Dim Sum Dinner at Lunasia Chinese Cuisine 金凱旋宮 in Alhambra, CA

Dim Sum Dinner at Lunasia Chinese Cuisine 金凱旋宮 in Alhambra

These days, if you can’t make it for a dim sum brunch early weekend hours, then having dim sum for dinner is becoming a more and more of an option here in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Lunasia’s current dim sum menu offers the traditional items as well as some fancier dim sum dishes such as the Scallop Dumplings with Squid Ink Wrap, Baked Abalone Tarts, and the Pan Fried Pork Bun with added Crab Meat.  While we loved the Scallop Dumplings and the Pan Fried Pork & Crab baos, we didn’t feel the same with the Baked Abalone Tart, as the abalone was quite hard.

Dim sum, for the most part, is priced the same for both lunch and dinner hours, and the execution of many of the items we ordered were quite good.  The only dishes that didn’t work for us were the rice noodle rolls.  Both types we ordered were overcooked.

Another plus about having dim sum at this location at night?  Less crowds, ample parking, and there’s no feeling rushed to finish your meal so that they can flip the table quickly for the next party.

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Chef Laurent Quenioux’s LQ Fooding “Fall Series @ MaMaison 2018” in Topanga, CA

Chef Laurent Quenioux’s LQ Fooding “Fall Series @ MaMaison 2018” in Topanga, CA

The owners of this lovely property in the mountains just north of the Topanga Village opened their amazing property to Chef Quenioux and his LQ Foodings team to host a multi-course dinner this weekend.  It was a beautiful night, with lovely views, and the weather was perfect for an outdoor dinner.

And what a dinner it was, considered a bargain by many of the diners, as you get 7 courses plus a glass of apertif: Dijon Cassis Kir, for only $80 plus tax, gratuity and a processing fee for purchasing your tickets online.

Cold/room temperature appetizers were the perfect dishes to serve on this night to start the dinner with, leading up to three delicious main course including the seafood course, garnished with a delicious bouillabase broth, to beef short ribs served with cordyceps mushrooms.

It was a wonderful progression of dishes, and this is certainly one of the better pop-up dinners around these days in the LA area.  It’s the type of dining I enjoy:  gradual progression of dishes, relaxed atmosphere, not excessively loud, and no loud music blaring away.  Instead, contemporary jazz was played in the background, at a volume that did not make it difficult for one to carry a conversation with dinner mates nearby.

Website:  http://bistrolq.com/lq-foodings

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pictures.

Atlantic Seafood & Dim Sum Restaurant 黃金閣海鮮酒樓 in Monterey Park, CA

Atlantic Seafood & Dim Sum Restaurant 黃金閣海鮮酒樓 in Monterey Park, CA

One of the more popular places in the San Gabriel Valley for dim sum because of its pricing (it is one of the less expensive places for dim sum these days).  Most of the dim sum items are priced at $3.18 per item (specialty items such as Roast Pork Belly and Roast Duck cost $6.32 each), and these prices are good for weekends and holidays.  However, if you are able to have dim sum during the weekdays, then pricing is substantially lower at $2.78 per item, or $5.56 for the specialty items.

Dim sum is served in carts that weave through rows of tables throughout the restaurant.  If you come during the peak dim sum brunch hours of 11:00am and 1:00pm, then you will be able to order any dim sum listed on their dim sum menu.  During the rest of the time, the less traditional dim sum items such as the Deep Fried Green Tea Balls with Pumpkin and Pan Fried Fish Cake with Corn are not offered.

Two of the dishes that are a stand out for me are their Pan Fried Stuffed Bell Peppers made with shrimp pasted and a black bean sauce, and the Pan Fried Turnip Cake.  Both are delicious, and the Pan Fried Stuffed Bell Peppers are a rarity these days as not all dim sum palaces serve this dish anymore, and for some who do, they would use jalapeno peppers instead.  Jalapenos give the dish a slightly different flavor profile, and the spiciness of the jalapenos overpower the delicate flavor of the shrimp past.

Service here is attentive and responsive, and the quality of most dim sum is quite good.  Sometimes you may get items such as the Har Gow and the Shrimp Rice Noodle Rolls overcooked, and the rice flour wrap becomes gummy and soggy.

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photo.

Dim Sum at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant 海港大酒樓 in Rosemead, CA

Dim Sum at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant 海港大酒樓 in Rosemead, CA

Sea Harbour was always considered as one of the best places to go for dim sum in the Greater Los Angeles area since it opened.  However, I did not like the dim sum I had during my last visit in December 2016.

Today, a long time friend wanted good dim sum, and I decided to Sea Harbour another chance, and this visit changed my mind again about them.  The dim sum was well prepared and tasted delicious.  A far cry from my last visit.

Only issues I was with the specialty dim sum dishes they offered (Shrimp Dumpling with Gold Leaf, and Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Bun with Gold Foil).  Though they tasted good, one may not be able to held and wonder if that’s enough to justify spending the extra money on dim sum.

Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the photo.

