Drive about ten miles east of downtown Los Angeles and you’ll find yourself in a sort of cornucopia of Asian food. Vietnamese, Chinese – a spectrum of dim sum that stretches from soup dumplings in tiny, ten-tabled holes-in-the-wall to cavernous event palaces where older women push carts of cooked chicken feet, jellyfish, pig stomach and a rainbow of intestines.
Clearly, it’s not for everyone.
But in the heart of the shining and glitzy LA Live complex, towering over the city on the 24th floor of the Ritz Carlton hotel, chef Sara Johannes is bringing old world-style dim sum to Wolfgang Puck’s WP24. The restaurant launched Family Style Dim Sum Sunday Dinners on September 25. For $55 each, diners get four courses (ten dishes to share), including honey drizzled BBQ pork buns, scallop steamed shu mai with blue crab in ginger sauce, organic Jidori chicken chow fun noodles with sweet Thai basil, Singapore style chili prawns, and farmer’s market vegetable fried rice. For an additional $20 per person, Alaskan king crab dumplings, Peking style duck two ways or Korean grilled lamb chops with kochujang aioli can be added to the menu. Not a single durian pastry to navigate or chicken brain to avoid.
Perfectly paired with Klaus (brother to Wolfie) Puck’s wine suggestions, the bright, precise flavors – from mild hot-sweet to deep and searingly spicy – are a lovely introduction to the vast and sometimes overwhelming world of Chinese small bites. The restaurant is lovely, the views spectacular; and the menu is not only based on seasonal availability, it is also designed to change according to the weather: a little spicier on cold days, a bit more Yin when the temperature climbs.
But if after the concert, the game, or the Family Sunday Dim Sum Sunday Dinner, you still want to try a bit of dou fu fa (silky tofu in syrup) for dessert, that drive to San Gabriel is a twenty minute straight shot down the 10.