Friday, January 30, 2009

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park

I sit on restaurant posts way too long. The first time I visited Elite Restaurant was back in November 2007. I've eaten there several times since, just hadn't gotten around to blogging it.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 1

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.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 2

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 Meatball Dumplings), $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.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 3

Siu mai were $3.28.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 4

Har gow (Chinese shrimp dumplings), $3.28.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 5

Spare ribs in black bean sauce, $2.28. I liked that they came on a bed of pumpkin cubes.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 6

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.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 7

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.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 8

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.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 9

Shrimp with asparagus rice noodles $3.28.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 14

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.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 10

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!

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 11

Whole section of shark's fin. I'd never seen that before. Truly "elite" indeed.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 12

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.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 13

Baked durian pie $3.28. Flaky outside, although a little too oily.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 15

Creamy, luscious durian filling. I can't eat raw durian, but I do love durian when it's in food products.

Elite Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park 16

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

Elite Restaurant
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.


  1. Hi WC - Nice post.... it remonds me that I haven't had decent Dim Sum in a good long time!

  2. Nice posting! I haven't had Elite for dim sum yet although my friends have been there plenty of times. Tried to go there in September and it was a two hour wait. No go!

    Your picture of the inside makes the place look giant and bustling with plenty of customers :). My pictures make it look sad and empty. Guess more people like this place for dim sum and not dinner?

    I remember as a kid eating those sharkfin dumpling soups at 888. Hop Li in Arcadia also served a large sharkfin for about 12 dollars back in the day. Haven't been back for dinner though after several so so visits.

  3. Elite is the best dim sum in the SGV! Nice Post!

  4. That's it. I'm making a trip up there for this. Btw, have you eaten at capitol in irvine? I hear there dim sum is really good.

  5. This post should've come with a warning: like do not read when it's late and there's no feasible way of eating this food asap! Longwinded, I admit. :P

  6. Kirk,
    I've got so many dim sum posts in the queue that I really needed to blog them!

    Yeah, every time I've drive past during dinner time, Elite has looked pretty empty. Dim sum is definitely its most popular dining time, but the wait sometimes just isn't worth it. I've been to Full House in Arcadia, but not Hop Li.

    I think Sea Harbour is a slightly better, but the waits are longer there. Lunasia's my dim sum of choice these days.

    Weezer Monkey,
    Huh. Yours didn't look like it'd be the same on the inside. My favorite was Lunasia's version (less greasy) but they took it off the menu recently. :(

    Capital in Irvine is an offshoot of the Capital up here, so I would just stay here and eat at the original. :)

    I get Capital's dim sum to-go for $1.90 an order? Haven't dined inside the restaurant for dim sum, although it was one of the better wedding banquets I've gone to.

    I hate when I have typos too.

    We'll do Lunasia! Mostly the same menu, just as good, no or little wait, and I have a coupon!

  7. woW!! The food looks great!!! But, how can ppl eat that much food??!?

  8. You're making me homesick!

    (Hello, I'm a first time commenter, but I've been reading and browsing the archives for a spell now.)

    I'm a Bay Area native and an eager amateur cook. I grew up on good dim sum and sushi and pho, and grocery stores that stock things like mochi and udon, and am now transported five hours south for my first year of college. I love the school-- but I miss my good Asian food. So I come to WC and read articles like this and miss sticky rice lotus leaves to no tomorrow...

    Anyway, this is just me saying, "Thanks for sharing." You're making me hungry, in a good kind of way.

  9. Savory Dumpling,
    Very hungry people? :P

    Mythic Writer,
    Going to school on the Central Coast? I felt that way when I went to school in the Midwest. Couldn't believe people would drive from Iowa or Ohio to Chicago to stock up on groceries. But I guess one does what one must.

    Thanks for coming out of the woodwork!


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