Chinese food is pretty much the bomb. It's also a little crazy that I say that, as I grew up hating Chinese food (the msg doesn't do nice things to my belly, and I'm a picky eater to begin with) which was unfortunate, as it's my mom's favourite.
So, I didn't get to experience dim sum until a few years back, though I grew up hearing about it from my mother. Really, it's also slightly sad because I have still yet to experience real Chinatown dim sum ... and Chinatown # 2 in the city is just about a fifteen minute walk east from me.
The reason, though, that I have not had Chinatown dim sum, is that in Toronto the king of dim sum restaurants is not in Chinatown, it is at the harbourfront.
It's hard to properly critique the Pearl, as it's the place that defines dim sum for me.
What I can tell you is this:
The food is always fresh, and even when the carts are not empty, they never circle the room more than once. If you come between sittings, they ask you to order off a menu instead (but they have absolutely all of the same dishes), which on the one hand takes away half the fun ... but it ensures quality of the food. I won't say I've never had anything I didn't like there, because that's not true, but I've never had anything I didn't like that I expected to like. Sometimes the dumplings are a little hint oversteamed, but it's pretty uncommon; even the items that I expect grease from tend to be low on the greasiness, which is a plus for me.
The staff is friendly and helpful, always. Sometimes if it's busy it takes awhile to get requests filled (soy sauce, new chopsticks) but they never forget your request. If there is a problem with the food, I've always found that the staff treats it as if it is their own personal responsibility to make you happy.
It's amazing food.
I'm going to go have a leftover dumpling now.