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Shanghai Cafe - thanks ktinnyc & lau for the rec.

michele cindy Dec 28, 2008 07:28 AM

We went on Christmas day. I was nervous because I read a lot about bad angry service, but this was not the case. The women were a bit stern, but were patient, and even cracked a smile. We ordered soup dumplings. I still prefer Joe's they just are more rich in flavor, however SC's were more crabby in flavor. Salt and pepper shrimp, good, but was 14.95 for about 8 shrimp. Shanghai lo mein, better then Joe's, A noodle and crab chive dish, nice balance for the other dishes with stronger flavors, but would not order it again. The best dish was tangerine beef. It had a crispy texture like kfc's extra crispy. It was so so good. Also the turnip cake was good and the scallion pancake had a good taste as well. Looking forward to trying it again. Thanks lau and kt!

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  1. l
    Lau RE: michele cindy Dec 28, 2008 03:43 PM

    glad u liked it

    next time u should try their shredded pork with dried tofu (im not actually sure what its called on the menu in english b/c i read it in chinese last time), but they do a very good job on it, i was very surprised about it. It's shredded pieces of pork that are very tender and not fatty at all sauteed with slices of dried tofu (its sort of dark brown on the outside and off white in the inside), it has a smoky flavor. It's an excellent dish, the main reason i go there now actually..

    26 Replies
    1. re: Lau
      erica RE: Lau Jan 20, 2009 01:29 PM

      Lau: Once again you are coming to my rescue. We are having dinner in Chinatown this weekend, and I am going to suggest SC based on your recs. I love the pork and dried tofu dish at Little Pepper and am wondering if this is the same dish you are speaking about here..I hope you will try it at LP next time and let us know what you think. Along with the shredded pork and bamboo shoots, it is my favorite non-spicy Little Pepper dish.

      I hope people will chime in with further recs for Shanghai Cafe. Ii am a huge kaufu fan and when I order it, it always bring a smile to the waitpeople; I guess they don't think non-chinese usually like it.. Pan: Shanghai Tide in Queens does great kaufu. Nice/New Green Bo on the other hand, does a rather poor version, in my opinion.

      So I am looking for more recommendations for Shanghai Cafe. ALso, can someone explain to me the difference in the various types of noodle dishes on their menu:

      Lo Mein Shanghai style
      E-fu noodles
      Pan fried noodles
      Shanghai rice cakes--what are these?
      Braised noodles Shanghai style--

      Any other dishes apart from pork shoulder that are NOT on the English menu? Thanks so much!

      1. re: erica
        l
        Lau RE: erica Jan 20, 2009 02:28 PM

        im not sure if it is the same dish or not, my gut feel is that its probably not b/c ive had a similar dish as sichuan restaurants and while it sort of looks the same they put black beans in it, so it had a much more smoky flavor (its quite good i usually get it at GS on st marks when i go). This isn't nearly as smoky, but it is very good. If you have someone who can speak chinese its called "xiang gan rou si" which translates to something like fragrant dried meat shredded. this is really the dish that brings me back here

        i haven't tried their dong po rou (its the really fatty shanghainese pork), but people say its good (its so awesome when done right)

        i also like their scallion pancakes (its kind of hard to screw that up)

        shanghai rice cakes are sliced rice dough stir fried with vegetables...u eat them at new years (they're called nian gao), they're obviously pretty plain on their own, but can be good if you cook them right

        1. re: Lau
          erica RE: Lau Jan 20, 2009 02:56 PM

          Thanks, Lau: I must have this pork/bean curd dish you speak about. I see "shredded pork with dried bean curd" on the MPages menu--sounds like the dish, right?

          Alas, no Chinese speakers will be joining us--it is really bad when half the menu is off-limits cause no one at the table can read it! I like the sound of the rice cakes--looked them up and saw a pic online that looks tasty.

          I will do a report after I go this weekend..thanks again!

          1. re: erica
            scoopG RE: erica Jan 20, 2009 03:14 PM

            erica, please do try their Dong Po Rou - 東坡肉. A huge slab of deliciously braised, fatty pork belly. It's one dish you will need a knife to slice up for a group. The dish is at least 900 years old and dates from the Song Dynasty!

            1. re: scoopG
              erica RE: scoopG Jan 21, 2009 03:53 AM

              Wait--I thought the braised dish was pork shoulder. I've had it with the bone in it at a couple of Shanghai places..I thought the shoulder was the TongPo pork?!

              All set for Saturday night..

              1. re: erica
                scoopG RE: erica Jan 21, 2009 04:50 AM

                No, Dong Po Rou is definitely braised pork belly. No bones. Here's more:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongpo%2...

