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Recommendations for 456?

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I am going to the "new" 456 tonight--a little against my will, since the reviews from serious eaters have been mixed. What should I get? How is the smoked fish? How is the eel with yellow chives? The word here was that the yellowfish with seaweed and dried beancurd was good. Anyone have the lions' heads? Or the pork shoulder? And are all agreed that the little fried buns are better than the xiao long bao?

456 Shanghai Cuisine
69 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

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  1. I know Kathryn is a big fan of their little fried buns. However, I found them too doughy and the ratio of dough-to-filling was unbalanced. Depending on your preferences for dough-to-filling ratio, these may or may not still be worth ordering.

    The eel with yellow chives is pretty good when compared against other New York Chinese restaurants. It was too sweet for me and I wasn't a fan of the eel variety used. But, it's a fine dish if you're not picky about those things.

      1. my advice is go to shanghai cafe instead

        1. wow 456 is open again? that is one of the original Chinatown restaurants

          1. We've been a few times recently - the fish-flavored eggplant is really good and we're huge fans of the tiny fried buns, im no sheng jian bao expert, and i could see how people find them doughy, but i found them totally incredible. like, i was thinking about them several weeks later.

            We got the pork shoulder and i thought it was somewhat disappointing, parts were super fatty, parts somewhat dry and the whole thing had a "glop" factor that i didnt love - it was much more subtly flavored than id expected, to the point of being decidedly underwhelming, definitely not a huge hit at our table.

            1. Their Fried Tiny Buns with Pork (Eight for $ 4.95) are not tiny at all and very juicy - the best in Chinatown. The "Ning Bo Fried Two Delights" is the combo dish with where the yellowfish is fried with bean curd skin or seaweed. That is the one to order. Fried Tiny Buns with pork and XLB's are not comparable. 456's XLB are excellent. It is important to order right at 456 as there are more than enough American-Chinese clunkers on the menu.

              Slideshow from review referenced by fourunder above:

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              1. re: scoopG

                In the final analysis, I agree with AubWah. Everything except the pork shoulder (just too sweet, gloppy, and one dimensional) was OK, but nothing was exceptional. Actually the best dish in my opinion was the snow vegetable, edamame, bean curd skin combo (xue cai mao dou bai ye) I always get at Shanghai places--refreshing and subtly complex. Others loved the Ning Bo 2 Delights, although we all agreed that the seaweed worked better than the bean curd skin ( for which my memory of 25 years ago was much crispier.) One thing: the staff was very nice and friendly (there had been many negative comments on this point).
                It is certainly possible to order a good meal at 456, but Shanghai Cafe is more authentic and better on most counts.

                456 Shanghai Cuisine
                69 Mott St, New York, NY 10013