China Garden, at least so far through my experience, is the best dim sum I have had in this area. However, in recent visits, their quality in a couple of areas (sticky rice most notably) seemed to have slipped – enough that it warranted an excursion to see if we could find comparable dim sum. The search took us to Hollywood East Cafe, which Tyler Cowen lauded as the “best dim sum around“. That is hefty praise indeed.
As one would want with dim sum, we came with a pretty large group complete with token asians (you never know when it helps to know a secret handshake or two). We ordered wide and well, and for something like dim sum – it is almost best just dealing in notes:
Dumplings – good all around, the scallop and watercress in particular. All the steamed goodness very solid.
Chinese Broccoli – a little dry without the oyster sauce, but overall a solid product
Shrimp Noodle – well done
The thing with the fritter surrounded by rice noodle (Ja Leung) – Total crack. I cannot discuss this rationally.
Chicken Feet – I could not take the plunge. Those who did were not impressed.
Pork Spareribs – Not too bad, but unremakable
Beef Chowfoon – The noodles were fine, but the beef was a bit tough. They might have missed the mark a bit.
Taro Fritter – delicious, but way too greasy. This is the sort of fried food preparation that gives those people who say “fried food is bad” and only eat steamed vegetables and baked chicken some measure of justification.
Turnip Cake – Not bad. Flavor solid.
Egg Custard Tart – Too eggy. It tasted more like a deviled egg of some kind than a custard.
Overall, this might not measure up to China Garden. I’m not sure. The service was slow at times, but that is often a good thing at Dim Sum. At 80 minutes, we did not really stretch out and luxuriate like we could have. Overall, it’s a good place. Is it great or a can’t miss? Probably not.