Monthly Archives: February 2015

Dae Gee, Denver

Dae Gee
826 Colorado Blvd
Denver, CO 80206

When one wants to eat Korean food in Denver, one normally has to drive out to the suburbs to either Aurora or Westminster. Unfortunately for those who live in and around central Denver, that can be a hassle. Luckily, Dae Gee, which has its original location in Westminster, has brought the flavors of Korean food to Congress Park for the urbane folks inside city/county limits.

Since I happened to go to Denver for a conference a couple weeks ago, I got the chance to take a dinner break at Dae Gee’s Congress Park location before I headed back to Albuquerque. I took a friend along with me as well, who also happened to be a regular diner at this location.

The restaurant was pretty busy that night, but we were able to be seated immediately. We took a look at the menu, though my friend already knew what to order given his love of the restaurant’s mandu (Korean style dumplings). I debated over several items, like the Soon Doubu (Tofu Stew) and Galbi Tang (Beef Rib Noodle Soup) but opted instead for their bulgogi. After a little bit of waiting, the food came out piping hot and here were the results:

Mandu at Dae Gee

Mandu at Dae Gee

  • Mandu – These were indeed pretty good. Unlike most mandu I’ve had in the past, these were folded like Chinese potstickers or Japanese gyoza and stuffed with a delicious chicken filling. They were also friend perfectly with a nicely flavored soy sauce to dip in. I could see why my friend loved them!
Bulgogi & Banchan at Dae Gee

Bulgogi & Banchan at Dae Gee

  • Bulgogi – For the most part, the beef was marinated, seasoned, and grilled well. It came with slivers of some diced grilled vegetables which added nicely to the flavor. The lettuce and Korean style coleslaw to wrap the bulgogi in balanced the fattiness of the meat perfectly with the cut of vinegar from the coleslaw. However, some of the meat did not get much of the marinade and came out a little bland.
  • Banchan – The side dishes we had included Korean potato salad (which was okay since I don’t really like it much anyway); nappa cabbage and cucumber kimchi which was nice and refreshing though could have been slightly spicier; fried and baked fish cakes which were both really good and had nice textures; as well as steamed broccoli and mung bean sprouts.

All in all it was pretty good, albeit I wish they had an all you can eat barbecue option. They have that for their Westminster location, but are still waiting their permit by the City/County of Denver for this location. Service was pleasant and very nice despite the crowd in the restaurant that night.

So if you want to have a spectrum of authentic Korean dishes in Denver without having to traverse dozens of miles to Westminter or Aurora, pig out (as they say on the website) at Dae Gee.

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Elite, Monterey Park

Elite Restaurant
700 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754

After coming in at #2 on my Dim Sum rankings I decided I had to take a visit to Elite. So near the tail end of my holiday break I took the chance to eat there again during my very brief visit in LA. My haircut appointment in Irvine went a little longer than usual so I got to Elite close to 2PM. At that point I began to be super hungry but it turned out to be perfect as I only needed to wait 5 minutes for a table instead of possibly an hour or more if I had gone earlier.

When I was seated I quickly went to ordering chrysanthemum tea and checking off the menu of the dishes I wanted to eat. After several minutes of looking at the menu I decided to eat the following:

Crispy Shrimp Noodle Roll at Elite

Crispy Shrimp Noodle Roll at Elite

  • Crispy Shrimp Rice Noodle (百花炸兩腸粉) – These rice noodle rolls are wrapped around Chinese crullers (油條) which are in turn filled with shrimp ball filling. These are an amazing play on texture and flavor, though I wish the Chinese crullers were a little crispier. All in all, very good.
Spare Ribs With Chili and Black Bean Sauce at Elite

Spare Ribs With Chili and Black Bean Sauce at Elite

  • Spare Ribs With Chili and Black Bean Sauce (剁椒蒸排骨) – The spare ribs were cooked just right, perfectly coming off the bone. These were probably the best pork spare ribs I’ve eaten although perhaps there could have been a little more spice.
Crystal Shrimp Har Gow at Elite

Crystal Shrimp Har Gow at Elite

  • Crystal Shrimp Har Gow (水晶蝦餃皇) – These shrimp dumplings were pretty good. The shrimp was fresh and flavorful and the skins had a perfect bounce but didn’t stretch too much. While not as technically good as the Yank Sing ones, these had an overall better flavor that melded really nicely with the hot chile oil.
Dry Scallop Roll Fun at Elite

Dry Scallop Roll Fun at Elite

  • Dry Scallop Roll Fun – While I didn’t get much dried scallop (maybe they ran out?), these steamed small rice noodle rolls with shrimp and diced vegetables were really good and contrasted nicely to the more heavy crispy shrimp rice noodles.
Crispy Snow Bun at Elite

Crispy Snow Bun at Elite

  • Crispy Snow Bun (杏汁雪山飽) – These buns were delicious with a crispy shell but a sweet, doughy middle. Unfortunately these came out first so I actually didn’t eat them while they were hot as I wanted to wait for it as dessert.

The service was pretty good, but as they were winding down the lunch hour it did get harder and harder to flag someone to get something. Despite that, the overall experience and food was pretty good and just as great as I remember it. However, I do agree that Sea Harbour is just so slightly better. Either way, you can’t go wrong going to either of these places for dim sum and Southern California is very blessed to have two of the very best places to eat dim sum in the whole country (though that’s not exactly by accident).

Next couple weeks will venture back to the Mountain West/Southwest but around Chinese New Year you’ll see my personal picks for best sum I’ve had.

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