80: Shu mai at Elite Restaurant.
Elite Restaurant in Monterey Park has a reputation for being one of the most civilized dim sum palaces in town -- if you're accustomed to waving down rattling food carts or boxing out a table of grandmothers for the last order of har gow, you'd probably find the attentive table service and the subdued vibe a bit of a surprise. Things are mellower here. The flaky egg custard tarts, dainty things tinged with a bit of caramelized sugar, taste like they could have been flown in from the finest Paris patisserie.
The plump shu mai on the other hand, loose-skinned dumplings packed with shrimp and fatty slips of pork, are pure forces of nature. Not only are they some of the most massive, golf ball-looking versions you'll find in the SGV -- if the weatherman ever describes the hail outside as Elite shu mai-sized, run for cover -- they're also juicy and supple enough to please the most jaded dim sum veteran. Redolent of rice wine and sesame oil, and crowned with a dab of bright red fish roe, these shu mai hold one more surprise: a tiny round of scallop tucked into each dumpling. It would be easier to cram 20 fraternity pledges into a VW bug than to stuff more filling into these things.