                1. re: scoopG
                  l
                  Lau RE: scoopG Jan 21, 2009 05:08 AM

                  yeah its definitely pork belly

                  1. re: Lau
                    erica RE: Lau Jan 21, 2009 06:11 AM

                    Thanks,Lau. I was thinking of this:

                    http://tinyurl.com/75xnlw

                    And here is the pork BELLY:

                    http://tinyurl.com/7m3798

                    1. re: erica
                      scoopG RE: erica Jan 21, 2009 07:11 AM

                      That's it erica - but they are both pork bellies, not pork shoulder!

                      1. re: scoopG
                        erica RE: scoopG Jan 21, 2009 09:53 AM

                        Oh, boy, I guess I am confused! Ok--here is the pork shoulder:

                        http://tinyurl.com/a2jnv3

                        NOW, PLEASE: There is a dish here from the restaurant that looks fabulous; it is the one ABOVE the pork photo (it has green veg, beans, and noodles) on this link--please tell em so that I can order it when go!!

                        http://tinyurl.com/75vxdx

                        Thanks again!!

            2. re: erica
              l
              Lau RE: erica Jan 20, 2009 04:49 PM

              yeah that sounds like the right dish, so you should be good to go

              1. re: Lau
                erica RE: Lau Jan 22, 2009 04:09 AM

                Thanks--but PLEASE tell me what the vegetable dish is in the photo above..many thanks!!

                1. re: erica
                  l
                  Lau RE: erica Jan 22, 2009 05:19 AM

                  which vegetable dish?

                  1. re: Lau
                    erica RE: Lau Jan 22, 2009 05:39 AM

                    Ok..scroll down the menu is this link from Bridge and Tunnel Club. Below the XLB and above the pork dish, you will see a dish with greens and some kind of noodle. It looks great!

                    http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bi...

                    1. re: erica
                      l
                      Lau RE: erica Jan 22, 2009 05:51 AM

                      oh those aren't noodles they are bean curd skins w/ some type of vegetable

                      actually i just noticed that if u hold your mouse over the picture the pictures are labeled, it says that it says bean curd skins w/ preserved vegetables

                      1. re: erica
                        k
                        kobetobiko RE: erica Jan 22, 2009 09:04 AM

                        Hi erica,

                        The dish is under the section "Shanghai Cafe Specialties" on the menu. It is the 10th item - bean curd skins w. preserved vegetables and green beans (it's edamame or soy beans, poor translation on their part). The 12th item is the same dish with shredded pork added.

                        1. re: kobetobiko
                          erica RE: kobetobiko Jan 22, 2009 09:19 AM

                          So many thanks to you both! One of my latest faves is the bean curd skin dish at ex-Waterfront/Fu Run so I am delighted to find something like that closer to home..

                          1. re: erica
                            k
                            kobetobiko RE: erica Jan 22, 2009 09:35 AM

                            Hi erica,

                            If you still have questions about the menu, please feel free to post. I can read Chinese (thanks mom for forcing me to study Chinese when I was small!), so I can help you to translate the menu before your meal.

                            1. re: kobetobiko
                              erica RE: kobetobiko Jan 23, 2009 10:09 AM

                              Kobe that is so kind of you! Since we will only be four persons, I think I have enough dishes for tomorrow (I have too many on my list but it is so hard to cut back!) but I will surely take you up on your offer in the near future! If this dinner turns out wel, I will set up a dinner with my group here soon..Thanks again!!

                              1. re: erica
                                b
                                bearmi RE: erica Jan 24, 2009 08:17 AM

                                Please let us know how your dinner turn out. I have not been to Shanghai Cafe for a while (4 months+) but at one time, I used to go there every other week or so and loved their food. I have to say, though, a couple of times the Salt and Pepper Pork Chop was kind of dry but other dishes always turn out nicely. Hope you will enjoy the meal there!

                                1. re: bearmi
                                  erica RE: bearmi Jan 24, 2009 08:58 AM

                                  Thanks! My only regret is that I will be limited in the number of dishes I can taste. I have high hopes and will report back! I will also say that I was disappointed in my one visit to Yeah Shanghai,but maybe that was partially due to the language issue..

                                  BTW: Do you know if the place is BYOB? Can I bring my own wine? (Friends do not drink beer!!) Can I bring beer for myself? Thanks!

                                  1. re: erica
                                    b
                                    bearmi RE: erica Jan 24, 2009 09:44 AM

                                    I understand how you feel. Hopefully with the posts here, you will get a good idea on what to order at Shanghai Cafe.

                                    In regards to the BYOB question, I am not a beer/wine drinker so I don't know what the policy is for sure. However, I have seen other customers ordering beer at the restaurant so I would guess it's not BYOB (I have not seen people drinking wine there since they kind of rush people in and out so there is not a lot of time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the wine.....). You might have to call just to confirm... Hope you will have a great meal!

                                    1. re: erica
                                      michele cindy RE: erica Jan 24, 2009 10:33 AM

                                      They serve beer.

