In May, Ocean Star was the fifth place I visited as a part of my 12 month odyssey checking out a different Dim Sum restaurant a month all over LA County. Previous visits were to Triumphal Palace, Capital Seafood, Sea Harbour and Mission 261.
At Ocean Star, it's all about the carts and there were quite a few bustling around the tables on the morning we were there. Unfortunately, even with all the carts, there wasn't much variety in their dim sum offerings. In fact, I can safely say that my dim sum at Ocean Star was one of the most boring dining experiences I've ever had.
Of course, there are certain "staples" you expect to see and order, like shrimp har gow, shu mai and flat rice noodles, but there's also the expectation or hope that you'll get to try items that you have never sampled before, especially in a group setting, when it's easier to be more adventurous. Don't get me wrong. Nothing tasted bad, but when all you get is plate after plate of items that look similar in color and shape and certainly didn't impress taste-wise, that's pretty disappointing. Considering that we had 15 dishes, saying that almost nothing stood out is kind of sad.
I guess if I had to point out some positives, I'd say that the pork and shrimp shau mai wasn't bad. I remember biting into it and tasting a bit of the pork juices which gave the shau mai a nice meaty flavor. There was also the noodle wrapped crullers and I remember liking its chewy texture. I also liked the seafood dumpling, although please don't ask me what the filling is because I can't recollect it.
Other than that, both versions (steamed and fried) of the BBQ pork buns didn't have a lot of filling and seemed dry. The soup in the xia long baos was MIA. One food item had a "cute" factor since it was shaped like a chick, but cuteness wasn't enough because people didn't even finish it after they took a bite of it. Dessert choices were limited and two of the ones we ordered had the same filling, so no originality there, that's for sure. Whatever else I didn't mention was just okay.
Even as we were leaving and I saw that dim sum carts were now including dishes that weren't available earlier in the morning, there was still nothing that wowed me. Everything still looked all the same to me. Would I go back to Ocean Star? Probably not. There are just way too many better dim sum restaurants out there to choose from.
To see pics, go to:
Ocean Star Seafood Restaurant
145 N Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754