I met up with one of my college friends, whom I only see when he's between girlfriends (she being the one whose father bribes the hostess for a table at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant) or on my birthday. The latter was the reason for this visit.
Elite Restaurant used to be called New Concept. I had been scared to try because before the changeover, I heard cousin Q's older brother's friend once spent $1,600 for dinner!!! It was a full table and he ordered dishes such as shark's fin and lobster, but still... Insane, right? Elite also has one of the most expensive wedding packages I've ever seen. While some tables were in the hundreds, there were packages of $2,000 a table.
Since Elite was relatively new at the time, even though we got there around 10 a.m., we waited 90 minutes for a table. A group of four girls gave up and left and we still waited. Large tables were seated before us. The problem was that there were only a handful of two-person tables, so we had to wait specifically for those tables.
It became a game. We had invested too much time in waiting after half an hour, and then an hour, so we were in for the long haul. My friend and I did a loooot of catching up.
We ordered off the menu. Small plates were $2.28, medium $3.28, large $4.28. Chef's specials were $5.38 and $6.28. So dim sum wasn't too bad compared to the crazy banquet prices.
We started off with $2.28 char siu bao (Chinese barbecued pork buns), siu mai (Chinese meatballs), $3.28 sticky rice in lotus leaves, $3.28 chicken feet, and Macanese egg tarts. All standard dim sum items and all good. This was the friend who said he recognized really good dim sum, but good dim sum was all the same to him.
Siu mai were $3.28.
Har gow (Chinese shrimp dumplings), $3.28.
Spare ribs in black bean sauce, $2.28. I liked that they came on a bed of pumpkin cubes.
Macau Street used to have my favorite Macanese Portuguese-style egg tarts, $3.28, but Elite's version is right up there. Blue mountain coffee cake, $3.28, in the back was like a coffee gelatin, not a cake.
Macau roast pork $6.28 were thin slivers of suckling roast pig. Very good, but kinda pricey when I could have bought a pound of roast pork for that price.
Shark's fin red clam dumpling $4.28. Slivers of shark's fin, surf clam, and roe. This was a step up from standard dumplings.
Shrimp with asparagus rice noodles $3.28.
My friend wanted the xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings) $3.28 even though I've learned not to order this at dim sum restaurants. As expected, they stuck to the wrappers and didn't have much soup.
Shark's fin dumpling in supreme soup stock $6.28. The broth of this dumpling soup was amazing. So light, yet sweet. Look at the whole section of shark's fin. That's why!
Whole section of shark's fin. I'd never seen that before. Truly "elite" indeed.
On subsequent visits with others, the waits haven't been as bad, but it's still more than I'd like.
I've also ordered the pan-fried corn cake $3.28. Corn mixed with fish paste and pan-fried.
Baked durian pie $3.28. Flaky outside, although a little too oily.
Creamy, luscious durian filling. I can't eat raw durian, but I do love durian when it's in food products.
Elite is definitely one of the top dim sum restaurants for me in terms of quality and variety. It's about neck and neck with Lunasia Chinese Cuisine for me, but I default to Lunasia more simply because there's less of a wait and parking is more plentiful.
Who else ate at Elite Restaurant?
Tons of photos since it's a popular spot for people on Biggest Menu.
Dylan of Eat, Drink, & Be Merry talks about the new wave of fusion dim sum restaurants.
Kirk of Mmm-yoso ordered goose feet, shark's fin dumplings, and durian tarts.
Other dim sum restaurant posts:
Bon Marche Bistro/B Village Cuisine (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park
Capital Dim Sum & BBQ - Monterey Park
CBS Seafood Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Los Angeles (Chinatown)
Dim Sum Express - Monterey Park
Full House Seafood Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Arcadia
Lunasia Chinese Cuisine (Dim Sum) - Alhambra
Ocean Star Seafood Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park
700 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754-3859
Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
1 year ago today, broken rice dishes at Com Tam Thuan Kieu Vietnamese Restaurant - San Gabriel (Valley Blvd.).
2 years ago today, dim sum at Mission 261 - San Gabriel.