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Enjoy dim sum all day in Lomita at 101 Dim Sum Artisan – Press Telegram

A few years ago, I took a restaurant critic out of New York one of the San Gabriel Valley’s great dim sum palaceswith a multitude of rolling carts, and many tables of 10 or a dozen, with metal vapors piled up in front, and higher still.

He looked around and announced, perversely, that he didn’t feel like dim sum, and wanted to order from the evening’s seafood menu. I explained to him that this was not possible, but he insisted that it had to be.

And so, he confronted one of the harassed managers, demanding to be served a shrimp and lobster feast during dim sum hours. The manager looked at him as if he had been asked to see the kosher menu and told him there was no seafood until dinner. And so, the reviewer sat there, nibbling on the occasional dumpling and muttering that this wasn’t what he wanted to write.

New Yawkers…know what I’m saying? (As a former New Yawker, I certainly do!)

But the critic did touch on one of the basic rules of Chinese cooking. It’s that, for the most part, dim sum is for breakfast and lunch, and everything else is for dinner. Or at least, that was the rule. Even branches of They say Tai Fung started popping up all over town, with a new one opening soon Disney Center, of all places! Din Tai Fung serves dim sum all the time; it no longer disappears in the middle of the afternoon.

And Din Tai Fung has inspired a world of all-day dim sum houses, including Chef Tony at Arcadia and, more recently, the much more casual, though still with more names 101 Artisan Dim Sumwhich is in the same Lomita mini-mall as Peruvian kotosh and sushi. 101 is a cafe with about 30 dishes, which many fans eat in the small dining area and which even more fans take home from the counter, which can be piled with ready-to-use plastic bags.

Of course, there are no rolling carts, which seem to be a kind of disappearing canteen around the city, aided in their extinction by the isolation of Covid. But then, logistically, there’s no way there could be rolling carts on the 101; the aisles are barely wide enough to walk to your table! And anyway, the trend these days is towards ready-to-order dim sum in the kitchen; à la carte dining had taken over from the old random selection of carts.

That’s all fine with me, as long as the selection of dumplings and such is large and never stops. Which, with a table of hungry neighbors in a feeding frenzy, is very much so. There’s something about dim sum that makes even the most committed dieter whisper that she can always have celery tomorrow: these dumplings are just too good to pass up.

For those familiar with dim sum dishes, there is a lot of familiarity here and many of these old familiars are essential. (They reheat well at home. Although steamed dishes should be re-steamed and not microwaved. The micro tends to dry them out!)

There are 14 steamed dishes, none cost more than $8.49 and most are under $6, making it easy to over-order and not too expensive. At the top of my list would be the dishes at the top of the menu: the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings, four of them, all satisfying although the shrimp are more than a little chewy.

There are many tastier ones: mushroom and shrimp shiu mai. The steamed soup dumplings. The steamed chicken and ginger bun and the steamed barbecue pork bun. It can be difficult to choose between them. I suggest ordering both. I mean… life is short and all that.

Of course, hot sauce wontons call to me. As are the pork pot stickers, shrimp rolls, and garlic ribs. Less strong is the scream of beef tripe with garlic, because the allure of tripe never stopped touching me, no matter how hard I tried. I don’t know what to do with dishes like the Cantonese cake, or the sesame ball with red bean paste. But there they are. Ditto the fried dough stick.

Which is not to say I’m complaining. A wide and varied variety of options is part of the dim sum experience. When the carts are passing, the cart ladies can become very aggressive, trying to move their metallic vapors, even when you turn them on. In 101, it’s all up to you. As always, the only drink for me is tea. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Merrill Shindler is an independent food critic based in Los Angeles. Email mreats@aol.com.

101 Artisan Dim Sum

  • Rating: 2.5 stars
  • Address: 2418 Lomita Blvd., Lomita
  • Information: 424-263-5530; www.dimsum101lomita.com
  • Kitchen: Dim Sum all day
  • When: Lunch and dinner, from Wednesday to Monday
  • Reservations: Necessary for large groups
  • Atmosphere: Informal mini-mall, with many fans stopping by to pick up takeout; a la carte only
  • Prices: About $15 per person
  • In the menu: 14 steamed dishes ($4.68-$8.49), 2 soups ($6.99-$8.49), 7 fried/grilled/baked dishes ($3.50-$5.68), 3 Noodle Rolls ($6.48-$7.48), 2 Porridge ($29.99) ($29.99)
  • Credit cards: MC, V
  • What do the stars mean: 4 (World class! Worth a trip from anywhere!), 3 (Most excellent, even exceptional. Worth a trip from anywhere in Southern California.), 2 (A good place to eat. Pay worth a trip from anywhere in Southern California). neighborhood.) 1 (If you’re hungry and it’s close, but don’t get stuck in oncoming traffic.) 0 (Honestly, it’s not worth writing about.)

Enjoy dim sum all day in Lomita at 101 Dim Sum Artisan – Press Telegram Source link Enjoy dim sum all day in Lomita at 101 Dim Sum Artisan – Press Telegram

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