. Have to try these new pot stickers.

                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                              Where do you think the best XLB are to be found nowadays in OC?

                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                DTF.

                                                                My favorites are probably J&J in SGV for the crab and pork ones.

                                                              2. re: Porthos

                                                                Maybe this is the tactic I need to take to make me enjoy DTF. Have you ever found their fried rice too oily, though? Last time I had DTF was many yrs ago. I remember the fried rice being tasty but very, VERY, er, GLOSSY.

                                                                1. re: paranoidgarliclover

                                                                  I like it precisely because I find it less oily than most versions. Each grain is very al dente. Big fan of it. Especially the shrimp version.

                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                    Yeah, that's really odd.

                                                                    I don't think I've ever heard anyone describe the DTF fried as "oily" much less "too oily".

                                                                    The DTF fried is so light, if one is not careful, might mistake it for rice pilaf. Good stuff.

                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      The last time I stepped foot into a DTF was many yrs ago. My recollection was that the fried rice was oily. My recollection could be wrong. Or perhaps I hit it on an off day.

                                                                      Given the recs for the other dishes there (other than XLB), I should probably try the place again. Although I'll have to find a way to go during an off hr (the SGV is not easy for me to begin w/ and doing it during an off hr.... Oy).

                                                            2. re: Porthos

                                                              >> There are chicken, vegetarian, and fish dumplings for the bovine adverse.

                                                              Do you mean porcine (pork)? Bovine is beef. Does the SCP DTF offer beef XLB?

                                                              1. re: FallingLeaves

                                                                My bad. Porcine. Not bovine. Zoned out there. Thanks for the catch.

                                                            3. Got last 2 seats at bar sans wait. Here's their blood orange boba martini (almost too sweet)!

                                                               
                                                               
                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. Too bad that truffle XLB is no longer exclusive to Taipei's original location and the Glendale branch. I think it is time for DTF to offer it at their Arcadia locations too. Does anyone know if the Shanghai and Tokyo branch have truffle XLB on their menu?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: FallingLeaves

                                                                  realistically at those prices (i.e., not high enough to be truly something like alba white truffles or quality black truffles), their "truffle" XLB has a high chance of using that fake chinese truffle or they use miniscule amounts of whatever truffle they can get at cheap market prices.

                                                                  1. re: chowseeker1999

                                                                    Agree completely. I'm guessing canned Chinese truffles, maybe even truffle oil to enhance. Would not recommend it, although it's probably one of those things everyone has to try for themselves.

                                                                2. Decent sized queue 35 minutes prior to opening still.

                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                  1. re: JAB

                                                                    I hope you're seated right away!

                                                                    1. re: OCAnn

                                                                      I think that we will be since it's so big.

                                                                    2. re: JAB

                                                                      you there now ?????

                                                                      tell us how those truffle xlbs are.

                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                        Yup but, I'll be skipping those.

                                                                          1. re: Porthos

                                                                            darn, shouldn't you try it and be the judge ???

                                                                            Porthos, how is the dan dan noodles, shrimp fried rice, and the fish dumplings at this particular location ?????

                                                                            thanks man.

                                                                          2. re: JAB

                                                                            You might also want to skip the pork/shrimp shao mai.

                                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                                Adding the pork and vegetable steamed dumplings to the list of "skip it". Thought it was like the panfried ones in terms of pork/vegetables but very different. Mostly vegetables and lacking juice. Shrimp and pork steamed dumplings remain my go to.

                                                                        1. re: JAB

                                                                          Without getting into the food, what a wonderfully civilized lunch. From the decor to the restrooms to the music and especially to the well trained staff. My only complaint would be that the chairs could have been more comfortable.

                                                                          @ josephnl, I predict that you will love it here.

                                                                          1. re: JAB

                                                                            on to the food ??????????

                                                                            what you think ???????????????

                                                                            is the clientele very housewifey of the OC ??????????????

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              No, the clientele were very casual for the most part.

                                                                            2. re: JAB

                                                                              On to the food, we kept it basic and simple this 1st time at this location. We'll explore the menu further on subsequent visits. The fried pork chop appetizer was very moist and well seasoned. The house chicken noodle soup was fresh and clean and the noodles were nicely al dente. The shrimp fried rice was very good and was not oily at all. The sautéed spinach was again fresh and clean which seems to be the profile of their food. The pork XLB were just ok. The jasmine tea was very fragrant and flavorful and was served in what must have been an insulated "tea pot" which kept it very hot. I got a bottle of lucky Buddha beer which is just ok but, it comes in a fantastic 3D bottle which is a keeper. I then had a ballast point sculpin which was very fresh and cold. I can definitely see myself coming to the bar to drink sculpin and eat baos and dumplings.

                                                                              1. re: JAB

                                                                                Can't wait. Will try it soon!

                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                  I'm glad that you saw that and I hope that I'm right.

                                                                                  1. re: JAB

                                                                                    Is this joint loud, incessant chatter ???????

                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                      Not where we were which was the front area near the bar where there are a lot of 2 tops which were pretty well spaced.

