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New Shanghai/Chinatown

9lives Dec 22, 2008 03:50 PM

This place was closed a few months ago. I just got a new menu in the mail..called Mandarin & Szechuan..very ambitious and lots of interesting items...various preps of rabbit, kidney, tendon, sea cucumber, cumin lamb and more. Definitely a big improvement over the old menu.

Anyone tried it in it's new form?

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  1. 9
    9lives RE: 9lives Dec 23, 2008 10:08 AM

    had plans to go to Wing's Kitchen but they were closed for vacation; so we decided to give New Shanghaia shot.

    Overall, very impressed..shared a twice cooked pork belly from the lunch menu...included an ok hot and sour soup and good spring roll..(L14)...shredded chicken with spicy, special sauce (16)...delicious..and a Peking Small steamed bun..probably the weakest and not the soup dumplings that we were hoping for.

    Service was a little frazzled; but in their defense, the place was packed..and our waiters English was slightly better than my Chinese..which isn't saying much but he was very pleasant and steered us to the last 2 pages of the menu on our next visit..which will be soon.

    Lots of dishes that sound worth trying here.

    BTW, my cc receipt reads "Jing Chuan" so I'm guessing this is a whole new team running the place. I asked the hostess about it but I had trouble making myself understood when asking if they were affiliated with any other local places...google search shows a place in Toledo?

    4 Replies
    1. re: 9lives
      Allstonian RE: 9lives Dec 23, 2008 10:32 AM

      I'm glad to hear that they're finding their way - Barmy and I ate there in early November and had a pretty unexciting meal undermined by really awkward service on a variety of levels:

      But I think they had only JUST repoened after the change in ownership, it was a horrible rainy night, and we had a time constraint, had been unable to get into our first choice of restaurant, and had really gotten our mouths set for New Shanghai, not some unexpected new place with a completely different menu. So I'm well aware that we were not really giving them a fair chance!

      1. re: Allstonian
        9lives RE: Allstonian Dec 23, 2008 01:02 PM

        I rarely condemn a restaurant after 1 visit (I know you didn't) nor do I fall in love with it after 1 meal...but I will return.

        BTW, the dumplings which I declared the weakest of the dishes; sound like the same dumplings Jdoherty describes in your linked thread. The waiter was asked if they were soup dumpling (by their Chinese name) by my DC and the waiter smiled and said yes..oh well..:)

        My visit warrants a return trip and hopefully the kinks are getting worked out.

        1. re: 9lives
          BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: 9lives Dec 23, 2008 01:54 PM

          Just the fact that the place was busy would create a big improvement over our visit, because by far the worst part was that they seated us in the back, right next to where the wait staff was hanging out between customers. And because there was only one other table occupied, that meant we ate our entire table quite literally surrounded by the entire wait staff, who were simultaneously watching us eat and holding a conversation across us. It was making me VERY uncomfortable!

          1. re: 9lives
            barleywino RE: 9lives Dec 23, 2008 03:17 PM

            yes there is some debate over whether the term "xiao long bao" necessarily connotes soup inside or not...apparently the interpretation varies depending on what region of China one may be from...next time i would ask for "xiao long tang bao" ("tang" being soup) and hope they understand...these particular buns were more of the san jian bao variety (which appear on the menu also as item W188) except they weren't pan fried...i see by their takeout menu that on weekends they serve some Northern dimsum items...also an item translated on the menu as "Braised Hairtail Family Style"-- anybody care to take one for the team?

      2. 9
        9lives RE: 9lives Dec 30, 2008 09:23 AM

        Another winner last night. at New Shanghai. They call it Boiled Beef Fillet/Red Pepper & Bean Sprouts but it was very much like the Steamed Beef Szechuan style at Fuloon or Beef w/Napa Cabbage at Sichuan Garden. Didn't see a bean sprout but plenty of cabbage??..:)

        Wasn't quite as spicy as the SG version; but I phoned in the order and didn't ask for it hot and Ms 9 doesn't like super hot..but it looked like this...with some what less hot peppers..very similar flavor...


        1. yumyum RE: 9lives Jan 9, 2009 11:35 AM

          Tried NS for lunch today and they make a MEAN cumin lamb. I especially liked the sliced garlic that was tossed in with chiles and cilantro. Really an excellent rendition of this dish.

          We had a few other dishes, which were good, including the twice cooked pork, cold chicken in spicy special sauce, and boiled beef filet. The only dud was the XLB, which weren't soupy enough and all of us thought the skins were way too thick.

          I still like Fuloon better, but for lunch in Chinatown, New Shanghai is worth a shot. Just wish they served beer. :-(

          1. f
            fredid RE: 9lives Jan 11, 2009 11:43 AM

            We had a good lunch there yesterday - Triple Delight Dumplings, Tendon w/Hot...(forgot exact name; two different kinds with similar names) Braised Rabbit, that Cumin Lamb, and the Szechuan Twice Cooked Pork Belly. All were good - the dumplings were fine, the tendon was a bit dry but nice and spicy (these were both apps) the rabbit was in small chunks, with bones, but the sauce was very good, and the lamb and pork belly you've heard about!

            5 people - under $15 each with tip. It's nice that New Shanghai seems up to speed! (I meant to check out whether anything had changed at Wings - but the cold hurried me along...)

