Best Hot and Sour AND Dumplings
20 years ago as starving college students, my girlfriend and I use to eat heavenly hot and sour soup and steamed dumplings at a tiny place just off of Mott Street in Chinatown. It was just down a short street from the Mei Dick Barber Shop. I asked her to marry me there after we had to split a bowl of soup because we didn't have enough money for both soup and dumplings.
We're coming back over New Year's with the thirteen-year-old product of that aphrodisiacical meal and since that place closed years ago, I'd like to find somewhere with great soup and dumplings both. A pilgramage of sorts.
I've checked the somewhat dated posts on both subjects. Any inspirational suggestions?
As we say in New Mexico, much appreciated.
Kipster-- Your 13 year old will love soup dumplings (as well as the more traditional ones). I'd likely bypass Chinatown (or go to Yeah Shanghai Deluxe on Bayard for the soup dumplings), and go to Grand Sichuan at St. Marks Place in the E. Village. Your 13 year old will also like the cool atmosphere around including the mini automat a couple of storefronts down, and the available tapiaca tea (west a couple of storefronts), on either side of the street..., and of course the french fry place around the corner...
Of course you could always head into flushing for a more interesting (larger chinatown).
I would go to Shanghai Café on Mott st. for both soup and soup dumplings. the xiaolongbao are the best I've had in NY i think, and i've been to a lot of places and used to live in Shanghai. my only problem with them is that the skins are ever so slightly too thick, but that is the case with all soup dumplings here. but they're fresh and don't fall apart when u pick them up. the soups there are good too. I've never had hot and sour soup there but assume they have it. I usually stick to the broth based ones with noodles or pork or wontons or whatever thrown in. If you're coming here for vacation i'm assuming you're not gonna feel like schleping out to flushing so i think this is the best bet.
You could also try Joe's Shanghai on Pell Street, and then head over to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory on Bayard for an after-dinner treat. I've had hot and sour soup at the Flushing location and it's good, and I've also had both soup dumplings and the regular ones, both of which are very good.
kipster, I agree with renquin. Shanghai Cafe is your best bet for soup dumplings and yes, they serve Hot and Sour Soup. They have the closest-to-Shangahi Xiao Long Bao I've ever had here. They are larger than any other soup dumplings that I know of in Chinatown. I've not had had their Hot and Sour Soup. It is also your best shot to create a new family memory - for you can most likely secure a more intimate booth for 2-3. They have 4-5 booths on the right as you walk in. It is clean and bright. Folks here are very passionate about which NYC establishment has the best soup dumplings and my guess is it usually is the place they had them first. Nothing wrong with that. Joe's Shanghai is just about the last place I'd go to though. Since the NY Times reviewed the Flushing transplant some years ago it is take a number here and wait in line there with all the other gweilo. Then welcome to join a party of 6 lovely strangers already hard at work.
The following spots all serve both Soup Dumplings and Hot and Sour soup and you'll likely not have to wait in line. Less chance though of securing your own private table for 3; or you might have to wait if you insist. Can't vouch for their Hot and Sour soup though as it is not something I order. My order of preference, after the Shanghai Cafe:
Goodies - 1 East Broadway
New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe - 65 Bayard
New Green Bo - 66 Bayard
Moon House - 67 Bayard
Shanghai Garden - 14A Elizabeth Street
Sundou - 214-216 Grand Street
I'm glad Shanghai Cafe is getting the love. It's my favorite Shanghai place in Chinatown, and it seems to be relatively ignored here compared to New Green Bo, which while good isn't the transcendent place some claim it is (some places get a viral following here that leads to other worthy ones being neglected). There's a hostess (maybe owner?) at Shanghai Cafe who goes back to the legendary Little Shanghai of the '70s & '80s.