                                                                            3. Woot woot! Ten more minutes til open & first seating...after waiting an hour for DTF to open!

                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                              1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                Nice, back for the 2nd time. I can definitely see coming here instead of going to Dim Sum.

                                                                                1. re: JAB

                                                                                  Yeah, your little wait made me want to come back! They were already out one of the dumplings though. Sooooo good! =)

                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                      Shrimp fried rice, string beans, pot stickers, fried pork chop, the tofu/seaweed in vinegar dressing app, xlb and black sesame bun.

                                                                                      I would skip (in addition to the ones mentioned upthread) the red bean rice cake & pork rice bun (sticky rice).

                                                                                      1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                        Thx! Looking forward to my first visit, but I hate waiting in line, so it'll likely be a while.

                                                                                  1. re: JAB

                                                                                    Was hoping for a similar effect today when going to Capital Seafood for dim sum. No luck. Long wait at 11 and bar was already full.

                                                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                                                          I have never had to wait at the Spectrum location. The one at DJ is almost always crowded.

                                                                                          1. re: OCSteve

                                                                                            Is the DJ location better than the Spectrum one?

                                                                                            1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                              I haven't noticed a significant difference between the two, at least where dim sum is concerned. I don't have much experience with the rest of the menu.

                                                                                              1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                No, it's a tossup. Actually the surprise is that the Spectrum one isn't the better of the two. That was the expectation before it opened up.

                                                                                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                  The only difference to me is that the Spectrum is bigger and there is less of a wait than DJ.

                                                                                                  1. re: js76wisco

                                                                                                    On average I've had slightly better at the Spectrum location, but it is a tossup, as far as dim sum is concerned.

                                                                                                2. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                  I find the Spectrum location to be the better of the two but not by a large margin--just enough that I tend to choose to go their even though DJ is somewhat closer to my office.

                                                                                    1. Wait is now just a negligible 45min for a party of 4. Plenty of seats at the bar.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                                                        so it was probably just the craziness of opening weekend that led to six hours waits perhaps ???????

                                                                                      2. Finished off visit number 4 tonight.

                                                                                        Definitely better than Arcadia branch-

                                                                                        Pork XLB. Much juicier and more flavorful.

                                                                                        Sauteed Spinach with beancurd and wine. Don't recall this ever being on the Arcadia menu. May favorite vegetable dish at DTF right now. Replacing the green beans as my favorite vegetable dish at DTF.

                                                                                        Spicy beef noodle soup. The broth and beef were both better, more flavorful, more tender. The noodles also better from what I recall. A bit chewier.

                                                                                        Possibly better-

                                                                                        Pork Chop- my sister who lives close to the Arcadia branch thinks it's a bit more moist here. I would probably have to agree.

                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                                                          Well I guess I know where I'm going with my parents this weekend...

                                                                                          What does DTF SCP run for? 25pp? 40pp?

                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                            I think pricing is about the same. Tonight was $89+ change for the below before tip for 3 people.

                                                                                            beancurd and seaweed salad
                                                                                            pork chop x 2
                                                                                            shrimp and pork wonton soup
                                                                                            spicy beef noodle soup
                                                                                            spinach with beancurd and wine
                                                                                            shrimp fried rice
                                                                                            pork/shrimp pot stickers
                                                                                            pork XLB
                                                                                            pork and shrimp dumplings
                                                                                            $3 pot of tea

                                                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                                                              fair, esp. @ SCP. That's a decent amount of food, averaging $9/dish.

                                                                                              What section of SCP is this fine establishment located?

                                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                                I believe it's on the 2nd floor by Sears (where the old McDonald's was located)

                                                                                                1. re: thewongmann

                                                                                                  They took out the old McDonalds for DTF?!

                                                                                                  O_O

                                                                                                  I had my first McRib there.

                                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                                    noooooooooooooooooooooo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                    now how am i going to devour a baker's dozen of Filet o Fishees after shopping for a gold-encrusted Fendi bag, shit !!!!!!

                                                                                            2. re: ns1

                                                                                              >> What does DTF SCP run for? 25pp? 40pp? <<

                                                                                              Well if I'm waiting for seating with Mrs. J.L. anywhere near Armani, it's more like $2500-$4000pp.

                                                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                that's definitely not the sears side; park by sears, not by nordstroms.

                                                                                                good point though ;)

                                                                                              2. re: ns1

                                                                                                Same for 2 or 3 for us. YMMV.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                 
                                                                                                  1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                    thanks OC, maybe it's 50 to 95 cents pricier than the SGV, not bad.

                                                                                                    not too shabby.

                                                                                                    and that ain't no joke.

                                                                                                    daminit, i'm going to have to hit it up soon.

                                                                                                    is it open early on fridays ?????????

                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                      Says they open @ 11 on Friday.
                                                                                                      http://dintaifungusa.com/locations_us...

                                                                                                      It was gooooooooooooood. And the service was awesome.

                                                                                                      1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                        ok, i'll hit it up after my meeting if i can make it there in time.

                                                                                                        thanks OC.