I went with my parents and grandma to Elite today for dim sum. I have to say, it wasn't mindblowing or spectacular. Yes, it was very very good, don't get me wrong. The only dish I actively disliked was the shao mai, because there was some really strong fishy flavor going on within the center of it, which isn't to my liking.
No, nothing was even close to bad -- but my point is, with the way everyone on Chowhound just raves about Elite, or at the very least kneejerk-lists Elite as the number one or two dim sum restaurant in the LA area (or top five, but you get what I'm talking about), I was really expecting like.. something *something* good! Like, amazing taste, flavors...
There was one mindblowing dish: the egg custard (dan ta). Wow. It was piping hot out of the oven, with a buttery, flakey crust that just collapsed upon touch and the most silken, delicate, nearly liquid hot custard in the center, this dish made me, my mom, and my grandma stop mid-chew and proclaim to the others how good it was.
But everything else, the chicken feet, the taro cake, the xia jao (har gow), and a few others, were just as good as most dim sum places we've been to. My parents and grandmother are all Chinese immigrants from Taiwan and my grandma lives in Monterey Park, just as a bit of background info for reference -- and yes, I'm pointing that out because my parents had been telling me they'd eaten at Elite once before and while it was good, it wasn't better than anything else they've eaten, and I just refused to believe them because of the multitudes of positive comments on Chowhound.
Now I've decided always to trust my parents when it comes to Chinese food in LA. Chowhound will still be my go-to for non-Chinese cuisine, but I've been disappointed by every Chinese-recommended place on this board. I'm not blaming anybody, and I do realize we should all remember these are just opinions being put forth here, so it's not like anybody's actually *wrong* about a single thing; I just realize now that my parents are better and more reliable sources for Chinese chow than anybody on this board. (Also, I'm biased because I love them.)
But anyway, with food quality being equal to that of other dim sums my family and I have been to, and considering the hour-long wait and the extremely high prices at Elite, I won't bother eating there again.
I just want to reiterate: this is not a negative review of Elite; it's a great dim sum restaurant but simply not worth the price. And if my parents saw me write that previous sentence, they'd say "that's exactly what we kept trying to tell you!"
P.S. Another observation is that dim sum cuisine is such that the range of quality generally isn't too great; I mean, you know, the difference between the "worst" and the "best" dim sum is pretty small, in my opinion. For one thing, it's kind of hard to seriously mess up most of the classic dishes, and conversely, I believe there is a ceiling to their deliciousness as well. Does this make sense? I feel that it's not difficult or rare to achieve extremely tasty, well-made dim sum, which is why so many dim sum places taste so equally good. And this is why I think Elite's "greatness" simply cannot be head and shoulders above the competition. Okay, I'll shut up now.
700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754