Shanghai Gourmet, Pell Street, yum!
I had dinner at this place last night, it's located at 23 Pell Street in Chinatown. I had the pork xiao long bao, they were really good--not too big, pretty thin skin, flavorful soup and not slimy pork. Pretty balanced flavor over-all. Possibly the best ones I have had in recent memory. They kindly set them down on the table with a warning that the contents are hot and to eat them carefully :)
For my main course I had braised pork (I think it was pork belly) with tofu skin. It was served in a small cast iron pot and the tofu skin was tied into very pretty knots that were delicious, chewy-tender and flavorful the whole way through. The pork was in small chunks, the fat well-rendered and overall the whole dish had really great flavor and texture. It tasted like star anise, chinese wine and maybe dark soy? 5 spice? It was not spicy but some chili oil on the table remedied that.
Honestly, the quality of this dish was close to something I would find at one of the better places in Flushing. I hope that this is a sign that Manhattan's Chinatown is on an upswing again!
The space is clean, sparse and pretty nice actually. Think typical Chinatown non-decor but new-seeming and they have a decorative fish tank. The staff was really nice and friendly, I came in by myself on my way home and they weren't weird about a solo diner. The menu overall had a lot of interesting stuff on it, including some braised noodle soups that I would like to try. A table of tourists ordered beef with broccoli and I have to say, it looked pretty awesome so I think in future I'll try some of their more Americanized fare too, perhaps as part of a lunch special or something.
The prices are a little bit higher than some places in Chinatown. My bill was $20. But I would rather pay more for what seemed like better ingredients and more than competent cooking. Not to mention how nice the waiters were, especially compared to other nearby restaurants.
I ate the leftovers of my pork dish today for lunch and omg, so good! That's why I am posting this now.
23 Pell St, New York, NY 10013
i've also recently tried it and enjoyed it too! the soup dumplings were just as legit as across the street, and the double cooked pork was spot on....walked buy a few times - never too busy - good for people not looking for a wait but hopefully they are doing good enough to stick around for a while...