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Shanghai Taste, Rockville, 12/12 - report

This is is newish place in Rockville. I've passed by this mini mall as I go up I270 north towards the rio theatre. It's that little strip mall and there is that green sign that says Woodley something.

Anyhow, brief cautionary tips. This place is teeny and a bit chilly with the door opening and closing. I was slightly chilled throughout the meal. Also, the menu looks awful. Standard American Chinese stuff. But, there is a Chinese only sheet on the table and Chinese specials on the white board near the register.

Excellent items - snow cabbage and fish soup, beef noodle soup, shanghai fried noodles, fried pumpkin bread stuffed with red bean paste, wontons in red chile oil (hong you chau shou). The fish soup was amazing. Small chunks of fish and with egg white beaten into the broth itself. Incredibly flavorful. Same with the beef noodle soup, tender pieces of beer and delicious broth. Hong you chau shou were also just perfect. The fried pumpkin bread was an unusual offering. If you want it, order it when you are finished with your other dishes bc it seems more like dessert to me.

Pretty good items - soup dumplings. These were probably better then other places in the area but a bit over steamed.

Items that are ok but much better elsewhere - pickled cabbage (too sweet and too vinegary), tofu with 1000 year old egg.

Hints: if you pay in cash, I think you get 5% off your bill. Also, if the bill is more then $30 or $35 then you get a free steamed cold chicken dish to go. Lastly, there is a speed trap on Nelson Road as you go up or down the hill. I think it's a moveable camera so follow the speed limit.

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  1. In the last few days, I've eaten wontons with red chile oil from Sichuan Pavilion and A&J. Shanghai Taste's version are superior. These wontons were perfectly wrapped, stuffed and cooked. Plus the sauce was delicious. This dish was a work of art. SP's version the other night were poor. I couldn't tell how well wrapped they were because they were all so overcooked that the meat filling broke the skin. It was an off dumpling night. Today at lunch, we ate at A&J. As much as I love A&J, I forgot that I'm not a huge fan of the dumplings. The fried dumplings are always glued to each other. And, when you try and break them apart, the skin rips. The hong you chau shau today weren't great either. Too much skin and not enough meat. Plus, all in a clump that I had to carefully break them apart. The shanghai wonton soup was very good though.

    Anyway, the bottom line is that I loved the hong you chau shau at Shanghai Taste. All three of us made the same comment about those superior dumplings.

    1. My favorite hong you chao shou are at Joe's Noodle House. But I will try these next time I'm up in Rockville.

      Thanks for the tip!

      1. We had another lunch there today. Overall, the food was excellent, albeit a bit uneven. Service was also very erratic, spacey and borderline incompetent.

        The excellent:

        Hong you chau shou.
        Shanghai fried noodles
        Beef with longhorn peppers and scallion oil - xiao la jiao nu rou shi mien. There was a lot of scallion oil and it was a tad greasy but it was delicious. I think there is a similar soup noodle version.
        Stir fried rice cakes -chau nian gau
        Dried tofu with peanuts - liang ban dou gan
        Pumpkin dumplings - nan gua bing. Homemade bc today's was bigger then the last time.

        Still really good

        Soup dumplings -xlb - these we're better this time then last
        Jellyfish with onion sesame oil

        Just ok
        Seaweed salad - too thickly cut for my taste.

        Service is all over the place. The wait staff would come around to see if a certain dish was yours. Also, they kept coming around to see which dish you were still waiting for. It was so haphazard that there was a bit of a yelling match in the kitchen.

        Also, if you want the cash discount and the free dish, you have to ask for it. They won't volunteer it.

        Lastly, beware of the speed camera on the road as you go down the hill towards the strip mall.

        1. I'm intrigued. My sister lives a block away (it's Woodley Garden on Nelson St.). While my sister isn't interested in authentic anything, I am. Thank you for the tip!

          1. I had lunch at Shanghai Taste yesterday. Alas I was alone so my sampling was limited. As previously noted the special menu is only in Chinese. My server, Susan, was very helpful and graciously helped me select two dishes. I also took a copy to get translated. I had the beef with longhorn peppers noodle soup and what I believe were their soup dumplings. They were both WONDERFUL, especially the soup. The place was busy at lunch, but the service was fine with no sign of the problems previously noted. I heartily recommend this place and look forward to working through their menu. BTW the laser based radar trap on the approach from Rt 28 was operating - beware it's a 25 mph zone.

            1. it's the weekend dim sum that is the gem., not the regular Chinese menu....the place is tiny, maybe 50 max...but the word is out amongst the Chinese community; I think the only place that makes the Shanghai dumplings..which has broth inside the dumpling...you eat it with a spoon..on weekends be prepared to wait at leat 15-30 minutes...the downside, we didn't know there was a English menu until someone at the next table shared it with us....the service is erratic...takes forever to get your food, and it comes out one at a time...BUT...worth the wait...definitely not recommended for large parties..bigger than 5-6...
              their beef noodle soup is great, too....

              5 Replies
              1. re: tabemono

                If the weekend dim sum menu is the all chinese menu where you mark down what you want (like at Joe's and A&J), then that menu is available everyday. The down side is that it is all in chinese.

                1. re: beetlebug

                  They have the Chinese menu translated now.

                  1. re: DanielK

                    So post the translation! :D

                    1. re: KWagle

                      I didn't take a copy - they only had a couple.

                      1. re: DanielK

                        Well, i meant a picture.

              2. If I read this thread before (which I must have), I had forgotten about the speed camera. I noticed a flash in my rear-view as I was looking at my iPhone Google map. It's not the restaurant's fault but that's reason @1 that I will likely never go back.

                Reason #2, no booze. When I get my mouth scalded by xiao long bao, I want an ice cold beer.

                Reason #3, the xiao long bao aren't better than Bob's. Sure it's cheaper here and the dumplings are bigger, but the wrapper is thicker. In terms of flavor, I'd say they're tied. So if there's no Bob's, I would definitely come back. But Bob's there is, so I'm not coming back.

                Oh, the food is actually pretty good. I also had some seaweed salad, pickled cabbage and Shanghai stir-fried noodles (the noodles had good flavor but the texture was a bit lacking chew). And there's signage in Chinese that says 5% off if you pay cash.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                  I guess you didn't have your parents in the back seat of the car, reminding you about the speed trap from exiting the highway until past the trap. ;-)

                  I do think there are other dishes here that are excellent and the menu is worth exploring.

                  Sorry about your ticket.

                2. Very good restaurant with very good prices. Since the cameras are calibrated at 12 miles over the limit, sounds like you were driving way too fast.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Mister Big

                    I had my eyes on the phone, trying to figure out where the restaurant is. I missed the sign about the camera. When I looked up, I saw the flash, and my speedometer was around 40 (at which point I was hoping the speed limit was 35).

                    I liked the restaurant, but traffic from VA to MD sucks donkey dong. If it was closer to home, I'd eat there regularly.

                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                      Waze might alert you to speed cameras.