Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dim Sum @ The Kitchen (Alhambra)

I am really torn about this place. On one hand, it's actually very reasonable on the pricing for a dim sum lunch. On the other hand, it's nothing spectacular to write about as the lunch was ho-hum. So ordinary for a place that it still gets big praise from a certain Pulitzer prize winning food critic. I think he had just dropped the ball on this one. (Jonathan Gold)

The Kitchen was formerly known as NYC Jumbo Seafood which was a critic's darling, but based on what I heard, another ho-hum for a Chinese food kitchen. I am just beginning to wonder if the place was over hyped because of a few food critics talked it up as one of the best dim sum place in LA (CitySearch was another site that praised this place).

The restaurant does not have a cart ladies pushing the carts to bring food around for dim sum lunches. Instead you will have to order the dim sum items through menus. Obviously, there are some pitfalls by ordering off menu which we have experienced in the afternoon.

First, compared to the other menu based dim sum places, the Kitchen is not very descriptive with their menu items and also does not have photos on majority of their items. It led to a confusion of wrong items ordered as some of group preferred a deep fried taro balls which they thought was salty, but instead got a rather very sweet sesame taro balls like a dessert.

Then even worse, there was confusion with the servers bringing these dishes to our table as they were unsure if we have ordered the items. The system or technique they employed for bringing dishes to the tables might need to tweak a little to get it right.

Some of the items I have ordered are:


Hai Gaw

Chicken feet in Soy Sauce

Fried Green Tea Dumplings

Fried Turnip cake with soy sauce

Those are the standard fares. There are not much of outstanding wowsers among these groups. The only saving grace was the roast duck. Keep in mind in that most of the item including the duck will not be served until 11am.

Roast Duck

Presentation wise was not as impressive as Mission 261 or Seafood Harbour. The price was actually very reasonable since most cheap dim sum items are around $2 per dish. We averaged out to $14 for a large group. In taste wise, I'm a little bit underwhelmed. It's not bad, but again not really spectacular where I can distinguished from other dim sum places that is all over the place in this city.

I think the big drawback compared to the other newer dim sum places are the lack of creative dishes for dim sum. The choices for dim sums are conventional with not much of newer choices. Look at some of the photos I have taken and you'll see the standard dishes you'll find at most places.

Rice Congee (Chinese Porridge)

The crowd starts to pick up towards lunch time at noon, but it seemed to get a lot of competition around Valley Blvd (New Capital, 888, MPV Seafood..etc etc). There are plenty of choices to chose from with dim sum.

It's a ho-hum choice for dim sum here.

The Kitchen
203 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91804
(626) 289-4828


Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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