CK Shanghai, Hotel Indigo
Had to heat out to Newton/Wellesley to meet some friends last week, and we agreed to meet at the Hotel Indigo (I didn't know it was called that) right next to RIverside Station. I was quite surprised, the place has been completely renovated, and the bar area, where we met, was quite nice. Very modern, with comfortable seating and a very active "scene". Seems to be a hangout for the somewhat older crowd from the burbs who don't have many bar options in that area, and it seemed quite a pleasant one to me.
Then off to CK Shanghai. I had an old gift certificate for them that I had not used as I was quite skeptical, had assumed it was totally Americanized and thus not my thing. I was pleasantly surprised there as well. I am acquainted with one of the waiters from long ago, and he was there that evening.
He firstly showed me the new dim sum menu, which on my quick perusal looked like a Northern-style selection (meaning not Cantonese) and fairly authentic, including several items that are not typical dim sum offerings here. He then recommended a couple of items from it, including a lamb pate, which was a terrine of lamb in gelatin, very nice, and tripe in chili sauce, also excellent though not very spicy. We also ordered the wontons in chili sauce, and they went quickly, again not too high on the spice scale, but homemade and delicious, with just a hint of peanut in the sauce.
For mains, he recommended the imperial duck, which is a stirfry of duck meat (no skin, no bones), and I must say it was also very delicious, the meat of excellent quality, succulent and juicy and almost enough for the three of us to get our fill. Fish in wine sauce, a classic dish, was also done quite well, though the sauce was not as "winey" as I am accustomed to. The fish was fresh and perfectly cooked. FInally we had kung pao chicken (at the request of one of my friends). This was the representation of the "Americanized" food there I guess, and though we requested spicy, it was not. But still and all, quite tasty with fresh ingredients and well cooked.
If in the suburbs and looking for good Chinese, this place could do the trick. I imagine there are more dishes on the authentic side that would hit the spot, and even the others will probably be a good bet. I'd go back if I happened to be in that neighborhood again.