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