                            2. re: kobetobiko
                              prunefeet RE: kobetobiko Jan 21, 2010 03:48 PM

                              I've had that dish at Evergreen and really liked it, though their version is extremely oily. I would order it again in a heartbeat though! I'm talking about the beancurd sheets dish.

                              1. re: prunefeet
                                buttertart RE: prunefeet Jan 22, 2010 08:37 AM

                                I love that dish - the most subtle (least oily) version of it I've had is Tang Pavilion's.

                    2. re: erica
                      k
                      KTinNYC RE: erica Jan 21, 2009 05:51 AM

                      Only a very small portion of the menu is in Chinese, maybe an 1/8 or 1/10.

              2. p
                Pan RE: michele cindy Dec 28, 2008 04:03 PM

                Michele, with the caveat that so far, I've only been there by myself and, therefore, haven't gotten any larger items, I'd recommend their Kao Fu. I like some of their other cold dishes, too (the Spicy Cabbage, for example), but the Kao Fu is particularly good - moist, with a tasty sauce, and with a good balance for my taste between the wheat gluten and black mushrooms.

                I usually get one or a combo of two cold dishes plus noodle soup (I like the spicy beef noodle soup, for example). I also had the braised noodles with crab - a large dish, so nothing else that evening - and it was pleasant and soothing.

                1. erica RE: michele cindy Jan 25, 2009 07:17 AM

                  Four of us had dinner here last (Saturday) night. We arrived a little after 6pm and a half-hour later the place was full. We were able to get one of the booths along the wall, which was probably marginally more comfortable than the freestanding tables.

                  After the posts about the bad service, I was surprised at the friendliness of the English-speaking waitress. Not one drop of soy sauce splashed on my clothes (I specifically wore old dark clothing, expecting to be splattered and splashed!)

                  We were very pleased with the food here; each of the dishes was good and a few were excellent:

                  XLB-pork dumplings-- Very good; skins are fairly thick but broth is wonderful. Not even close to the ones in Shanghai itself, or at the DTF's I've been to, but vgood for NYC.

                  Kaufu--I was surprised at how much my friends liked this dish. Very good, but Shanghai Tide in Flushing still reigns on this.

                  Scallion pancake--Very good

                  Shredded pork with dry bean curd. With all due respect to Lau, this is not nearly as tasty as the same combination at LPepper. It was good, but was actually the least favorite of the dishes we ate last night. Fresh and clean flavors, good quality meat, not greasy, we just liked the other dishes better.

                  Tangerine beef--Although this is marked with a red pepper on the menu, and it has a few pods strewn over the top, there is no heat in this dish. This was a table favorite last night although it bears more than a passing resemblance to the sticky sweet and sour dishes we all know. Personally, I would ask for it to be spicy next time. We ate every last bit..served with American broccoli.

                  Bean curd skin with preserved vegetable and green bean--The green bean is edamame. This dish is lovely--lots of vegetables, light and tasty.

                  Pork ball with vegetable casserole--This is also known as lion's head. Served with cabbage and glass noodles. Excellent! The broth was terrific and the meat and noodles and cabbage blended together beautifully. A perfect dish for a cold day.

                  Red bean paste short cake--Interesting sweet pastry. Very good!

                  With two beers, the bill before tip came to $70. We liked this place very much and will return to sample other dishes on their long menu. BTW: We brought wine but the waitress would not allow us to drink it there, saying that t hey had no liquor license (!!)

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: erica
                    scoopG RE: erica Jan 25, 2009 07:57 AM

                    Thanks Erica for your detailed report! I've never experienced bad service here and am glad to hear you didn't either.

                    1. re: erica
                      l
                      Lau RE: erica Jan 25, 2009 08:42 AM

                      glad you had a good meal and sorry you didn't like my dish although i had a feeling you might not get what you want b/c its definitely not going to be the type of flavor bomb u get at a sichuan restaurant and i think i know how they prepare it at little pepper. The dish at shanghai cafe is a dish i like alot b/c i used to eat it in taiwan alot

                      also, since u happen to be on a chinese kick, i highly suggest you go try cantoon garden

                      1. re: Lau
                        erica RE: Lau Jan 25, 2009 09:40 AM

                        Lau you are right--I did not at all mean that it was not good--I guess I hold the LP dish up as a paragon., so I was bound to think this was not as good. you were so helpful to me with this, and other meals, that I wanted to thank you. I have now put CG on my list, after your posts..

                        I hope we can do a CH group meal sometime soon!

                        1. re: erica
                          l
                          Lau RE: erica Jan 25, 2009 11:11 AM

                          haha its perfectly fine everyone has their own preferences and i'm glad i could be helpful!

                      2. re: erica
                        b
                        bearmi RE: erica Jan 25, 2009 01:39 PM

                        Thanks for the report. I am glad you liked it. I will have to try some of the dishes you have mentioned next time!

