Monday, September 15, 2008

The elite of dim sum restaurants? (Elite Restaurat, Monterey Park)

Elite Restaurant in Monterey Park is often touted as one of the premier dim sum restaurants around. Those are very high accolades considering there seems to be thousands of these restaurants strewn across the San Gabriel Valley. Almost everyday around lunch time you can see a mob of people waiting patiently to get inside, which is a true sign of an "elite" restaurant. Elite even added seats outside for people to wait.
One afternoon in the middle of the week we decided to have lunch here. Even for a weekday we had to wait 15-20 minutes. I had previously eaten dinner at this establishment when it was called New Concept, but this was my first experience eating at Elite Restaurant. The thought of dim sum conjures up images of people pushing these pushcarts throughout the restaurant offering a variety of different dishes, but at Elite it is not like that. You have to order off of the menu and the dishes come made to order from the kitchen. What a Delight! I was told by one of my best friends, that's how it is served in Hong Kong. He explained to me that pushcarts are totally an American phenomenon. The food is always served piping hot made to order. If you ask me, I prefer it this way. I like my food to come out hot! But be forewarned....they do not speak much English here.

Beef Chow Fun
This dish happened to be one of my favorites. I really love Chow Fun noodles. I actually prefer them over Chow Mein or almost any noodle period. Elite's version was very tasty!

Beef Short Rib with Chili & Black Bean Sauce
Now this dish absolutely delicious! The short ribs are soooo tasty and good, but there's hardly anything to eat on these short ribs. This dish is like 90% cartilage/bone and 10% meat. You basically have to suck the ribs just to taste, forget about chewing.

Crystal Shrimp Har Gow
These have to be my absolute favorite dish at dim sum restaurants. I love shrimp har gow! The Elite version comes with huge shrimps wrapped in the skin and it is absolutely scrumptious.

Dry Scallop Roll Fun
To be honest.... as I am writing this blog, I really don't remember much about this dish. :( Sorry about that. I am pretty sure it was good though, because pretty much everything that comes out of their kitchen is pretty good.

Fried Shrimp Dumplings
These golden fried dumplings were damn good! Crispy golden packages with a great shrimp filling. I could have just eaten those all day and would have been satisfied.

Pork Shui-Mai
Shui-Mai is another one of my favorite dim sum dishes. But unfortunately, this dish did not meet my expectations. Perhaps I set my expectations too high or perhaps Elite has raised the bar so high on other dishes that this dish lacked that special something. Who knows... It's probably just me.

Shrimp with Asparagus Rice Noodle
The consistency of the rice noodle was a little too slippery and gooey for my taste, on top of that I really don't care for asparagus. Nice combination, huh? I am sure most people would love this dish, but it just wasn't my cup of tea!

Jin Dui (Sesame Balls)
Believe it or not. This was the first time I've ever tried these. They came out nice and warm and delicious. The slightly sweet treat was perfect!

Macau Roasted Pork
I've saved the best for last. The Macau Roasted Pork has got to be one the best dishes here. The pork has a nice crisp crust on the outside and the rest is so juicy and succulent. The crust is crispy with a hint of sugar. This dish has a nice contrasting element to the dish. The crispiness of the crust and the succulence of the meat is a match made in heaven!

Elite Restaurant
700 South Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA. 91754

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