R.I.P. V.I.P. The once loved but lately lamented V.I.P. Harbor Seafood on Barrington and Wilshire is now the Palace Seafood & Dim Sum (not sure if it is just a change in name or ownership as well). The decor remains the same, i.e. not very palatial.
Do I imagine the dim sum is a shade better now than it was in the last days of V.I.P.? Perhaps. Wishful thinking sometimes smoothes the edges of reason and memory. But the har gow seemed plumper and fresher-tasting than I recalled from my last V.I.P. visit, with a more delicate wrapper. There were interesting chicken and leek "cakes" only slightly marred by a somewhat oily quality that lingered on the leeks themselves. The sui mai were good but lacked the mix of shrimp and topping of fish roe now so common in the better places in the SGV. The shrimp egg rolls were fine but did nothing to advance the form (of course, there is an argument that the form needs no advancing). The shrimp and cilantro dumplings were quite nice as well. The sticky rice smelled good but I was the only fan at the table and it was more than I wanted for one so I did not get to try it this visit.
The only true failure was the order of pot stickers, which the Palace fills with chicken rather than pork. To be fair, the filling itself was fine and flavorful (I still prefer the pork version) but the wrapper, which had hardened into a thick, doughy shell, quelled any enjoyment to be had in eating it. The culprit is that the Palace did not make these pot stickers to order--none of those rolling griddle carts--they came out already made on a shelf of one of the baked and fried goods carts, where they may have lingered longer than was wise. Unlike revenge, a pot sticker is not a dish best served cold.
This is not the place which will cause Westsiders to turn their backs in droves on the drive down the 10 to SGV but is a decent option for the days when the trek proves too daunting or you need to stay closer to home.
Vip Harbor Seafood Restaurant and Dim Sum
11701 Wilshire Blvd Ste 13, Los Angeles, CA 90025