                      3. e
                        emgoodman RE: michele cindy Jan 26, 2009 09:25 AM

                        Inspired by this thread and the Chinese New Year, I went to, and had a great dinner at, Shanghai Cafe on Saturday night. I can't wait to get back there for another meal! We had:
                        - soup dumplings: agreed that they have a slightly crabbier flavor, but still terrific
                        - scallion pancake: almost greaseless and plenty of chives - perfect for me
                        - Shanghai rice cakes: the best rendition of this dish that I've ever had; amazing how un-gummy the rice cakes were and the flavor was great
                        - braised pork shoulder: very large portion and really delicious and tender meat; i really couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it listed on the bill as only $14 - definitely one of the best deals there

                        Thanks for everyone's comments and suggestions!

                        25 Replies
                        1. re: emgoodman
                          erica RE: emgoodman Jan 26, 2009 03:37 PM

                          Ii can't wait to go back and try the rice cakes and pork shoulder! The pork shoulder is only on the Chinese menu right? Thanks for the report.

                          1. re: erica
                            e
                            emgoodman RE: erica Jan 26, 2009 04:35 PM

                            I'm not sure if it's on the Chinese menu. I don't read or speak Chinese so I ordered it in English. I just asked the waitress directly if they had "braised pork shoulder". She repeated it (I guess to confirm I knew what I was ordering) and said yes. I further confirmed that it was the dish with a brown-type sauce and it was a go!

                            1. re: erica
                              k
                              kobetobiko RE: erica Jan 26, 2009 05:52 PM

                              Hi erica,

                              The braised pork shoulder is indeed under the Chinese-only section on the menu. It is the 4th item on the left column (it's listed as $12.95, but I am guessing they didn't update the price as emgoodman said $14.) m The 3rd item (the item right above the pork shoulder) is Dong Po Rou ($9.95, probably also outdated) which is braised pork belly. ScoopG also pasted the Chinese words in one of the posts above.

                              As for rice cakes, I will recommend either the Shanghai rice cakes or the one with preserved vegetables and shredded pork. Those are classic Shanghainese flavors that are worth trying!

                              1. re: kobetobiko
                                l
                                Lau RE: kobetobiko Jan 26, 2009 06:04 PM

                                do u know what the pork shoulder is called in chinese? im trying to visualize what it is

                                1. re: Lau
                                  k
                                  kobetobiko RE: Lau Jan 26, 2009 06:44 PM

                                  I can't write Chinese on my computer so it took me awhile to copy and paste the letters from different websites. It's usually called 紅燒元蹄 or 走油元蹄. Here they use the latter one.

                                  1. re: kobetobiko
                                    scoopG RE: kobetobiko Jan 27, 2009 05:34 AM

                                    Kobe - I thought Braised (Dong Po) Pork Shoulder was this:

                                    東坡肘子 (Dong Po Zhou Zi) – Dong Po Pork Shoulder

                                    1. re: scoopG
                                      l
                                      Lau RE: scoopG Jan 27, 2009 05:54 AM

                                      i think she was referring to a different dish than the dong po rou, so thats why i was somewhat confused as to what she was actually referring to

                                      1. re: Lau
                                        scoopG RE: Lau Jan 27, 2009 06:06 AM

                                        I am too! The photo Erica had was definitely Dong Po Rou or Braised Pork Belly. The Cantonese style BBQ Roast Pork (Chao Shao/Char Siu) is pork butt or pork shoulder.

                                        1. re: scoopG
                                          k
                                          kobetobiko RE: scoopG Jan 27, 2009 12:28 PM

                                          Hi scoopG and Lau,

                                          Lau asked me about braised pork shoulder/trotter, and hence I provided the Chinese name 走油元蹄 which is on Shanghai Cafe's menu.

                                          The dish that you mentioned (Dong Po Zhou Zi) is a differnet dish and is not the dish that Lau asked about (also not available at Shanghai Cafe)

                                          Note the erica included SEVERAL pictures. The one attached to the menu is the braised pork shoulder/trotter. There is also a picture of dong po rou (pork belly), but not attached to the menu.

                                          1. re: kobetobiko
                                            l
                                            Lau RE: kobetobiko Jan 27, 2009 12:37 PM

                                            ahh yeah i wasnt sure if the dish in the picture was the same dish u gave (its looks very similar to dong po rou)

                                  2. re: Lau
                                    f
                                    Fajap RE: Lau Jun 25, 2010 02:42 PM

                                    It's called Ti Pang.

