We were either gonna do Bloody Marys and brunch at Busby's or dim sum. Not wanting to make too much of an effort and deciding not to start boozing before the noon hour for once we opted for dim sum... at JR Seafood. This would be my first time.
After reading the back and forth on this joint I have to say that I'm not in agreement with the "for's." The shumai were smaller than the ones at Trader Joes and about as tasty (not a compliment). We had beef balls which were fashioned not out of beef, but perhaps out of a small amount of beef and some other sort of brownish beef-like substitute like, oh, I don't know, cardboard from the alley out back. Then we had chicken dumplings whose skin was not only rubbery, but old and appeared to not have had enough time defrosting. There were shrimp balls which were essentially shrimp wrapped in rice which were just eh, which is Latin for "who cares." I will say that the porridge was acceptable but was cancelled out by the glisteningly greasy chinese broccoli which had to be ordered from the kitchen (for shame). This dish is not supposed to be greasy and not DREDGED in oyster sauce either. The standard broccoli I'm used to is steamed and DRIZZLED with the dense oyster sauce and a little sesame oil so that after a few seconds has a chance to comingle and calm down making it refreshing and light. This sorry imitation was OILY and SAUCY and made me want to cry and gag. Poor poor broccoli.
I was shocked to find quite an uncomfortably small restaurant inside. There were but a few carts circling the place and even then they all seemed to have the same items on them and girls who not only seemed to not remember what they were peddling but didn't seem to understand that when they stopped at the table they were supposed to show you what they had to offer. Maybe they were embarrassed, which I would understand.
I've been to 888 Seafood and waited 2 HOURS!!!! It was mothers day, big mistake. I do not recommend going on mothers day. But when we sat down to eat, believe it or not, all the pain and bitterness, and there was a lot of it, melted away as each wonderful metal tin alighted on our table, holding interesting and perfectly balanced items. Either we were really really hungry or the food was that good. Who knows? Go on non-holiday days and try to be somewhat early and the wait might be tolerable, but no matter what, I can sincerely say that the two hour wait was worth it, and I HATE WAITING FOR ANYTHING. CBS Seafood in Chinatown is a family tradition and in my opinion, perfect in everyway. From their tea, which is stong and alive, to the service which is helpful and perfectly in tune with the needs of each table, you will not ever be disappointed. The chatter and noise in a good chinese restaurant is also missing from JR Seafood and this auditory element is essential to the dim sum experience. Living on the westside makes dim sum at either of these places a serious commitment, but I'd go out of my way and will make the effort next time. No more subsitutes. I don't know what came over me... but don't let it happen to you.
Hope this helps those that might be on the fence.
CBS Seafood Restaurant
700 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
8450 East Valley Blvd.
MY QUESTION: Should we have gone to Busby's for brunch instead?
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