Sherman's Food Adventures: Elite


On my last visit to LA, it was all about the kiddies and a multi-day visit to Disneyland and then subsequent day at Universal.  That left us with very little time to eat anything good and also limited us in terms of location.  Ultimately, we languished in family-friendly eats that wouldn't set any culinary world on fire.  Heck, we didn't even make it out to Monterey Park to try some of the best Dim Sum LA has to offer.  This time around, we did do Disney and Universal, but left plenty of time to wander.  Thus, we made our way to Elite to see how LA Dim Sum stacks up to that of Vancouver.

We ordered a bunch of the standards including the usual Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siu Mai (Pork and Shrimp Dumplings).  Sporting a medium-thick dumpling wrapper, the ha gau were quite good.  I found the wrapper to be a bit on the chewier side, but it had good elasticity and mouth-feel.  The filling was on point with meaty shrimp that had a sweet snap.  There was plenty of natural shrimp aroma left which was rather appealing in my opinion.  As for the siu mai, there was a nice rebound texture from the meaty pork and accompanying snap from the shrimp.  I would've liked to see a bit less pork fat as it was hard to chew.  The dumpling was mildly seasoned where I could definitely still taste the pork.

Instead of ordering just one rice noodle roll dish, we had both the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll in addition to the Rice Noodles with Pork Spareribs.  Texturally, the shrimp rice noodle roll was on the thicker side and hence denser.  With that being said, it still featured elasticity which made it a satisfying chew.  In the middle, there were large pieces of shrimp that were similar to the ha gau where the natural flavour was dominant.  We found the rice noodle rolls with the spareribs to be more tender and softer.  They soaked up some of the garlicky pork rib juices as well as the sweetened soy.  The spareribs were meaty and tender with some bounce texture.  I found that there was just a bit too much fat for our liking.

Probably the most surprising items was the Phoenix Talons (Steamed Chicken Feet) as they were some of the biggest claws we've ever seen.  Not only that, but they were prepared flawlessly.  Deep fried with a slightly chewy exterior, it gave way to buttery cartilage and fat.  Despite being soft, the chicken feet stayed intact and were super plump.  Flavor-wise, there was a good balance of sweet, saltiness and garlickiness with some spice.  For our offal selection, we had the Steamed Beef Bible Tripe with green onion and ginger.  This was pretty textbook with mild flavours while the tripe was properly cleaned (not gamy).  Texturally, the tripe had a good chew while being tender.  We only wished they didn't cut some of it into little bits.

Looking pretty pink in the middle, the Beef Meatballs may have looked raw, but that wasn't the case at all.  Whenever the beef is processed along with baking soda, it tends to have a particular color even when cooked through.  Texturally, these were a bit denser and meatier than I would've liked, but there was still the classic rebound with each bite.  I thought they were bang-on with the cilantro where there was only a bit for effect.  Plenty of water chestnuts for an extra crunch.  Unlike some of the other versions we've had, the XO Daikon Cake was rather greasy and saucy.  It was still the right texture being buttery soft while not falling apart.  There was good spice from the XO, but as mentioned, too much oil.

Sporting a fairly thick layer of glutinous rice, the Deep Fried Glutinous Dumplings were pretty good.  Outside was crispy and not overly greasy while there was enough filling in each bite.  I'm never a fan of adding cilantro to the ground pork filling and this one did just that.  Too pungent in my opinion and overwhelming.  Also, they could've lightened up with the pork fat as well.  As usual, we also ordered the Steamed BBQ Pork Buns, which were also textbook.  Beyond the fluffy bun itself, the filling featured fairly lean BBQ pork.  It wasn't as saucy as some other versions I've had, yet it was hardly dry either.  We felt the glaze was nicely balanced between sweet and savory.

For dessert, we got the Pineapple Buns filled with a mashed pineapple custard.  The best part of the bun was its texture as it was soft, fluffy and light.  It was almost like biting into a cloud (if we could eat clouds that is).  Inside, the pineapple filling was more sweet than pineapple tasting.  There were some intermittent chunks though.  Overall, we thought the dim sum at Elite was generally good.  It was more traditional than modern and that could be said about the decor as well.

The Good:
- Solid eats
- Decent service
- Well-portioned

The Bad:
- Pretty standard, nothing modern
- Decor could use a refresh


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