Saturday, November 8, 2008

The New NBC - Proud as a Peacock

NBC Seafood, in Monterey Park, has long been my favorite of the giant-palace variety of dim sum places. For the past couple of years, the strip mall in which it is located has been in the process of being very slowly dismantled, and the parking lot was a complete mess. Still, I regularly braved it for the excellent dim sum. Then, about a month ago, it closed down and the rumor spread that it had been sold. When a beloved eatery is sold, I always get a nervous chill down my spine. Will it stay the same? Will the new owners ruin a good thing? Okay, it's not that there aren't plenty of other great dim sum places in LA, but NBC is something special.

Well, this week was the grand opening, so we headed over this morning to see how NBC faired. What we noticed immediately was that the place looked better. The rundown old palace had received a paint job, a new sign and some better looking linens. The old, somewhat lackluster staff had been replaced by a more attentive and service-oriented group of staffers. Rumors had been that the new NBC had forsaken carts in favor of a Sea Harbor/Elite style menu system, but carts abounded.

But how was the food? Well, it wasn't the same. In fact, it was better. Ingredients were higher quality, shrimp were plumper and the cart dim sum were much fresher. The danger of cart dim sum, of course, is that the food sits on the carts for hours, but here, the cart food seemed fresh out of the oven. Pork buns glistened; there was shen jian bao, look fun and all the old favorites along with some new. For dessert there was a much improved yellow, sponge cake and cream buns filled with a purple yam paste. The only things I missed from the original NBC were the original cream buns and the duck. NBC's duck was always succulent, greasy and dripping with fat and jus. The new duck was still good, but a bit dry.

Overall, I was very impressed by the new NBC. For the most part, it retained the good and even improved it. I'll look forward to further sampling their menu.

NBC Seafood
404 S Atlantic Blvd (south of Garvey)
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 282-2323

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