Last weekend, we were in Pasadena, wanting dim sum (Cantonese breakfast heavy on dumplings)*, but not wanting to go to Monterey Park, and not wanting to wait for a Shanghaiese restaurant in Arcadia to open at 11:30. Full House Seafood Restaurant in a strip mall at 1220 S Golden West Ave in
Arcadia was better than I expected (having read online complaints about service but praise for the MSGless food).
I didn’t think the dim sum dishes were as good as “home” (Dim Sum King just south of San Francisco and just east of the Pacific Ocean), but it was pretty good. The pieces were generally larger that dim sum in San Francisco Chinatown or at Dim Sum King. (Millbrae is the place for big pieces of dim sum on the San Francisco peninsula, though both what The Kitchen serves and what the extensive Hong Kong Flower Lounge serves tends to be heavy in MSG.)
The dishes involving shrimp or scallops stuffings were particularly good. Those in which the stuffing is primarily pork were good. There was $9.99 half Peking duck (a Cantonese version of it, that is), and some dishes I had not had elsewhere, including a baked dessert filled with taro (the best use of taro I’ve yet experienced). “Pumpkin with four ingredients” sounded interesting, but we were filled up with other fare.
We find the service excellent. Choices of food came round faster than we could scarf down dishes, our water glasses were refilled twice (possibly a record for any but the most fancy of Chinese restaurants!), our teapot three times, we obtained the check and got the credit card receipt back quickly, and were back on the freeway, well satisfied within half an hour, so that we got to the Norton Simon Museum before it opened (best for finding a parking space there).
I liked the decor, not that it was out of the ordinary, heavy on red with a golden phoenix and lion flanking the large double happiness characters (essential for Chinese wedding parties).
The restaurant opens at 9:30 AM weekdays and 8:30 on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m pretty sure it gets very busy, since it was nearly full on 11 AM (Saturday). Most of the dim sum dishes seemed to be priced $2.38. I don’t know what makes that an auspicious number in the minds of the pricers, but it is less than the $3.50 I am accustomed to paying at home. (And $4.50 dishes are $3.38 in this southern California haven.) We ended up closer to under $10 a person than the over $15 we pay at home.
Full House has a takeout menu of nearly 70 items, too, and has a dinner menu in addition to dim sum.
We had no trouble parking. Nor hearing each other, though I wouldn’t go as far as to claim Full House is a “quiet restaurant.”
* Some standard dim sum dishes are pictured in my AC posting about dim sum at “home”: