Shanghai Gourmet is now Shanghai Cafe
Just a heads up, this was briefly mentioned earlier as a side note in another thread: Shanghai Gourmet, formerly of 57 Mott, is now Shanghai Cafe on 100 Mott. More space, better ambience, and what seems to be fresh soup dumplings, best I have ever had. Possibly prices have been upped a little, but I can't swear to it, and anyway, they are still wicked cheap.
Went here 12/24/07 for the first time. Definitely the best soup dumplings I have had in NYC. The other dishes we tried were also pretty excellent:
bean curd skin with preserved vegetable (chopped chard-like cabbage) and (soy)beans: invigoratingly healthful and delicious--will definitely get this again
sauteed pea shoots: fresh, seasoned perfectly
squid with salt and pepper: crisp fried and chewy, very good, with fried chilis and scallions
pork balls in brown sauce: fairly sweet sauce over large, soft pork meatballs with baby bok choy, good
sichuan dumplings: Ok steamed dumplings with a not very spicy sesame sauce
The sichuan dumplings or hongyou chaoshou 紅油抄手 are not the way they're supposed to be at Shanghai Cafe. the dumplings are not bad, but they are supposed to be in a vibrant red chili infused oil that is very spicy. Shanghai Cafe puts them in a spicy peanut sauce. this seems to be some sort of fujian fusion version or something. i asked a waitress at the restaurant what the deal was with this, and she just seemed confused.
If you like xiaolongbao (soup umplings) you should try the shengjian bao as well (i don't know what the english is). they have the same filling as xiaolong bao, but they fry them. not deep fry, but just let them simmer in a pan with oil so the bottom gets cristy like gyoza but the rest is still white on top - kinda hard to describe. This is the only place in Chinatown that I know that makes them. I've heard places in flushing have them but i've never bothered to look there.
I'd never been to Shanghai Gourmet, but after reading your post I tried Shanghai Cafe last night -- very good. I agree about the Soup Dumplings - maybe even better than those at New Green Bo and Shanghai Cuisine. Also had the best Moo Shu Pork I've ever had. Thanks for the tip - I'll definitely be back.