For obvious reasons, I chose to dine at Shi Hai, because LA Times Food Critic Jonathan Gold’s restaurant review convinced me to go. My friends and I didn’t order what he recommended, but ordered the basic dishes that you’d find at any dim sum restaurant as a way to compare this place with the competitors. Overall, my friends and I had an enjoyable dining experience at Shi Hai Restaurant. The food critic was 100% right about the quality of the food. It’s delicious!
Considered the high-end dining of dim sum, Shi Hai Restaurant satisfies my needs to dine in a classy place. I love dim sum, but I don’t care for the tacky decor that I find at budget dim sum restaurants. Shi Hai is an attractive looking restaurant that commands the impression of high-end dining when you walk through the doors. You won’t see folded pieces of paper to level the table (so your food does not fall off) and you will not see photocopies of menus tucked underneath the glass tabletop or taped to the walls. You also won’t see dim sum carts that travel around the tables nor will you hear the Cart Servers hustle you to buy more dim sum. Shi Hai is not that type of dim sum place. It’s modern with an upscale appeal and they take their food seriously.
Like any high-end restaurant, you pay pay for comfort. I felt relaxed and comfortable at Shi Hai Restaurant. There is plenty of room so I didn’t accidentally rub elbows with the person sitting in the next table. The spaciousness also provided for a sense of privacy. It’s so roomy that I didn’t hear the conversation from the dining party next to us. The noise level is average, but not obnoxious like a budget dim sum restaurant where Servers talk across the room to each other.
Then there’s the clientele. The Asian clientele are exactly what the business publications have been writing about for the past two years…the new upper-Middle to upper class Asians attracted to the finer things in life.
The Service was definitely top notched at Shi Hai; very attentive and consistent, the quality of service expected from a high-end restaurant. The Servers and Managers were very professional and hospitable. The only drawback was the lack of basic English conversational skills. What made up for this flaw was the clever dim sum menu. I believe it was designed to attract the Western customers. It’s very well organized with lovely food photos of each dim sum delicacy served at the restaurant. These photos helped me and my friends decide what we wanted to eat.
Ordering food is easy at Shi Hai. In a nutshell, you find and write the number of orders you want on the menu. Then you flag down a Server to give him or her your list. In a matter of minutes, your food arrives at your table. When you want more food, you flag down any Server to hand them your new list of orders. Oh, and it also helps to point to what you want on the menu.
The timing from the kitchen to the table was excellent impressive. It wasn’t a long wait at all.
My friends and I agreed that everything we ate was well made and the seasoning was appropriately balanced. Not one dish was mushy or burnt or overly salty or bland. For instance, the BBQ Pork with Sweet Corn Rice Noodle Roll was magnificent. The rice noodle wrapper never fell apart and it didn’t taste greasy either. As a matter of fact, it was quite nice to pick up a piece with chopsticks and not watch it slip back onto my plate. Even the soy sauce poured over the roll was nicely balanced. It didn’t have the overpowering harsh taste.
The Minced Beef Ball was incredibly tasty too. It was plump, meaty, juicy and tender. The Har Gow (aka Chinese Shrimp dumplings) is a dish that I always judge a dim sum restaurant on. It was a surprise to find that the dumpling did not fall apart when I pulled it away from the steamer. They also didn’t skimp on the shrimp and pork fat stuffing inside the dumpling like the budget dim sum places. The Har Gow is an incredibly awesome item to eat at Shi Hai Restaurant.
Then there’s the Shu Mai (aka the Pork and Crab Dumplings). This dim sum delicacy was perfectly prepared with an over abundance of tasty surf and turf meat inside. Like the Har Gow, the Shu Mai didn’t fall apart when you picked it up from the steamer. It’s a winner.
The very last thing we ordered were the Baked Egg Custards. This delicacy is the most popular dim sum item at any restaurant, which made sense to try the ones at Shi Hai. OMG these are so good! The egg custard tastes like a fresh made vanilla pudding. It’s eggy and sweet. The puff pastry, on the other hand, didn’t have a greasy feel on your fingertips.
Overall I felt dim sum at Shi Hai Restaurant were appropriately priced for food that tasted really good. Generally, depending on the item, the prices are either $2.88, $3.88, and $4.88 per order. Of course, the prices were slightly higher than the budget restaurants by 60 cents more per dish, but (in my opinion) the higher prices comes with better quality food that tastes superior.
Before leaving, I took a look at the regular lunch and dinner menu. It was a shocker to see the prices were comparable to the restaurants in the area. Since the dim sum was so wonderful, I plan to return to Shi Hai to try their dinner service. On the dinner menu is a whole roasted Suckling Pig that I would love to try.
