My Gold Star for dim sum is still Yank SIng in San Francisco. I've tried most of the well known dim sum restaurants in LA/SGV and Lunasia most definitely leads the pack. Like Yank SIng, you get what you pay for. High quality food is expensive and I'm always willing to pay for quality food. You can't stay in business if you're not profitable. Empress Pavillion in Chinatwon was an LA staple for years and it was inexpensive. The quality of the food went down and down so they could meet the price demands of the people who want to feed a family of 8 for $20. The result is they are now gone. Lunasia's food is high quality and their portions are the most I've seen anywhere. Keep the standards high and people will come back over and over. Skimp on the food and you'll be out of business before long.
I really like the idea of ordering fro the menu rather than waiting/hoping for what I want to come by. Not a very relaxing way to enjoy a meal at all. Always looking for that sticky rice or BBQ pork buns while wolfing down the dishes already on the table. Great advance in dim sum in my opinion. Not unique to to Lunasia but nevertheless a contributing factor to the overall experience.
Every dish we enjoyed was outstanding from the shrimp har gow with 3 huge hunks of very tasty shrimp to the light as a feather baked BBQ pork buns to some of the best noodle dishes I've ever had to sticky rice filled with lots of meat not a stray piece here and there like most dim sum sticky rice. The pork balls were filled with a delicious mix of meat and spices but were a little greasy. The shrimp won ton soup was filled with huge portions of shrimp. The almond milk with puff pastry topping was very good. The soup dumplings were much better than Din Tai Fung in Arcadia- generally the gold standard for XLB. The BBQ pork was juicy, delicious and generous.
We came in the mid afternoon on a weekday so there was no wait. We were seated immediately, filled out the card with the dishes we wanted using the beautifully pictured menu and waited, and waited and waited. The service was really terrible and it was a constant struggle throughout the meal to flag down a server. At one point, there was not a single server to be found in the entire dining room. I looked around and saw many frustrated faces searching for a server as well.
The dim sum was so good that I won't let the service deter me from giving Lunasia five stars. It still isn't quite up to the standards of Yank Sing but the best I've had in LA/SGV. Can't wait to go back.
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