Shu mai at Elite Restaurant
Shu mai at Elite Restaurant
John Zhong

80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant

Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.

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.

Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.

100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles

99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1

98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil

97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.

96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche

95: Duck Shawarma at Momed

94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa

93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen

92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord

91: Baco Mercat's Bazole

90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame

89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence

88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market

87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane

86: Galbi Jjim at Soban

85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post

84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun

83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co

82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus

81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza

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