Restaurant: ixlb Dimsum Eats
Location: 5900 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028. (323) 848-4766
Date: January 30, 2023
Cuisine: Chinese Dim Sum
Rating: Meh. Horrible takeout focused format
ixlb is a mom and pop takeout oriented dim sum spot in Hollywood. The owner is incredibly nice and dedicated to his craft. The kitchen is great and the older dim sum chefs make everything in house right there. You order at the counter and they bring everything in takeout containers. Drinks, plasticware, napkins etc are all of the disposable variety. There are only a couple tables.
The tiny interior is even smaller than this wide angle photo makes it look.
The menu covers most of the dim sum basics but they lean toward the fried and are missing a lot of the dim sum classics like chow fun, lotus sticky rice, etc.
We had to keep ordering in batches.
Iced Coconut Tapioca.
Spicy Cucumbers. Okay cucumbers.
Sauces is one of the biggest problems with ixlb. They are in these little containers. Mustard and chili paste are in packets. There doesn’t appear to be vinegar or XO sauce. They are hard to use like this and of vastly inferior quality. The mustard was bitter and awful. To me, along with the crappy plastic wares and takeout containers this lowers the whole “form factor” and “enjoyment factor” of the eating by a fairly massive margin — even though the kitchen is quite good.
Char Siu. Very solid “hefty” version. Nothing amazing, but good.
XLB are good for dim sum XLB but no great shakes by real XLB standards. The lack of vineyard is a big problem too.
Har gow. These had thin wrappers and an excellent shrimp interior. The wrappers did tend to stick and fall apart — perhaps because of the transfer to the tackout containers.
Shrimp and Chive Dumpling. Okay with that “metallic” chive taste.
Shrimp Wonton with Chili Oil. Not really much chili oil but this was a very nice light wrappered shrimp dumpling.
Pan Fried Dumplings. Pretty tasty.
Not sure what these fried shrimp wontons were called but they were very crunchy and delicious. Interior was basically shrimp ball.
Spring Rolls. Crispy with a pretty good interior. Not as good as Rays, but solid.
Scallion Pancake. Just fine.
Fried Crab Sticks. Just about what it says: fried crab sticks. Ok.
Steamed Char Siu Bao. Very nice sweet pork filling and well made bao.
Baked Char Siu Bao. Very nice sweet pork filling and nice fluffy bun.
Snowcap Char Siu Bao. Very nice sweet pork filling and well made bao, quite sweet, with really nice crispy top. This was slightly better than the regular baked one mostly because of the awesome texture.
Smiling Bun Fish. Basicaly fried fish, slaw, and sauce. Pretty darn tasty, but a lot like a fried fish sandwhich.
Fried Shrimp Balls. Very fried but nice solid shrimp paste.
Sticky Rice Ball with pork. Basically a wrapped ball of sticky rice. Way too carby and bland for my taste.
Inside — all rice.
Seafood Pearl (steamed rice ball). Filled with shrimp paste and a few veggies this was an decent “ricey” version of the normal shrimp ball.
More rice (and shrimp paste).
Tea Eggs. Hard boiled eggs marinated in tea. Not my thing. In China these are usually quail eggs.
Curry chicken puff. This was stuffed with a yellow chicken and pea curry. They were awesome actually, really delicious with a nice crunchy outside and great filling.
The delicious inside.
Baked Sausage Bun. Basically a hot dog in some baked bread. Total meh. The owner said they were “for Americans.”
Char Siu. Overcooked, but somewhat tasty. Pretty middling.
Spicy Pork Noodles. Very dry, salty, and lacking in interesting flavors. Not particularly spicy. Not so great.
Pineapple Bun. This was probably the best pineapple bun I have ever had. Really first rate. The outside had a wonderful crunch and the bun was sweet and pleasant but the custard was awesome, like coconut custard with just a bit of fresh pineapple mixed in.
Macau Egg Tart. Fair version. Pleasant enough but nothing special.
Overall, I didn’t actually enjoy ixlb even though the dim sum itself is homemade and actually quite good. Basically the format utterly ruins it for me. I hate plastic ware. I hate disposable containers. Dumplings stick to them. I hate high top seating. I hate counter ordering. I hate ordering and paying in batches. The sauces totally sucked. So all this conspired to make some quite excellent dim sum actually not taste very good. Dim sum needs the sauce. It needs the steamer with the little sheet of wax paper that prevents sticking. It needs to come out piping hot. It needs to come out in waves (and going up, waiting in line, and paying for each wave isn’t very fun).
Some might say it’s great for take out. Probably is. I don’t do takeout. Don’t like it. Dumplings don’t travel well.
Oh and then add to this that it’s far Hollywood location is actually harder to reach (for me) than the SGV. Well, I’ll probably never be back. Oddly, a couple of the guys really liked it. Not for me. I’ll sit down at a real table.