                                  3. re: kobetobiko
                                    michele cindy RE: kobetobiko Jan 27, 2009 05:05 AM

                                    Hi Kobetobiko - Are there any vegetable or seafood dishes on the Chinese only menu worth a mention? I'm plannning to go back this weekend. Thanks

                                    1. re: michele cindy
                                      scoopG RE: michele cindy Jan 27, 2009 05:39 AM

                                      Michele, I've been working on a translation of their Chinese menu-only, or House Specials. Will have to have a mind-meld meeting of the minds with Kobe and others on some of these translations! Here goes:

                                      Shanghai Café House Specialties

                                      12 dishes in the left-hand column:

                                      百葉結烤肉 (Bai Ye Jie Kao Rou) – Hundred Leaves Knotted BBQ Meat

                                      梅干菜烤肉 (Mei Gan Cai Kao Rou) – Plum & Dried Vegetables w/ BBQ Meat

                                      東坡肉 (Dong Po Rou) – Braised Pork Belly

                                      走油元蹄 (Zou You Yuan Ti) – Braised Pig Trotters

                                      炒蝦腰 (Chao Xia Yao) – Stir Fried Prawns with Kidney

                                      紅燒黃魚 (Hong Shao Huang Yu) – Braised Yellow Croaker

                                      脆皮黃魚 (Cui Pi Huang Yu) – Crispy Yellow Croaker

                                      苔條龍利 (Tai Tiao Long Li) – Moss Strips of Sole

                                      各式龍蝦 (Ge She Long Xia) – Every Style Lobster – Seasonal Price

                                      鹹肉津白 (Xian Rou Jin Bai) – Bacon with Tianjin Cabbage

                                      開陽津白 (Kai Yang Jin Bai) – Kaiyang Style Tianjin Cabbage*

                                      鹹肉菜心 (Xian Rou Cai Xin) – Bacon with Vegetable Hearts

                                      11 dishes in the left-hand column:

                                      芝麻蝦球 (Zhi Ma Xia Qiu) – Sesame Shrimp Spheres

                                      核桃蝦球 (He Tao Xia Qiu) – Walnut Shrimp Spheres

                                      干貝蝦球 (Gan Bei Xia Qiu) - Dried Scallops and Shrimp Spheres

                                      椒鹽大蝦 (Jiao Yan Da Xia) – Salt and Pepper Jumbo Prawns

                                      蟹粉菜心 (Xie Fen Cai Xin) – Crab Meat with Vegetable Hearts

                                      鮮露蹄筋 (Xian Lu Ti Jin) – Fresh Pig Trotters Sinew

                                      蟹粉蹄筋 (Xie Fen Ti Jun) – Crab Meat and Pig Trotters Sinew

                                      三鮮海參 (San Xian Hai Shen) – Three Fresh Sea Cucumber

                                      絲瓜麵筋 (Si Gua Mian Jin) – Loofa Noodles

                                      蝦子大烏參 (Xia Zi Da Wu Shen) Shrimp Roe and Sea Cucumbers

                                      小椒香干牛肉絲 (Xiao Jiao Xiang Gang Niu Rou Si) – Fragrant Shredded Peppers and Beef

                                      * Kaiyang is a county in Guizhou Province.

                                      1. re: scoopG
                                        michele cindy RE: scoopG Jan 27, 2009 08:32 AM

                                        thank you - any idea what shrimp "spheres" are and vegetable hearts?

                                        1. re: michele cindy
                                          scoopG RE: michele cindy Jan 27, 2009 11:48 AM

                                          The three sphere dishes are are balls - sounds better to say sphere here than balls I guess. The seafood is ground up and mixed with other ingredients and formed into a ball and then I assume fried. Not sure which vegetable heart here!

                                          1. re: michele cindy
                                            b
                                            bearmi RE: michele cindy Jan 27, 2009 06:34 PM

                                            I will add in my 2 cents here too.

                                            I think "Vegetable Hearts" are pronounced "Choy Sum" in Cantonese... it's a green veggie in the bok choy / cabbage /rape family. Some restaurants trim off the green leaves and serve only the stem, which can be either white or green, depending on the variety. Here is a link to a photo of Vegetable Hearts/Choy Sum:

                                            http://www.evergreenseeds.com/choysum...

                                            In regards to the "Spheres", like ScoopG said... the "spheres" are "balls"... In addition to making balls out of seafood or shrimp, another possibility is that a big shrimp (i.e. probably Prawn) is sliced open in the back and deveined so, when heated in the wok, it shrinks and forms a ball/sphere. Similarly, chicken or steak can be cut into chunks to form "Chicken Sphere" or "Steak Sphere" upon cooking. Some Cantonese restaurants call them "Chicken Kow" or "Steak Kow" and you probably have heard of them one way or another before. ("Kow" is the Cantonese pronounciation for "ball"). In this case, you will probably have to order the dish at Shanghai Cafe to find out which version it is because Chinese menus can be quite vague at times, just like many other things in Chinese culture! Hope this helps.

                                          2. re: scoopG
                                            erica RE: scoopG Jan 27, 2009 11:03 AM

                                            Phenomenal! Many, many thanks for the translation!