Shi Hai Restaurant
1412 S. Garfield Avenue
Alhambra, CA 91801
Open 9:30AM - 10:30PM Monday - Sunday
The Tasty Chronicles: Part Five of a few animated gifs that I made. This one is about the dinner I ate at Maragume Monzo at the Little Tokyo District in Downtown Los Angeles. This particular Japanese restaurant specializes in making fresh Udon Noodles. They have an awesome Udon Noodle Soup at Marugame Monzo.
The Tasty Chronicles: Part Four of a few animated gifs that I made. This one is about the dinner I ate at Maragume Monzo at the Little Tokyo District in Downtown Los Angeles. This particular Japanese restaurant specializes in making fresh Udon Noodles.
The Tasty Chronicles: Part Three of a few animated gifs that I made. This one is about the dinner I ate at Maragume Monzo at the Little Tokyo District in Downtown Los Angeles. This particular Japanese restaurant specializes in making fresh Udon Noodles.
The Tasty Chronicles: Part Two of a few animated gifs that I made. This one is about the dinner I ate at Maragume Monzo at the Little Tokyo District in Downtown Los Angeles. This particular Japanese restaurant specializes in making fresh Udon Noodles.
The Tasty Chronicles: THE best breakfast I ever had. A double scoop of Chocolate Almond & Caramel Cheesecake and the Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache on a waffle cone at Salt & Straw in The Larchmont Village of Los Angeles.
The Tasty Chronicles: I have nothing but nice things to say about Superba Food + Bread. I like the architecture of the restaurant, I love the almost vegetarian food, I love the breads, I love the pastries, I love the coffee, and I love the selection of wines and cocktails. This restaurant is by far one of the best new restaurants / bakeries that I’ve dined at this year. Glad Superba Food + Bread is a great place to eat and I hope to see another location in other neighborhoods in the greater Los Angeles area. Well, I can only wish.
I went on a weekend at a time when the bakery doors opened. There were only a few selections of breads and pastries for for purchase, and from the looks of it, I arrived way too early for brunch. The baked goods were magniciently displayed on the counter like fine jewels and jewelry at Tiffany & Co. The in-house bakery is a spectacle of viewing pleasure from all corners of the dining area. You can watch them make the bread and you can sometimes smell the fresh bread baking. It’s so cool to watch them knead dough for baking, stick them in wicker baskets, and watch them meticulously place the dough in the oven for baking. If you look further in the back, you can catch dozens of chickens and meats being roasted for lunch service as well as a dozen or so pineapples.
I ordered a gorgeous looking Almond Croissant, an Espanola Quiche (aka Spanish Tortilla Quiche), some fresh made Srawberry Preserves, and a cold brewed Stumptown coffee to curb my hunger pains. The items I ate were delicious and I had to take some of it home, because it was way too much food to eat. I loved the flaky croissant, but only wished the almond filling was a bit sweeter. The Quiche took a long wait to reheat, but when I finally got it, oh wow…it was incredibly tasty, toasty on the outside yet the potatoes and Spanish Manchego cheese inside were nice, gooey bites of deliciousness. As for the homemade Strawberry Preserves, it’s made almost like the French way…lot of fruit and less sugar. It, too, was incredible to eat.
A several hours later, a friend and I returned for a very late lunch, because I tortured her with all the food pics. The lunch menu (aka The Good Afternoon menu) has a simple, modest selection of salads, sandwiches, and what they call Toasts. They also have chalkboard lunch specials on a daily basis. What you need to order is exactly what my friend and I ordered to share…
Two glasses of white French wine
The Avocado Toast
The Smoked Salmon Toast
The Black Rice Salad with roasted pineapple
The wines perfectly complimented our almost vegetarian meal. The Avocado Toast came with one large slice of rustic bread topped with a mash of avocados and other good things like the radish sprouts that make it taste so good. The Smoked Salmon Toast was my favorite one, because I loved eating the smoked salmon and egg salad combination. However, my all-time favorite dish was the Black Rice Salad with roasted Pineapple and cashews. It’s a hearty meal in itself.
Like I already mentioned, I love this restaurant/bakery and wished there were more locations. The only downside of my experience were the lack of parking on the premises and our Lunch Server who was a bit disorganized and lacked common sense (she kept double charging our food bill and added items we didn’t order). Other than these two glitches, Superba Food + Bread is worth a longer commute to the heart of Venice to eat great food. This beach town is so lucky to have Superba.
The Tasty Chronicles: Part One of a few animated gifs that I made. This one is about the dinner I ate at Maragume Monzo at the Little Tokyo District in Downtown Los Angeles. This particular Japanese restaurant specializes in making fresh Udon Noodles.