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Restaurant review: ixlb DimSum Eats serves tasty, affordable options despite inconsistency

Various dishes served at ixlb DimSum Eats sit on a grey surface. The dim sum restaurant recently opened a new location in Westwood. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

"ixlb DimSum Eats"

10905 Lindbrook Dr. 

Los Angeles, CA 90024

By Talia Sajor

July 30, 2023 1:04 p.m.

This post was updated Aug. 20 at 8:56 p.m.

Despite its flaws, ixlb DimSum Eats will touch the hearts of Bruins and foodies alike.

This July, the dim sum outlet unwrapped its second location in Westwood. Founded and owned by father-daughter Tony Ying and Gloria Shi, the restaurant has a menu filled with traditional Chinese dishes ranging from dumplings to noodles to sweet treats. While some of their items may be better choices than others, ixlb serves as an affordable and accessible option to satiate the dim sum needs of all.

[Related: Father-daughter duo open Westwood location of ixlb DimSum eats]

Upon entering the minimalist, modern ambiance, guests are greeted by three tablets that are easily navigable to place orders. Those who prefer face-to-face contact are also able to take a traditional route and speak to a readily available cashier. Although there is only outdoor seating, the patio contained both shaded and sun-lit tables, which is a convenient change from the crowded countertops and singular table within ixlb’s Hollywood spot.

Served by friendly staff, the spread of dishes is brought out in a timely manner, tinfoil-wrapped in paper boats. The presentation decision provides a more casual, college-friendly feel compared to the usual, fancier atmosphere of other sit-down dim sum eateries.

Beginning with the sesame balls, the pastry had a delightful mouthfeel with its crispy sesame coating. The chewy interior, filled with lotus paste, provided a delectable contrast to the fried exterior of the slightly sweetened appetizer – a promising beginning to an uncertain fare of Chinese delicacies.

Whereas the original ixlb shines with exceptional dumplings, the Westwood venue, unfortunately, fell short of expectations with a lack of consistency among the star dishes. The har gow – a shrimp dumpling wrapped in a clear skin – was soft with its fresh seafood center that was not overly fishy, but the dough, on the other hand, was a hapless disappointment. While the inside was cooked to ideal tenderness, the outside of the dumpling was slimy as if it was left steaming for too long. Similarly, the pan-fried dumplings appeared crisped to perfection but lacked any bite, along with a pork stuffing that fell apart after one taste.

On the other hand, the shrimp wontons made up for its lackluster shellfish-centered counterpart. Not only did the thin skin hold up against the ball of sweet shrimp, but it contained a generous coating of aromatic chili oil. However, those with a low spice tolerance may want to be wary when ordering these peppery packages.

Fortunately, the eatery held its title of the iconic dumpling which it was named after. Even with a lack of soup, the xiao long bao was a savory bundle of flavorful pork with an appropriate amount of surrounding wrapper. Paired with the side of soy-vinegar, the soup dumplings are a delicious one-bite gem that is a menu must.

(Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)
Xiao long bao are wrapped in foil. Although some dishes may fare better than others, ixlb DimSum Eats is still a tasty and affordable option for UCLA students. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

[Related: Re:SET 2023: Festival’s food scene brings little to the table]

For visitors overwhelmed by the different selections of dumplings, there are also adequate alternatives, such as rice and noodle entrees. The chicken over rice is average, with pieces of the poultry carrying a pleasant hint of five-spice atop a bed of dry jasmine rice. Sadly, the dish as a whole could have used a drenching of more sauce, especially to make up for the parched grains, proving there are much tastier and more satisfying choices to select from.

To break up the spread of savory goodness, ixlb also offers options for greens, including pickled cucumbers. The fruit is served either mild or doused in chili oil and is a refreshing palette cleanser for all patrons. The cucumbers are crisp, and the pickle brine is bright, providing a much-needed restorative balance against the umami-packed courses.

Perhaps what stood out and reigned supreme among the array of food was the steamed egg custard bun. The luscious dessert was encased with the fluffiest bao that oozed with a vibrant-yellow, creamy filling that had a hint of saltiness without an overpowering eggy taste. Arguably redeeming all that was wrong with the previous items, this warm confection was an impeccably satisfying finale to an ultimately conflicting meal.

Albeit not perfect, especially in comparison to its initial site, ixlb still remains a wonderful choice for a taste of Chinese tradition. Costing between $6 and $8 per dish, the dim sum is the tastiest and most financially friendly in relation to other local options like the grandiose Din Tai Fung and subpar Northern Cafe. Yet if one decides to become a frequenter, it is abundantly clear which courses they will be returning for.

Nevertheless, Westwood is in for a craftily folded delicacy.

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Talia Sajor | Arts editor
Sajor is the 2023-2024 Arts editor. She previously served as the 2022-2023 Theater | film | television editor and a Photo, Opinion and PRIME contributor. She is also a third-year communication student from Oxnard, California.
Sajor is the 2023-2024 Arts editor. She previously served as the 2022-2023 Theater | film | television editor and a Photo, Opinion and PRIME contributor. She is also a third-year communication student from Oxnard, California.
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