Meter parking: 1.00$/20 minutes.
I love xiao long baos and pan fried buns, so why not try a new shanghainese restaurant on West Broadway?
I am surprised the interior is decorated quite nicely.
The restaurant is a bit small, but to be honest.. I do not think they get line ups much considering this is how busy it is for a Friday evening.
The xiao long baos, pan fried buns, deluxe wonton soup, shanghai style crispy smoked fish, bowl of rice, multilayer bean curd and pork hotpot and shanghai style chicken with wine sauce.
The first dish is the xiao long baos ($7.00). I came here specifically to try these and they are not on the dinner menu, but you can ask for them!
The XLBs are juicy, kind of salty, the pork meat has a gritty texture and is too tough. I consider the XLBs to be below average, they are not tasty or flavourful. The skin is not too thick or thin.
The second dish is the shanghai style chicken with wine sauce ($6.00). The chicken has a very light wine taste that could have been a bit stronger and the chicken could have been more tender. The pieces given are pretty much bones and skin, no wonder it is $6.00. No it cannot be the price because many restaurants charge the same price and you get a good piece of chicken, it is just the restaurant. Please make prices higher and give customers a proper chicken dish.
The third dish is the shanghai style crispy smoked fish ($7.00). This is my first time trying this kind of dish so I am not sure what to expect. The fish tastes smoked, candied and sweet. It is not crispy or soggy and I think the dish is correctly made since it is a bit tough, chewy and stringy?
The fourth dish is the pan fried buns ($5.00). These are not on the dinner menu as well but you can ask for them. Usually when I have pan fried buns that are greasy, I am okay with it because the bun itself is SO good and the grease just goes with it, but these ones... I dunnnnnno.
The meat is extremely mushy and has a texture of raw meat. The juice is a soy sauce color which is the first time for me and it does not taste good as well. I know some people do not care about the skin, but I personally love the skin and I find that these taste bland. I guess you can consider the buns to be juicy, but the juice does not taste good and makes me rather have dry pan fried buns.
The fifth dish is the deluxe wonton soup (large/$14.00). I usually do not like wontons and after having Shanghai Elans', I thought maybe there would be another soup with wontons like theirs. The soup has a light taste and is not too salty.. I cannot comment much because I just assume wonton soup has a really light taste. The taste is pretty much a clear light chicken broth.
The only thing I did not like was that the wonton was basically all skin. The skin is not too thick or thin, did not break, I just thought there was too much skin and that is all I ate. The wonton itself is average, nothing special and it is not too salty, but is a bit more tough than most places.
The last dish is the multilayer bean curd and pork hotpot ($21.00). The pork pieces are not as tender as they should have been, but the skin was enjoyable for me since it is all fat. I know there are quite a few shanghainese dishes that are sweet, but I found this to be overly sweet. It kind of tastes like the sweetness was so sudden and not mildly built up when they made the hotpot.
I really love this kind of bean curd but it was so sweet that I could not eat it. The bean curd basically soaked up all the sweetness (not the good kind of sweetness).
Bowl of steamed rice ($2.00).
I honestly thought all shanghainese restaurants are supposed to be good, but I guess they are like chinese restaurants with hits and misses. The service can be considered as typical asian service since after our dishes were given, everyone disappeared and ignored us. The good news is that the restaurant is very western friendly as everyone was attentive to western tables only. There are 3 servers watching over the only two western tables of 2-3 people O_O, while it took us quite a long time to get someones attention for the bill. If I wanted to be picky, which I am, there were only 4 tables seated including us. There should be no problems at all with the service. Meh, I would not recommend the restaurant. How can you fail on XLBs and pan fried buns? Not even that, but the pan fried buns are not very good at all (they were honestly quite disgusting, I just don't want to sound rude!). This is pretty much the worst shanghai restaurant I have been to.
Oh yeah, and the lobster is $30.00/lb?! Even the most expensive chinese restaurant is not that much yet.