UPDATED: Dim Sum at Capital Seafood 金都 in Beverly Hills

UPDATED: Dim Sum at Capital Seafood 金都 in Beverly Hills

UPDATED: Please advance to the end of the post.

Ever since the loss of Royal Star in Santa Monica around the turn of the century, and the change of ownership of VIP Harbor Seafood Restaurant in Brentwood that became The Palace, the westside of Los Angeles became deficient of a Chinese restaurant that can serve up an excellent and complete dim sum menu.  The opening of Capital Seafood in Beverly Hills (taking over the space that was previously occupied by Newport Seafood Restaurant) has changed that, bringing solid quality dim sum that is better than The Palace, but cheaper than Bao Dim Sum in the Fairfax District and Shanghai Rose in Studio City.  Interestingly, this Capital Seafood is affiliated with the location in Arcadia but not the ones in Irvine.

While most of the items were solid and were prepared well (the rice noodle wrap dishes featured rice noodle sheets that were thin and soft, but not overcooked and gummy).

The Salt Pepper Soft Shell Crab was wok tossed not only in salt and white pepper but also ample amount of minced garlic, chopped chiles, and scallions.  The flavor was bold with a nice peppery and spicy kick to it.

However, there were a few dishes with issues, particularly the Minced Beef Balls.  They were made with too much filler (usually corn starch) in it that made it relatively flavorless and very pasty in texture.

The Leaf Wrapped Sticky Rice were rather small in size, and there wasn’t much filling inside the rice.

For me, the Seafood Crispy Noodles was executed well, but the dish’s quality was diminished by the use of imitation crab meat.  Rather than imitation crab meat, perhaps the usage of a few bay scallops would provide the variety of ample seafood, without increasing the costs of the dish.

And for a more upscale style of dim sum place, their service was wonderful and attentive.

Pricing for their dim sum are broken down into 4 tiers:  “A” level dim sum is $4.95 per order, “B” level is $5.95, “C” level is $6.95, and “K” level is $7.95.  “K” dim sum are usually the vegetable dishes, as well as specialty dim sum dishes such as Salt Pepper Calamari or Salt Pepper Chicken Knuckles.  The pricing is actually very reasonable for the area and for the quality of the dim sum you are getting.

UPDATED:  Since posting a review on Yelp mentioning the strange consistency and taste of the Beef Meatballs; the deficient amount of filling the Lotus Leaf Wrapped Sticky Rice; and the use of imitation crab meat in the Seafood Chow Mein with crispy noodles, their PR person sent me message indicating that they had taken my critique wholeheartedly and have asked their chefs to rework on the recipe for the Beef Balls; swapped the imitation crab meat out of the Seafood Chow Mein with crispy noodles with snow crab meat (though very little, while keeping the price the same); and making sure the ratio of meat filling to the Lotus Leaf Wraps are consistent.

The Lotus Leaf Wraps made with sticky rice are more enjoyable as you do bite into seasoned ground pork now.  Before, you could hardly taste anything aside from the sticky rice.

The Beef Balls have a much better consistency to them now.  They are no longer pasty in taste and in texture.  But the flavor isn’t quite there yet, so perhaps you may want to have them douse some Worcestershire sauce over them (influence by the British in Hong Kong pre-1997).

However, now, I find issues with their salt-pepper dishes (the protein is given a much too thick of a coating, making the outside thick and too crunchy), and the bean curd skin rolls (the sauce has too much corn starch in it, so when the dish is served, you can see the gelatinous nature of the sauce).

But their roast duck was delicious.  Skin was roasted to a nice crispiness.  And for $18.95, that was quite a sizable half-duck.

 

 

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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.

 

Brunch at Kali Restaurant in Hollywood, CA

Brunch at Kali Restaurant in Hollywood, CA

Chef Kevin Meehan started Sunday brunch service at Kali at the earlier this year; and aside from some of the more popular brunch staples, Kali offers some of their lunch time entrees, including their very popular and delicious Black Barley Risotto.  Here, the food is well presented, and the offerings are perfect for these warm, sunny summer days.

In addition, you can finish off your brunch with a dessert course.  Their signature dessert of Meringue Gelato with Candied Yolk Shaving is a nice light way to finish brunch.  Their Meyer Lemon & Olive Oil Flan offered a rollercoaster of flavors in your mouth.  You start off tasting the sweetness from the flan, then the saltiness from the cheese crisp on top, and lastly, the citric tartness from Meyer lemon finishes off the bite.  Quite a combination.

