Being in a Shanghai cuisine phase, why not try Shanghai Lu? Driving along West Broadway, I always wondered why I never visited the restaurant before. I can always eat xiao long bao and pan fried buns too! On a weekend evening, the restaurant was not very busy; with only one big party of twelve and three other tables.
The restaurant has quite a nice interior, simple and classic. The foyer was what caught my attention. A glass shelf full of nicknacks and a pair of stone lions on the top. Although the restaurant is decently sized with around twenty tables, I can never imagine a line up or have ever seen one when driving by.
XIAO LONG BAOS ($7.00).
The only reason I came here was to try the xiao long baos! These are not available on the dinner menu but customers can ask for them. The XLBs look puffy and quite pretty, which can be mentioned considering some places have wrinkly as well as flat looking ones. The buns taste juicy but a bit too salty and the pork meat has a gritty texture, while also tasting quite tough. In addition, despite the juiciness and the skin not being too thick nor thin, the meat tastes average and neither flavourful nor tasty.
SHANGHAI STYLE CHICKEN WITH WINE SAUCE ($6.00).
The chicken has a very faint wine taste and could have tasted more flavourful. Also, the cut of the chicken is basically only wings, hence the pieces of just bone and skin. Can the pieces of bone be justified by the price? Sort of but not really, considering that many restaurants charge the same price and serve a better cut of the chicken.
SHANGHAI STYLE CRISPY SMOKED FISH ($7.00).
This is my first time trying this kind of dish and I am not sure what to expect. The fish tastes smoked, candied and sweet, but not overly. Furthermore, the smoked fish does not taste crispy or soggy, and I assume it is correctly made? A bit tough, chewy as well as stringy?
PAN FRIED BUNS ($5.00).
These are also not available on the dinner menu like the XLBs, but customers can ask for them.
In general, I love the skin on pan fried buns! Unfortunately though, these taste bland, a bit greasy and have an uneven crisp bottom. As for the filling, the meat tastes mushy and the texture resembles raw meat, very… unappetizing (despite fully cooked). The bun tastes juicy but the juice has a soy sauce colour which is a first for me and does not taste very good. In addition, despite tasting juicy, I rather have dry tasting pan fried buns because something about the juice is not very appetizing or appealing.
DELUXE WONTON SOUP, LARGE ($14.00).
I am not a fan of wontons but after trying Shanghai Elan's, I thought there might be another soup like theirs! The soup has a clear light chicken broth and is not necessarily bland nor salty. However, I was not a fan of the wontons. The wontons are practically all skin with very little meat. Although the skin is not too thick or thin and did not break, there was just too much skin which was the only thing I could taste. If anything, for the very little amount of meat I could taste, the meat did not taste gritty or salty, but was a bit tough.
MULTI-LAYERED BEAN CURD AND PORK HOT POT ($21.00).
The pieces of pork belly taste dry as well as chewy and could have tasted more tender, but the skin does taste fatty and tender (as expected).
Also, the hot pot tastes overly sweet, more than the usual Shanghainese style dishes. Furthermore, the sweetness was very sudden and was not mildly built up, which may have been prevented if the hot pot was cooked longer. As for the other ingredients, tied bean curds are included and is a favourite of mine. I love tied bean curds because they soaks up sauce. But in this case, the bean curd tastes extremely sweet and not edible, because of the overly sweet sauce (not even the good kind of tasty sweet too!)
STEAMED RICE ($2.00).
- No line ups
- Below average eats
- No service, hard to get the bill when the restaurant was not even busy
- Pricey hot pot
- Pan fried buns are very unappetizing
- Service is considered "typical Asian" meaning after every dish is served, the staff disappears and it is hard to get the bill or empty plates removed
- Restaurant is very non-Asian friendly. Three of the waitresses were constantly attentive for two tables of non-Asians
- Worst Shanghai cuisine restaurant I have been to
- Lobster is $30.00/lb, a bit surprising considering that even the most expensive Chinese restaurants are not even that pricey yet