Location: 975 N Michillinda Ave, Pasadena, CA 91107. (626) 510-6286
Date: March 8, 2023
Cuisine: Contemporary Chinese
Rating: Solid, slightly experimental dim sum
There is a lot of buzz about Colette, which is part of the “next generation” of LA Chinese restaurants. They opened in a cafe-like space and are serving both Cantonese-esqe and dim sum. From their website:
Colette is a Cantonese-based creative Asian restaurant that welcomes people from all walks of life for all occasions. Our goal is to provide you with an inviting experience whether you’re joining us for a fine new Asian cuisine, after hiking, a friend or family gathering, a business meeting, a date, or other special occasions.
Whatever the occasion, our ambiance, and setting at Colette will serve your needs. Whether you are on the go or want to bring your pets to relax and hang out with friends, our indoor seating area and the outdoor patio are designed to offer you a cozy and comfortable space for you to enjoy your meal. In addition, our food is cooked to order and is prepared with quality in mind. Whenever it is possible, our food is prepared using ingredients from local farmers’ markets.
At Colette, we believe dining is an experience involving all senses, not just taste. Therefore, we try to ensure that our guests will enjoy the service provided by our staff and our decor, in addition to the excellent quality and taste of our menu items. We want to offer a memorable experience to each guest so that you will return with your friends and family.
The lunch menu.
We decided not to throw down $79/lb for some geoduck. Did at a dinner a few months later, but more on that later.
Pretty tea service.
Abalone sauce chicken feet. Chicken feet braised in condensed seafood sauce. Those willing to try these nasty things thought they were bland and generally a poor showing.
Shrimp & Pork Siu Mai. Shrimp and pork filled in thin wonton wrap. Not a bad siu mai. One of the better dim sum.
Lotus Leaf Wrapped Sticky Rice. Sticky rice, chicken, salted egg yolk, mushroom, wrapped in lotus leaf. Torched mozzarella cheese. Nice presentation, but we weren’t sure the melted cheese added in any way to the rather bland classic sticky rice. It did have a good amount of filling, however.
Crispy Abalone Taro Tart. Fried taro tart topped with braised abalone. The abalone on top was great and the “body” of the dumpling was a giant ball of taro that was wrapped in a crispy shell and deep friend. While hugely carby, it was kinda delicious.
Sauces. We had to ask for these.
Shrimp Egg Roll. Not a bad spring roll and stuffed with shrimp.
XLB. Very mediocre typical dim sum XLB. Not great but not bad.
Jumbo Shrimp Har Gow. Shrimp with rice noodle wrap. The filling was pretty good but the wrapper was sticky and tore easily.
Char Siu Bun. Bun stuffed with minced Char Siu. Pretty sweet but a solid (normal) version of the dish.
Crispy stuffed chicken. Deboned air-dried chicken, shrimp paste. This is known as 100 flower chicken. It’s basically a pan fried shrimp paste cake sandwiched in chicken skin. This was a solid version of the dish, and it’s a great dish, so probably one of the best items we had.
More close ups.
Golden Pork Trots. Fried pork trots marinated with red bean sauce and garlic. These were terrible. Overcooked and with a nasty “ripe pig” taste. Yuck.
Overhead on the nasty things.
Black Pepper Diced Beef. Sauteed black angus beef dice. Fairly typical “shaking beef”, pretty sweet, but enjoyable enough.
Overall, this is a weird place. It feels like an American breakfast cafe, but it’s Chinese. The food is mildly fusion. It’s partially dim sum, partially other Chinese. Dishes were hit or miss but nothing really stood out as amazing and it’s not actually “better” in any way than most SGV restaurants. But that’s just the dim sum. A follow-up dinner here turned out an absolutely first class meal. So while I think Colette is nice enough at lunch, it really rocks for less dim sum oriented Cantonese — more on that in another post.