            5 Replies
            1. re: fredid
              9lives RE: fredid Jan 11, 2009 12:22 PM

              Wings's still had the "closed" sign on Fri. No sign of life there...shame.

              I've enjoyed New Shanghai; but they seem to be weak on the dumplings that I've tried.

              Curiously, the spring roll and hot and sour soup that comes with the pork belly were both good.

              1. re: fredid
                autopi RE: fredid Jan 11, 2009 01:16 PM

                i actually liked the dumplings & the tendon the best out of the dishes we had, there's not much i would do to improve on them. my taste re: dumplings may be idiosyncratic, however, since i liked the ones here at least as much and probably more than the ones i've had at qingdao and wang's, which are more widely praised.

                the cumin lamb wasn't bad, but would've been improved had they used freshly toasted & ground cumin rather than what i assume was pre-ground powder. rabbit had the problem i usually find with rabbit, which is that it's very hard to eat on account of the bones. pork belly was fine.

                struck me as decent value home-style cooking, at least on the basis of one visit.

                1. re: autopi
                  9lives RE: autopi Jan 11, 2009 01:20 PM

                  Maybe I just keep ordering the "wrong" dumplings....:)

                  I'll try another type next trip.

                  1. re: autopi
                    Taralli RE: autopi Jan 12, 2009 05:56 AM

                    Altho' tasty, the lamb had a really powdery quality to it. Actually found a similar sensation to the w/the beef tendon, but still liked it. I really enjoyed the twice cooked pork belly w/lots of green onions. Some of us were hoping that the "braised" rabbit would come out whole or in large pieces to avoid picking through for those pesky bones, but it was not to be. The sauce for the dish was wonderfully savory & great over rice. I would order this dish again, or in advance, to see if the kitchen would serve in larger pieces and let us cut it up at table.

                  2. re: fredid
                    galangatron RE: fredid Jan 11, 2009 08:12 PM

                    the tendon dish was called numbing hot beef tendons (C20 on the menu). a small pile of thinly sliced beef tendons dressed in a light ma la sauce topped with shredded scallions

                  3. Dr.Jimbob RE: 9lives Jan 24, 2009 01:15 PM

                    Mrs.Jimbob and I grabbed a quick lunch there today while shopping for Chinese New Year ornaments. We kept it small and limited ourselves to the "Weekend Snacks" menu (W section on the takeout menu).

                    W182: Pork and Leek Dumpling (Jiu-Cai Zhu-Rou Shui-Jiao). Not bad, skins a bit more like Cantonese doughy and thick rather than Qingdao/Mulan perfection. Probably not worth a revisit.

                    W184: Shandong fried bean curd (ShanDong Zha Dou-Fu). Small triangles of golden deep fried bean curd covered in a sauce redolent of sesame paste, and perhaps a little stinky in that Chou Dou-fu kind of way. This was actually quite tasty, bean curd fried to a nice crisp outside and a soft inside, and the sauce complemented it well. Also, for that matter, served as a good dip for everything else.

                    W187: Peking Small Steamer Buns (BeiJing Xiao-Long Bao). Like other diners in this post, I was fooled into thinking that these were soup dumplings. They weren't, more reminiscent of what I remember growing up with in New York's Chinatown three decades ago -- miniature pork buns, which are more greasy than soupy on the inside. I live for this kind of stuff, but it wasn't what I was hoping for. I overheard a waiter say to someone else in Chinese that they did have soup dumplings (Xiao-Long Tang-Bao), but I couldn't find them on the menu.

                    W193: Scallion pancakes (Cong-You Bing). Lots of scallion flavor, but a little overfried for my taste, bordering on duck chips in terms of the bubbliness. Still supple and chewy, but not my favorite rendition of this classic street food dish.

                    While we were eating, someone else got a MaPo DouFu dish that looked about right, with the appropriate layer of red oil and dusting of what looked like Sichuan peppercorns on top. The name of the place (Jing-Chuan Jiu-Jia) implies that their chef has strengths in both northern style, Beijing cookery and in Sichuan cookery. Why they still call themselves New Shanghai (which is at least a few hundred miles away from either area) is a bit of a mystery to me. All in all, not bad, and perhaps it might be a place to go if you are hungering for Sichuan food and you're in Chinatown, but I don't know that I'll be making this a repeat destination.

                    Was also dismayed to see the closed sign on Wing's Kitchen. Nothing seems to have been taken down inside, so vacation sounds believable, but does anyone have more reliable news on what happened to Wing's?

                    1. p
                      Pa amb Tomaquet RE: 9lives Feb 15, 2009 04:42 PM

                      Just tried New Shanghai for the first time since the change and it was fantastic.
                      Beef Tendons with Hot and Wild Pepper Sauce, Cucumber with Minced Scallion sauce, Cumin Lamb, Ma Po Tofu and Sauteed Water Spinach. Everything was delicious, and quite authentic. I also have to say that the presentation of the food was a cut above most Chinatown restaurants. I am very happy to have this alternative in Chinatown, and I hope that they are succesful. The other westerners in the restaurant tonight were eating Pu Pu platters and General Gau's Chicken, but there were a fair amount of Mandarin speaking Chinese as well, so that is a positive sign. BTW, I did not get the impression that the lamb had preground powdered cumin rather than fresh.

                      As a side note, Ginza was open for business as usual.

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