I’ve been wanting to go to Dean Sin World for a while. Despite its lack of glam and publicity, the restaurant managed to garner a solid following due to word of mouth, in particular from famed L.A. food bloggers (including one of my faves, Gastronomer). It even made Eater LA’s list of 38 Essential Restaurants. So is the food at Dean Sin World so good that we’re forced to take notice, or was it all just hype from bloggers wanting to be the first at discovering something? I was about to find out, last Friday after work.
Smokey says: “this place looks like crap”
I picked lazyass Ben up, since he lives pretty close to the restaurant, and Danno met us there. Very small hole-in-the-wall restaurant, with just a handful of tables (and a couple of them were being used for the baked goods). On the walls were some photos of dishes, in which ALL of them had incorrect spellings (ex: Fired Rice). There was only one other table there when we arrived at 8pm, and by the time we were leaving there were a couple more. Despite this, the service is a little slow, because it’s just the boss lady and another person. Both of the ladies do all of the baking, cooking, serving, and cleaning. So please be patient if you’re there; they’re not ignoring you because you’re not Chinese. But note that they don’t speak any English (only Mandarin and Shanghainese I believe), so if you don’t speak either dialect, just point – they don’t bite.
A very big bowl of beef noodle soup hit the table first. A simple, but effective dish.
These pan-fried baos, a very Shanghainese dish, were topped with some black sesame seeds and garnished with some scallions. Just plain delicious.
Xiao long bao! Yes, it’s named “steamed pork bun” on the menu, but everyone knows what’s up. From what I’ve heard/read, Dean Sin World makes these in bulk to distribute to several other restaurants in the area (like Mama Lu’s Kitchen). I can see why the other restaurants would choose to sell these. Ben noted that they aren’t as juicy as the ones from Din Tai Fung, but they’re still quite juicy, and taste better than the Din Tai Fung ones in my opinion. Plus, they’re much cheaper! These were probably the best xiao long baos I’ve had in recent years.
These were beef rolls, but a little different from the beef rolls that people have come to know and love from places like 101 Noodle Express. Ben said that these were an “urban” version, since they looked kind of ghetto (lol). I think I prefer the ones from 101, but these rolls were very good as well.
This is the “lion’s head” meatballs dish. I read that it was a must-get. I liked the meatballs, but thought that the dish as a whole was a little…bland. There were some glass noodles and baby bok choy in the soup, but we only finished the meatballs. Good, not great.
After the meal, I asked myself the same question I posed at the beginning of this post: is the food at Dean Sin World so good that we’re forced to take notice, or was it all just hype from bloggers wanting to be the first at discovering something? To answer it, I think Dean Sin World was somewhere in between, but definitely much more skewed towards the former take. It’s a great place to just drop in and eat some delicious xiao long bao and other regional goodies without any hassle. And the low prices beg you to come back for more (although again, price doesn’t affect the grade). From now on, I’ll be sure to make Dean Sin World a monthly trek.
Chris Hei grade: B+