Location: 1001 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755. (626) 571-0888
Date: January 24, 2023
Cuisine: Cantonese Dim Sum
Rating: Many good, some great items
The DimSumQuest continues with Monterey Park classic Monterey Palace.
It’s right there on Garvey with that classic 90s look.
And the classic Monterey Park dining room.
Hanging roast meats.
You have to pay for the basic sauces at $1 a plate.
We ordered this twice and it cost $1. They were out of XO sauce! huh?
Har Gow. Solid, but a little underseasoned. There was a real shrimp in there and the skins were just a touch thick.
Shu Mai. Also a bit underseasoned. Not my favorite. Not bad or anything, just a bit meh.
XLB. The standard “Elite style” pre-packaged tin foil thick XLB. Filling was underseasoned.
Shrimp with Chives dumpling. Filling was a touch underseasoned and skin just a little thick, but certainly pretty good.
Chao Zhou Dumpling. Peanuts inside this one. Better filling, same skin.
Bean Curd Wrap with Oyster Sauce. A nice version of this dish, piping hot. Solid but not the best ever.
Steamed Pork Spare Ribs with Pumpkin. Really excellent version of this dish. Little bone, very tender, and lots of flavor.
Beef Balls with Orange Peel. The typical “dense” beef ball but quite nice.
Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf. Solid enough, but not so much meat. Rice did taste very nice though. Not as good as the incredible 1968 version.
BBQ Pork Chow Fun. Solid with the wrapper being a touch heavy but the pork was good. Sauce could have been a touch sweeter.
Flaky BBQ Pork Buns. Flaky laminated lard pastry was great but the filling was minimal and bland. Very meh.
Baked BBQ Pork Pie (or possibly this is the flaky, hard to know). This pastry was great here and the pork pretty good, although not as red and sweet as some. The pastry was just a touch undercooked in the center but the outside and crackle was delicious.
Pan Fried Spring Roll with Taro. The outside was nice and crispy/flaky but the blah taro interior was heavy and flavorless.
Pork Dumpling. The usual glutinious bomb. These were actually a great example of the type with a nice thick, chewy, and slightly sweet skin. Could have used a bit more filling but what was there was delicious.
The nearly hollow interior.
Cantonese Roast Duck. Cold. Once a person adjusted to the temperature this juice duck — while very salted — was absolutely delicious.
Chinese Broccoli with Salted Fish. Nice very salty green veg with lots of crunchy and umami.
Roasted Squab. Solid, probably 7/10, but I have had better versions of this dish quite frequently.
Live Turbot, steamed with Garlic and Ginger. Absolutely first rate fish. This had nice flavor and that melt-in-your-mouth flesh quality that the best versions of this dish have. Almost as good as the Chang’an version — which is to say incredible.
Bovon likes a good Turbot.
Baked Snow Capped Bun. Inside was a coconut cream filling. The pastry was nice, but not that sweet and the filling lacked flavor to my taste.
Baked Portuguese Egg Tart. These were probably the best example of this classic I’ve ever had. I think the “pastry” chef here is very good. The tart itself almost fell apart but tasted great and the filling was light, eggy, and very fluffy, not too sweet. Spectacular fresh out of the oven.
Thai Durian Puff. Super crispy sprial pastry with durian cream inside. This was again the best durian puff I’ve ever had. That petrol taste was clean and lovely with a really great “creme pat” texture. Fabulous warm.
Black and White Sesame Balls. Took 30 min to bake! I didn’t try but apparently they were good too.
Overall, the dimsum was solid but generally just “good-” on the scale of SGV made to order dim sum. A couple dishes stood out. The baked pastries were excellent although the savory fillings hit or miss. The sweet baked goods some of the best Chinese sweet baked goods I’ve had anywhere. There was a general tendency to under-seasoning in the savory items. The non dimsum dishes were better, quite salted.