We checked out the bustling, mega dim sum parlor known as Atlantic Seafood in Monterey Park and we’re amazed with the ease, grace, precision and tasty bites we found. A long line out front on Sunday morning resulted in a 15 minute wait, so don’t be put off by the crowds, they are an indication of the quality and tasty food available inside.
Dim Sum means “to touch the heart” and these little snacks have been a staple of Cantonese cuisine for thousands of years. Although the origins are unclear, dim sum was definitely a part of tea house culture provided to travelers along the Silk Road. Today, Atlantic Seafood brings the tradition to the San Gabriel Valley at the price of $2.58 per order on holidays and weekends from 9 AM to 3 PM. There is also a per person charge of $1.18 for tea and sauces, a small price to pay for the spectacle and on demand plates provided.
During our brief wait we enjoyed the fish tanks at the entrance that are illuminated in blue light and showcase the fresh seafood available from the menu. When our number was called we followed a black suited employee to our table in the lively dining room.
Warming carts, manned by servers wearing sneeze guards, are piled high with metal containers containing dumplings, stuffed buns, steamed dishes and Chinese specialties. Customers are offered a glimpse into the canisters to decided if they are desirable and then choose those they prefer. Seafood, chicken, vegetable and pork bites are presented in groups of three or four, so it’s always a great idea to enjoy dim sum with larger groups of people, allowing more variety to be sampled from the scores of dishes being pushed around the room.
Open trays also circle laden with fried dishes, desserts and items that don’t fit inside the metal warming boxes.
We definitely have our favorites and also love to try new things which is why dim sum brunches make us exceptionally joyful. We started with a scallop and shrimp dumpling in a rice paper wrapper that is delicately steamed to keep the juicy flavors at their peak.
Dim sum parlors are often judged by the quality of their hair gow, the translucently thin skinned, shrimp stuffed dumplings. Atlantic’s sweet shrimp were a testament to the quality of the seafood and skill of the kitchen staff.
Shumai, are open dumplings of shrimp, pork and vegetables, and these succulent beauties are two bite wonders.
Spicy chili oil is available on request, while little cups of hot mustard and Sriracha sauce are laid on the table to dip the dim sum if desired. Hot tea can be requested in a number of brews including jasmine, oolong, and crysthanamum.
We sampled a seafood stuffed, fried tofu dish that combines wonderful textures and tastes.
And the sugared pastry encased “chicken pot pie” is a inspired mix of sweet and savory.
Shrimp egg rolls come with their own special dipping sauce.
While the stuffed, fried eggplant are crisp on the outside and warm, meaty goodness inside that floats in a savory sauce.
We fell in love with the coconut filled pasty dessert and will definitely be looking forward to lots more of these in our future.
For a traditional, hectic Hong Kong style dim sum experience with high quality little plates, Atlantic Seafood is the spot to get your southern Chinese fix.
Atlantic Seafood & Dim Sum Restaurant, 500 North Atlantic Boulevard, Suite 200, Monterey Park, CA 91754 Phone – 626-872-0388 web site – atlanticsf.weebly.com