 

Dinner at Moon House Chinese Cuisine 福滿樓 in West Los Angeles, CA

Dinner at Moon House Chinese Cuisine 福滿樓 in West Los Angeles, CA

For the last 2 years, Moon House has been the “go to” place for solid Chinese (mainly Cantonese) food on the Westside, and for the most part, the food is excellent.  This place has also been packed in the past Chinese students from UCLA, as well as those who live out on the Westside.  However, during this time, prices have been slowly creeping up.  What used to be inexpensive and reasonable is now getting to the point of being moderately pricey.   Lunch Specials that used to cost $8 or $9 a dish, and a Buy 4 Lunch Special Entrees and Get 1 Free promo, now run about $12 to $14.  And that Buy 4 and Get 1 Free promo is no more.

In addition to the higher prices, their Health Inspection Rating dropped, for the first time ever, from an “A” rating.  Worse, the rating dropped to a “C.”  It makes one wonder if the 2 issues may be the cause for their foot traffic to noticeably drop off some?  So, we wonder if the offering of a 40% Off Facebook Discount was in response to the decline in sales?  Whatever the reason was, we took advantage of it and dined on 16 different dishes, most of which were prepared well and were tasty.

The most luxurious item they had available was the Peking (Beijing) Duck.  Though it may not have been the best preparation, it was more than adequate to satiate our palates.

The one true disappointment of the evening was the Salt & Pepper Calamari.  The flour coating on the outside could have used a few more seconds frying in oil, so that the calamari would be nice and crispy.  Instead, it was a little gummy, and there was a off taste to the calamari.

Service was good here.  With the discount, we saved about $120 on our dinner, and with the cost of $23 per person, this meal was quite a steal.

If you can read Chinese or use a translator app, you may want to ask for the Chinese only menu to order dishes non-Chinese readers don’t know about.

As always, click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photos.

$225 SPECIAL YEAR END KAISEKI DINNER (OSHIGATSU) AT N/NAKA


n/naka
OSHOGATSU 2016

For December 30th and New Year’s Eve, n/naka is offering a special 13-Course New Year’s Kaiseki Dinner priced at $225 plus tax and gratuity.  It was another amazing meal that, as usual, was plated so beautifully.


SOKI ZUKE – Oak smoked onsen tamago, kabu puree, ikura, chives

ZENSAI (Seasonal Ingredients Presented as an Appetizer) – Blue shrimp, foie gras mousse, namasu, crab uni nikogori, kamaboko, ginko nuts, ponzu 



MODERN ZUKURI (Modern interpretation of sashimi) – Red snapper, konbu, orange curd, kishu, Mandarin ponzu (you squeeze the juice from the Mandarin orange in the lower right over the dish of ponzu sauce it sits on), plum puree.


OWAN – Ozouni with mochi, Japanese wild mushrooms (shitake, enoki, shimeji)


OTSUKURI (Traditional Sashimi) – Toro, buri, Santa Barbara spiny lobster, purple yam, daikon, wasabi


MUSHIMONO (Steamed Dish) – Black cod, purple yam, gobo


AGEMONO (Fried Dish) – Abalone (on a stick), shirako (cod sperm sack wrapped in shiso leaves), renkon (lotus root), 3 salts (Himalyan, matcha, Okinawa)


SHIIZAKANA (Not Bound by Tradition, The Chef’s Choice Dish) – Uni, Alba white truffle, house made pasta, kizami, nori

NIKU (Meat Dish) – Miyazaki A5 wagyu beef, gold egg and beets sauces, black garlic, black sea salt

SUNOMONO (Vinaigrette Dish) – Kumamoto oyster, creme fraiche, caviar, yuzu omoi sake


SHOJUKI (Rice Dish) – Chirashi (toro, tuna, yellowtail, shrimp, Hokkaido scallop, uni, tamago, ginger, unagi (eel), ikura (salmon roe), marinated sushi rice)

DESSERT (Mizumono) – Lemon pine sorbet, matcha tea
DESSERT – Palate cleanser (tea)

DESSERT – Green tea baked Alaska, red bean ice cream, yuzu curd, kuromame

PARTING GIFTS – Copy of tonight’s menu, and a box of housemade mochi)



TONIGHT’S, AND NEW YEAR’S EVE MENU

 Me with Chef Niki Nakayama


n/naka storefront 

Korean Seafood BBQ at Get Bbul in K-Town

If you like Jae Bu Do, then you may like Get Bbul as well.  Get Bbul is Korean style barbequing/grilling of fresh seafood, and in some instances live.  End result is tasty morsels of shellfish that was seasoned from being cooked in their own juices over a charcoal fire.  

Here, they offer combination platters (Small feeds about 2 people; Medium, 2-3; and Large, 3-4), each filled with clams, shrimp, oysters, scallops, abalone, cuttlefish, baby octopi and giant sea snails.

Included with the combination platters are impressive ban chan dishes including a bowl of sliced lettuce topped with frozen a spicy seafood cocktail mix, which will easily thaw out while you’re grilling your seafood.  By the time some of that seafood is ready, so will this spicy seafood cocktail salad.  Other ban chan offerings include tempura shrimp & squid, pork belly, sliced raw vegetables with bean sauce, steamed egg, leek pancake, pork hock, cheese corn and, of course, kimchi.


Medium Combination Platter

Tempura with Shrimp, Squid and Onions

Pork Hock

Steamed Egg

Cheese Corn

Pork Belly

Leek Pancake

Spicy Seafood Cocktail Salad (unthawed)

Some Instant Noodles with Fish Cake

Spicy Baby Octopus

Servers will help grill, shell and then serve the oysters