                                            1. re: erica
                                              k
                                              kobetobiko RE: erica Jan 27, 2009 01:00 PM

                                              ScoopG,

                                              Thanks for all the hard work on translating the menu!

                                              Just want to point out a few things on the translated menu:

                                              "百葉結烤肉 (Bai Ye Jie Kao Rou) – Hundred Leaves Knotted BBQ Meat"
                                              - it is the same kind of dried bean curd sheets that erica ordered (with edamame) last time, but in this dish it is tied into a knot rather than like noodle. The meat is not BBQ meat, just roast meat (probably just sauteed pork in this case).

                                              "梅干菜烤肉 (Mei Gan Cai Kao Rou) – Plum & Dried Vegetables w/ BBQ Meat"
                                              - Nothing to do with plum. It's simply preserved vegetables (a specific kind, similar to the kind the Amazing 66 used for their chicken with preserved vegetable) and the meat is same as mentioned above.

                                              "苔條龍利 (Tai Tiao Long Li) – Moss Strips of Sole"
                                              Basically long chucks of fried fish filets (sole) and the batter has seaweed

                                              All the "shrimp spheres" that ScoopG mentioned is just jumbo shrimps. It's not jumbo shrimp balls, but plain jumbo shrimps. They look like balls when the shrimps are cooked and curled the tails, and hence the Chinese name said "balls", but it is not mined shrimp balls per se.

                                              Vegetable hearts - it could mean 2 things. It's either they strip out all the tough parts of the vegetable, leaving the most tender part inside (hence the "heart" of the vegetable). OR it is a specific type of vegetable which is similar to Chinese broccoli but smaller in shape and have flowers at the top. You should ask the waiter there to verify.

                                              Tianjin Cabbage is just napa cabbage

                                              "三鮮海參 (San Xian Hai Shen) – Three Fresh Sea Cucumber"
                                              - 3 types of seafood with sea cucumber

                                              "絲瓜麵筋 (Si Gua Mian Jin) – Loofa Noodles"
                                              It's loofa (a type of Chinese squash with high water contents) and seitan / gluten, not noodle

                                              "小椒香干牛肉絲 (Xiao Jiao Xiang Gang Niu Rou Si) – Fragrant Shredded Peppers and Beef"
                                              It's actually shredded beef with dry been curd (like the one that erica orderd) and Chinese peppers

                                              Hope this help!

                                              1. re: kobetobiko
                                                p
                                                Pan RE: kobetobiko Jan 27, 2009 02:06 PM

                                                What kind of peppers are those?

                                                Thanks so much to you and scoopG for the translations and explanations!

                                                1. re: Pan
                                                  k
                                                  kobetobiko RE: Pan Jan 27, 2009 04:40 PM

                                                  Hi Pan,

                                                  Even the chinese name does not clearly state what pepper they use. I think it is the small dried chilies that they use in Sichuan cuisine. Sorry!

                                                2. re: kobetobiko
                                                  s
                                                  Simon RE: kobetobiko Jan 27, 2009 02:26 PM

                                                  that Moss Strips of Sole sounds great...i'm getting that next time!

                                                  1. re: Simon
                                                    k
                                                    kobetobiko RE: Simon Jan 27, 2009 04:38 PM

                                                    Hi Simon,

                                                    this is is a classic Shanghainese dish and you can pretty much find it at most of the Shanghainese restaurants (the ones i know are Joe's, Yeah Shanghai, Nice Green Bo, and the ex-Moon House). Traditionally it should be done with the yellow croaker, but since it is more expensive and harder to find, most resataurants will substitute it with other fish.

                                                    Michele Cindy, I forgot to answer your questions on what seafood and vegetable dishes to try. Actually this is a good dish to try! It is unique enough yet not intimidating (think fish fingers but much better ;D). But I have never ordered it here so I can't attest on the version they had. Yellow fish is quite unique to Shanghai cuisine so any seafood dish with yellow fish like the classic yellow fish casserole with preserved vegetable will be good to try too.

                                                    1. re: kobetobiko
                                                      s
                                                      Simon RE: kobetobiko Jan 27, 2009 04:43 PM

                                                      cool...i'll copy the name/characters and order it next time...funny, i lived in Shanghai for five months last year and i don't remember seeing/eating it even though i'm always eager to eat fried fish...but it's possible i did and i forgot it in the sea of dishes i enjoyed there...

                                                      have you had the sea cucumber soup at Shanghai Cafe or elsewhere?

                                              2. re: scoopG
                                                b
                                                bearmi RE: scoopG Jan 27, 2009 06:54 PM

                                                Scoop.. thanks for the translation. I have one thing to add for those folks who may have food allergies. In Chinese cooking, "Kaiyang" means dried shrimp.... so Kaiyang Cabbage will contain a seafood allergen and it is not vegetarian..... I thought I will share that with folks in case there are potential concerns or diet restrictions.

