Saturday, April 5, 2008

Dim Sum that was Mission Impossible @ Mission 261 (San Gabriel)

Going into the places with the word "Mission", I usually just think that it's old time Missionary places like in Santa Barbara or San Diego. I just didn't think it meant "challenge".

Might as well think of it as challenge...or better yet, I should have ordered Mexican food or Spanish tapas if I was there.Going into this beautiful missionary style building where there is an open courtyard patio seating in the middle, there are some history involved with this place. According to some of the people in my group, this used to be a winery that was converted into the restaurant we were dining at.

The dining room used to be a room where they stumped the grapes. Think of the episode in "I Love Lucy".The place have a beautiful private rooms with a fireplace in front that accompany the elegant decor that comes with this charming place. There's also stacks of wine when you enter the place. It gives the reminiscence of its former self as a winery. Please check the photos for details.

This was an A-grade (more upscale) dim sum place where you ordered the dim sum items from the menu instead of having ladies pushing up the cart like you would see in most B-grade dim sum place (more economized specials).

The menu was presented with pictures and gives detailed descriptions of what's in store when you order.

Right off the bat, I already had encountered problems with the staff at Mission 261. We have a large group where we split into two tables. I sit on the second table all by myself so that I can saved the table for guest arriving shortly thereafter. As I was examining some of the items at the menu, the group at the other table were short of menus and need more for their table. Instead of going to the front counter and get the menu, the hostess decided to grab my menu as I was reading it and hand it off to the table next door.

WTF!? The nerve of that person!

Honestly, I didn't know what to think. After all, she knew I was with the group, but why the idiotic notion in that it's OK to grab the menu considering I was using it and not done with it as I was still reading. There's no need to be that friggin' lazy, but the arrogance really dampens my mood.

There were also plenty of times when our late party finally arrives in that we tried to get glasses of water, it would take at least 4 different people to request it before a third different staff would finally brings it. Details and attention seemed to be lacking in the worst way. As much as any bad service in Chinese restaurant, this place was not very busy at all and was half empty in the dining room where it should not be much of the problem.

The types of dishes we ordered are:


(From Left to Right) Sticky Rice Shumai, Haigaw (shrimp dumplings), and Pan Fried Shrimp & Cheves Sten Cakes


(from Left to Right): Steamed Imperial Dumpling (sticky pork rice dumpling) and Steamed Abalone Mushroom Dumplings

For Desserts we had:


Rabbit Dumpling

This was very cute and nicely decorated. It's great right before Easter as this bunny is packed with exploding custard. It was so cute, I'd almost didn't want to eat it.*Sweetened Chrysanthemum with Red Bean Pudding

A yummy desert with red bean (top) paste in the middle covered by gelatin like pudding. Sweetened Sago Pudding with Green Tea Flavor (below)


Nice green tea pudding with tapioca in the middle. Very sweet!The food was very well presented and almost decorated very well. Pricing wise it's one of the more expensive dim sum place you'll encounter in Southern California.

Taste wise, it's a give and take. Not the most impressive and a bit overrated in my opinion. The items seemed to be some dry in some of the dumplings as it can taste bland with lack of flavor at times. Very inconsistent.

The place is very classy and looked elegant. Food are very well presented. It's something I'll give it another shot down the road, but I would throw wind in the caution as the service is very uneven. It's definitely worth the look.

Mission 261
261 S Mission Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 588-1666

Grade:

Mission 261 on Urbanspoon

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