100 Mott St
btw Canal St & Hester St
New York, NY 10013
I have to be honest, Shanghai was not our original target while wandering thru Chinatown in pursuit of dinner. We were in fact headed to one of our hidden gems with the world's most amazing Roast Pork. Only one problem, upon entering said "gem" we were told there was no more pork. Instantly, varying degrees of shock and horror fell over our crew. Some angry, some just confused but all of us incredibly disappointed that we wouldn't be feasting on the succulent pork that had been so desperately long for. Being the savvy New Yorkers that we are, we resorted to plan B- go to the OTHER Roast Pork restaurant...went there- no pork! At this point we were all convinced it was either some big conspiracy or a pork shortage epidemic. There was only on thing to do from here- plan C. Enter Shanghai Cafe.
The interior is laden with neon lights with an ultra modern and clear acrylic table tops. A friend of ours who had eaten here before was kind enough to order for the table. (A good thing too because many of the items are in Chinese and even the ones in English I'm not sure I understood). We started with the scallion pancakes. Robust in flavor, crisp on the outside and delicate on the inside. Nice starter.
Next we had a crispy noodle dish topped with a brown sauce, chicken, shrimp and veggies. Very tasty and pleasinig texture. The noodles were soft in the places where they were covered with sauce yet crisp around the edges. Following that a crispy fried dumpling stuffed with pork and veggies.
The next served didnt come on a dish at all but instead in stack of bamboo steamers. The "juicy buns" as they are called for us anglos, are steamed dumpings filled with a pork stuffing accompanied by a little juicy suprise. SOUP! Thats right- like magic, there is soup inside the dumpling. You bit off a little corner of the soft and supple steamed dough and viola! There is soup inside. The soop is a pork consume- perfectly salty and rich. This dish was by far my favorite of the entire meal as I think we made evident after ordering a total of 3 full baskets of them. They were delicious and just heaven sent on a cool fall night. Both meaty and light they are the perfect answer to a quick bite on a Fall night in Chinatown.
I feel it only fair to warn you all that these little juicy buns are highly addictive. Since eating them on Friday night they are all I think about. I think its a safe bet that I will be back in the Chinatown at some point this week to devour them again!