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Lake Spring Shanghai Disappoints, Where To Go?

mcmal Apr 22, 2007 06:13 PM

It's been many many years since I last ate at Lake Spring, I used to think it was fabulous. But last night (upon realizing that waiting an hour for a table at DTF just to eat some dumplings that are frankly not worth waiting more than fifteen minutes for was ridiculous) I decided to revisit Lake Spring and really wished I hadn't. I might have taken the hint when the place was empty (except for a table full of not Chinese people) but we were hungry and I didn't feel like driving anywhere else, and besides, I remembered it back in the early part of the decade as being pretty great.

Cautiously we ordered the Pork Pump Noisette (how could go wrong with braised pork, right?), Fish Slices in sauce, and some green beans. When the pork came and she broke it open it looked sort of right, but the flavors just didn't make it and the meat in the center was not super tender and melty the way I expect to be in a Shanghaiese restaurant, the sauce didn't taste anything like as fantastic as it should have; it was actually very bland and quickly became (horror of horrors) kind of gross. The fish was bland with an unpleasant consistency, and the beans were edible, more or less. All in all I was upset.

Was this an off night? Did this place see its day long ago?

I'm looking to do some serious Shanghai eating again, so where do I get those delicious braised pork dishes, like dongpo pork and pork pump? Who's got the good xiao long bao, batter fried fish and seawead, drunken chicken, wuxi spareribs, lionshead meatballs, etc.?

Mei Long Village, Green Village, Chang's Garden, someplace else?
Is this Green Village the same owners as the old one from years ago? I haven't been able to determine that from anything I've read, but it does sound good and I'm thinking about going there but I don't want another bad meal, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    broncosaurus RE: mcmal Apr 22, 2007 06:20 PM

    You really need to get to Mei Long Villiage.

    3 Replies
    1. re: broncosaurus
      Chowpatty RE: broncosaurus Apr 22, 2007 08:00 PM

      I can't tell you if the owners are the same at Green Village, but I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Mei Long Village is good too, but the menu at Green Village is huge and the atmosphere nicer if you're looking for a more celebratory meal.

      1. re: Chowpatty
        Das Ubergeek RE: Chowpatty Apr 22, 2007 08:12 PM

        And if you do go to Green Village, make sure to get the bean curd with pork -- it is one of the most astonishingly good Chinese dishes I've ever tasted.

      2. re: broncosaurus
        wizardx RE: broncosaurus Apr 22, 2007 10:30 PM

        2nd MLV!

      3. ipsedixit RE: mcmal Apr 22, 2007 08:18 PM

        Both MLV and Chang's Garden would be good options.

        1. Chandavkl RE: mcmal Apr 22, 2007 09:29 PM

          Lake Spring actually closed down a few years ago, then re-opened, I believe, with new ownership. In any event it's been surpassed by all of the other places mentioned in this thread that serve top notch Shanghai style food. As to Green Village, I believe that Jonathan Gold finally determined that the new Green Village owners are the same as the old one.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chandavkl
            mcmal RE: Chandavkl Apr 23, 2007 07:11 PM

            Of course that would be the case. It's hard to keep up with the changes, especially since I've not been living in L.A. for many of the last several years. Guess I'm off to MLV, Green Village, Chang's, and Shanghai Kitchen.

            Who's got the best braised pork dishes? Anyplace have Dongpo pork?

          2. sku RE: mcmal Apr 23, 2007 12:24 PM

            It's so sad to hear this. I was a big fan of the Lake Spring pork pump, though I haven't been in a few years. I was, however, never very impressed by anything else on their menu.

            I've never been disappointed by Shanghai Kitchen in SG Square. I haven't had pork pump there, but they have great XLB, spare ribs, baby eel and other Shanghainese classics.

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