                                            2. re: kobetobiko
                                              prunefeet RE: kobetobiko Jan 21, 2010 03:52 PM

                                              Kobetobiko, what are the shanghai rice cakes like? I know the other version and love it but am curious now about the shanghai style.

                                        2. s
                                          Simon RE: michele cindy Jan 27, 2009 12:21 PM

                                          i jumped on the bandwagon and went there for a late lunch today...yummy...,

                                          i had the much-talked-about shredded-pork/bean-curd-skin/green-soybean dish...it was slightly different than what i'd expected, but equally tasty... i'd thought the preserved vegetables were going to be sweet like the ones you get w/ the roasted chicken at Amazing 66 or at NY Noodletown...instead, the dish was light, fragrant, and fresh...actually one of the lighter, healthier dishes i've had anywhere in Chinatown...i'd definitely order it again, but i'd probably pair it w/ some dishes that have bolder flavors...

                                          Has anyone had the sea cucumber soup?...was tempted to order that too but figured it'd be too much food for one person...

                                          Also liked that they have those wooden booths on the right side.

                                          i'll also add that everyone on the staff was delightfully friendly and polite.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Simon
                                            k
                                            kobetobiko RE: Simon Jan 27, 2009 04:57 PM

                                            Hi Simon,

                                            It's funny that you mentioned about the preserved vegetable chicken dish at Amazing 66 because I just wrote about it in my response to the menu translation above without seeing yours! There are many types of preserved vegetables in Chinese cuisine, and the kind you had at Shanghai Cafe is made with preserved Chinese cabbage (not the round cabbage but long ones). They are extremely common in Shanghaiese cuisine and if one sees this preserved cabbage you can probably deduce that the dish is originated or adapted from Shanghai.

                                            The other preserved vegetable you had at Amazing 66 is preserved Chinese mustard green. It is commonly used in Hakka cuisine though also occasionally used in Cantonese dishes. Like you said, it is a bit sweet in taste and usually go with meat or poultary dishes like pork belly or chicken or just plain white rice. In fact one of the non-English items on the menu at Shanghai Cafe is with pork (梅干菜烤肉 (Mei Gan Cai Kao Rou, courtesy of ScoopG!).

                                            In fact you can get the classic pork belly with preserved mustard green at Joe's Shanghai (it's called bacon with preserved vegetable, whereas all their preserved cabbage is called salted vegetable. Talk about confusing!)

                                          2. Miss Needle RE: michele cindy Jan 29, 2009 11:19 AM

                                            I also finally got to try the soup dumplings at Shanghai Cafe a few weeks ago. I know most people on this board prefer these to Joe's, but I agree with you and give the nod to Joe's. I find Joe's skins to be thinner than Shanghai Cafe. The skins are very important to me. In terms of filling, I prefer SC's crab to Joe's, but prefer Joe's pork to SC's.

                                            1. bigjeff RE: michele cindy Apr 8, 2009 12:35 PM

                                              I've eaten here a few times over the past few years, usually going there in a pinch when with an indecisive group of people and still find the food to be great for that, but I wouldn't seek the place out. the food just seems kinda rough overall, and we ended up there by default after I couldn't remember what was good at New Chao Chow across the street (I remember there being one tidbit or hidden gem there but couldn't remember). between the two of us, we had:

                                              + pork soup dumplings
                                              + preserved cabbage with pork noodle soup
                                              + squid and sour cabbage over rice

                                              each dish was around $5 which is amazing and, for what we ate, value can't be beat. soup dumplings had a thick skin which . . . is okay, actually. filling was mostly soup, maybe a squidge of fatty pork which is . . . also ok. overall, nice. the soup was basic to the point of . . . just too basic. thick wheat noodles were good, a few strands of pork, sure, and the vegetable was bright green, sort of salt-cured veg, couldn't quite identify but the server said it was "shue-cai" or something; probably just mustard greens diced up and salted. broth flavor was non-existent so I resorted to dumping tons of the chili oil in (that chili oil had no spice either). the rice plate was extremely basic and extremely good, probably the most satisfying dish of the 3; flash fried pieces of scored squid in a thick sweet sludge with the sour cabbage over extremely soft squishy rice; pretty much a perfect comfort food to shovel in your mouth (which I did).

                                              but the noodles were just so . . . basic and the soup dumplings just so-so; I've had the fried buns before which were delicious but we wanted to keep it semi-healthy; I dunno I just wish the place made a little more effort although again, the prices just can't be beat. business is booming there so the place was pretty much all filled on a tuesday night at 8pm. if moon house hadn't closed, I could have went there instead for sure (and still haven't been to the replacement restaurant; so funny that Bayard st. is practically "Little Shanghai").

