Restaurant: Lotus Dim Sum Dumpling House
Location: 326 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401. (424) 380-5500
Date: September 9, 2022
Cuisine: Bad Dim Sum
Rating: Blech. Sad. Almost a disaster.
I was actually excited to see that the PF Changs in Santa Monica had “rebooted” as a theoretically real Chinese restaurant, a dim sum house even.
And why the hell is there sushi on the menu?
As is typical for independent Chinese operators they didn’t spend much at all on remodeling, it still looks like a PF Changs. The menu is a mix of typical dim sum and random other Chinese dishes.
Oh yes, let’s not forget the SUSHI! Why is there sushi? This is an immediate sign of a terrible restaurant as no self respecting Chinese establishment can make good sushi, they make good Chinese food.
Smashed cucumbers. Decent, but under marinated and under sauced.
Crispy Bun with Minced Pork. Actually not a bad version of this chewy/sweet thing (often called Fried Glutinous Meat Dumplings).
Shrimp Chow Fun. Decent version. The sauce wasn’t quite sweet enough and the shrimp had a slightly “fishy” taste but was still a 7/10.
Har Gow. Wrapper ok and the shrimp a little “fishy.”
Chicken Chow Fun. The soft kind of noodles. They don’t have the crispy ones. But it was pretty tasty in a cheapy Chinese sort of way.
XLB. The filling was ok but there was no juice and the wrapper was pathetic and soggy and solid. Had to eat the meat out of the middle.
Shu Mai. Smelled a bit odd. Pork tasted okay, wrapper a bit soggy. 3/10.
Black Pepper and Black Bean Beef. Basically “French Style” beef. Really tender and smoothered in “flavor” (aka MSG). Pretty tasty actually.
Szechuan Fish Filets boiled in Chili Sauce. It’s not by any means the best version of this generally awesome dish, but it was actually pretty tasty. Probably a 5/10 but with some numbing. Fish was tender. The biggest problem was that they put corn starch in the sauce so it was too thick (for this dish).
Overall, dim sum was TERRIBLE, some of the worst I have ever had. They are sort of trying, but it’s just bad. The non dim sum dishes were tolerable. Not good. Certainly not great. But okay in that way that Panda Express is sort of okay. And this is much better than Panda, if that’s a 1/10 this is like a 3/10. But it’s certainly not going to compete with the best dim sum west of the 405, the Palace, which isn’t itself even that good (maybe 5/10). But as bad as Lotus is, it’s still better than PF Changs (2/10).
It should be noted that Jeffrey actually half likes the non dim sum dishes here. He’s been a number of times. I think it’s just because it was a block or two from his house and work and that the non dim sum dishes aren’t TERRIBLE, only very very meh.
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