Brunch Menu:  https://www.kalirestaurant.com/brunch/

Dim Sum and More at Longo Seafood Restaurant 鴻德品位 in Rosemead, CA

Dim Sum and More at Longo Seafood Restaurant 鴻德品位 in Rosemead, CA

Longo Seafood sits in the space that once was Sun City Seafood Restaurant, which also served traditional, but inexpensive, dim sum where you order from various carts that roam about the dining area continuously.   Sun City lasted for about 6 years before going through a change in management.  Sun City then closed and reopened as Crown Palace.  Dim sum wasn’t any better than its predecessor, and after 9 months, Crown Palace shuttered its doors.

Fast forward to over a year later, and the space went through a complete renovation inside and out, but mostly inside.  It was lavishly decorated to give a feel of a higher end Chinese dim sum palace.  More importantly, the food has improved substantially, with offerings of specialty dim sum that are made from high end quality ingredients such as black truffles, foie gras, and wagyu beef.

However, without proper execution, or even proper development of recipes, adding higher end ingredients to traditional dim sum dishes doesn’t necessarily mean that dish will work.

Foie gras used in a steamed dumpling was first done by the original owners of Lunasia in Alhambra when it opened about 10 years ago.  The one item that was to be their signature dish was their Foie Gras Dumpling, which was a roundish steamed dumpling with a shrimp filling, topped with a small piece of foie.  Unfortunately, for the most part, these dumplings were overcooked, so when you bit into one you, you bit into a piece of overcooked duck liver as well, leaving your mouth with this dry, gritty muddy taste that overpowered the shrimp filling.

Longo, though, does do a better job at presenting foie gras in a steamed dumpling.  With a clean palate, you can get that subtle hint of foie from your first bite into their dumpling.  The problem was that, it was just a hint.  Unless you’re able to identify the flavor, you’ll easily miss it.  For many at my table, it was not worth paying the extra money for that.

More successful are Longo’s Black Truffle Siu Mai.  I taste finely shaved black truffles placed on top of their siu mai (pork and shrimp dumplings).  You do get that truffle flavor with every bite.  At about $3 per dumpling, it’s a better deal (and taste) than the Black Truffle XLBs at Din Tai Fung (which run about $4.50 per mini-XLB).

Having Wagyu Beef in rice rolls (cheung fun) is like making a hamburger patty out of Kobe beef, a seemingly waste.  The beef in these rice rolls come across as overcooked.  I prefer the traditional beef rice rolls made with a marinated ground beef filling.

And while the Longo Lobster Dumplings weren’t bad, ordering the Longo Shrimp Dumpling will give you the same experience.  Only a small piece of lobster meat is placed on top of the shrimp filling inside the Longo Lobster Dumpling, and the flavor and texture of the lobster disappear when it becomes overcooked in a dumpling that’s 80% shrimp inside.

Service is typical as to what you expect from other dim sum palaces.  Just because they look higher end in decor inside, and offer fancy dim sum dishes, you’re not going to be treated as you would while dining at Patina.

And did anyone leave here with a dry mouth?  Whenever I get that dreadful feeling, it’s usually because the food has been seasoned with too much salt.

As always, click on the thumbnail to enlarge the photo.

Oaxacan Brunch at Conrad’s Restaurant in San Pedro

Oaxacan Brunch at Conrad’s Restaurant in San Pedro

Chef/Owner Conrad Aguilar recently opened up this quaint neighborhood “farm to table” eatery serving dishes from his native Oaxaca to traditional Mexican and American fare.  In addition, the chef hopes to slowly incorporate more dishes from different parts of Central and South Americas.  Sourcing ingredients from local farms, Chef Aguilar prides himself in serving up delicious food from these ingredients.

A group of us shared some of the dishes he highly recommended, which included his take on Oaxacan dishes such as his Empanadas Oaxaca, which is made with a “corn dough” (as he called it) and stuffed with zucchini and topped with avocado salsa.  These empanadas are then deep fried, yielding a crispy exterior and a lighter interior than what you get from empanadas made from flour that are either baked or deep fried.  Nice touch.  A style of empanada I’ve never experienced before.  The avocado salsa is flavorful and pairs well with the empanadas and the greens that come on the side.

Dark Mole Oaxaca has that nice, rich and smoky flavor from the roasted guajillo peppers used in the mole sauce and the sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

The Carnitas Plate was quite tasty, and I enjoy the crispiness of the exterior of the chunks of carnitas.

The chef makes a nice version of lomo saltado.  Order some rice to stir in some of that tasty sauce.

Of course, a meal is not complete without dessert, and we noshed on a flan and the arroz con leche, which is really good.  We couldn’t stop digging into it.

Really enjoyed the food here, and the staff is very attentive.

Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the photo.

Website:  http://conradssp.com/