                                              15 Replies
                                              1. re: bigjeff
                                                buttertart RE: bigjeff Jan 22, 2010 08:38 AM

                                                We're Yeah regulars - don't like the atmosphere at Shanghai Café and have had consistently better food at Yeah (which gets little love on this site).

                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                  p
                                                  Pan RE: buttertart Jan 24, 2010 01:10 AM

                                                  When's the last time you were at Yeah?

                                                  1. re: Pan
                                                    buttertart RE: Pan Jan 24, 2010 06:44 AM

                                                    This Christmas. Have been going there since it opened, once a month to six weeks usually. We often have zha liang wei (fried fish with seaweed powder and thinly-sliced pork chops with green onions, garlic, and hot peppers), duo jiao yu (steamed fish with pickled peppers, obviously more Hunan than Shanghai but the first time we had it was at the Hengshan Café in Shanghai), pork xiaolong bao (serviceable, not transcendent, better sometimes than others), doumiao with crystal shrimp, bean curd sheet with xue cai, soybeans, and pork, the chicken with chestnuts, the xiang la (fragrant and hot) quail, and scallion pancake among others. Can remember only a couple of misses - the tilapia in scallion sauce was not good. If you read Chinese the blackboard specials are usually very good -the bamboo shoots with shrimp eggs dish is umami itself - some but not all are on the printed menu. (May very well end up there for lunch today.)

                                                    1. re: buttertart
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                                                      bearmi RE: buttertart Jan 24, 2010 08:40 AM

                                                      Thanks for sharing this with us. Is Yeah Shanghai very crowded (i.e. long waits before getting a table) on weekends?

                                                      1. re: bearmi
                                                        buttertart RE: bearmi Jan 25, 2010 05:52 AM

                                                        Not usually at weekend late lunchtime which is when we go. Took 6 people there on a Saturday night and we were seated after a very short time.

                                                        1. re: buttertart
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                                                          bearmi RE: buttertart Feb 1, 2010 06:42 PM

                                                          Thanks I will have to check it out one day. I hate restaurants that are crowded with people. Most of the time, it's long wait, bad service and then mediocre food... A total waste of my time. I just want to get in, eat my food, and get out!

                                                      2. re: buttertart
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                                                        Pan RE: buttertart Jan 24, 2010 11:52 AM

                                                        I am a white guy and don't read Chinese. What I noticed was that after a staff turnover some time last year, my food was no longer good there. It was disappointing because I had been a regular for quite a long time (certainly well over 10 years).

                                                        1. re: Pan
                                                          buttertart RE: Pan Jan 25, 2010 06:03 AM

                                                          We aren't Chinese either (lived in Taiwan and studied Chinese while my husband did dissertation research). Waitstaff has changed - the lady from the Chinatown Grand Sichuan has been there for a year or so - but it's still the same owner.

                                                    2. re: buttertart
                                                      bigjeff RE: buttertart Jan 24, 2010 10:21 AM

                                                      Yeah was one of the first shanghainese places I ate at consistently, maybe 4-5 years ago; really liked it, hosted a few group dinners there; I got bored of the taste after all and was esp. disappointed with their chrysanthemum fish or something like that; the food was distinct and clear but then, over time, became glop to me. that's when I moved on to moon house.

                                                      1. re: bigjeff
                                                        buttertart RE: bigjeff Jan 25, 2010 05:58 AM

                                                        Different strokes - we ate at Moon House a few times - the last time a year or more ago - and didn't like it as well. We don't order crysanthemum fish, not a favorite, even as part of a banquet, or in Shanghai, or in Suzhou.

                                                        1. re: buttertart
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                                                          Lau RE: buttertart Jan 25, 2010 08:37 AM

                                                          moon house used to be owned by a shanghainese woman (my friend is family friends with them) and most of the appetizers were made by the woman and the rest of the food by their chef.

                                                          Their appetizers were generally very good; they by far and away had the best sheng jian bao in NYC (including flushing) and they had respectable cong you bing and some decent cold noodle dishes.

                                                          She retired and sold the restaurant over a year ago; staff and chef totally changed.

                                                          1. re: Lau
                                                            buttertart RE: Lau Jan 25, 2010 08:41 AM

                                                            Bummer, was getting revved up to go back.

                                                            1. re: buttertart
                                                              l
                                                              Lau RE: buttertart Jan 25, 2010 08:48 AM

                                                              well i haven't been back since it changed, i'm not sure if its good or not

                                                              1. re: Lau
                                                                bigjeff RE: Lau Jan 25, 2010 04:45 PM

                                                                it ain't the same, that's for sure. it was very very good back when I was going (the time period Lau was referencing); I remember a salt pork and bamboo soup that was very good; lion's head was good there too.

                                                                1. re: bigjeff
                                                                  buttertart RE: bigjeff Jan 26, 2010 05:01 AM

                                                                  Ge you suo chang (they each have their points, the closest I can think to "to each his own" in Chinese).

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