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Dinner at Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village

slew Apr 18, 2013 01:03 PM

Has any one been to the restaurant recently for dinner?

  1. ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 02:52 PM

    I was there right around CNY for a banquet.

    Why do you ask?

    33 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit
      tissue Apr 18, 2013 04:30 PM

      I'm curious to know too. I've only been for lunch

      1. re: ipsedixit
        slew Apr 19, 2013 05:48 AM

        I ask to see if the restaurant is worth the effort to go to for dinner...

        I've read an old review by Jonathan Gold and it seems reviews here are mixed, plus they were a bit old...

        1. re: slew
          ipsedixit Apr 19, 2013 07:33 AM

          We were there for a set banquet (a 788/table one I believe), the most memorable dish was the red braised carp. Most of the other dishes were average (sea cucumber, cold plate, shark's fin) to forgettable (fried rice, tossed shrimp).

          If I were to go to dinner, I would get one of the clay pots and the braised carp (assuming the carp is on the regular menu). Those are the gems on the menu. Everything else I would not bother with.

          I know Gold has waxed poetic (literally, not figuratively) about the stone-pot fried rice here, but I find it dry and tasteless. In fact, I much prefer the fried rice at DTF and/or Sea Harbour or Elite.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            FallingLeaves May 31, 2013 03:05 AM

            We were there yesterday.

            We reserved their largest VIP room with a $800 minimum charge for a party of 10.

            We ordered their top of the line fixed menu with a few alterations.
            The room is just large enough for the 10 of us. 12-14 adults would feel very very cramped.

            The lobster salad were replaced with lobster sashimi and were served together with the requisite 8 cold dishes. These 8 dishes are selected from the standard menu. But unless one have 10 people, one usually do not order eight appetizers. Each and every dish was well done, nicely presented and enjoyed by all. The lobster sashimi were just out of the tank fresh and perfectly chilled. Excellent.

            Next are 2 hot dishes. Sauteed imported river shrimp and their famous red cooked pork (replacing the stewed pork-rump on the menu). Liked by all.

            The standard crab/lobster stir fry with noodle or rice cake were replace with a steamed 10 lb live Alaskan King crab at market price. Everybody loved it.

            Next 2 on the listed menu were stewed shark fin and stewed sea cucumber. Unfortunately, both were served swimming in a large bowl of the same somewhat bland broth/sauce. I would recommend against ordering both. Ruined quality ingredients by inferior preparation. A pity.

            We ordered the steamed live fish @ market price be served "squirrel style" a traditional Shanghai method to prepare fish by cross cutting the fish fillet, battering and deep frying. Never, ever repeat this mistake again. All expensive live fish should be steamed and not deep fried and drenched with a sweet and sour sauce.

            We also replaced the menu fried rice with their juice filled pan fried buns. These came out fresh and crisp at the end of the meal, and although every one is full, everybody except me ate the whole thing.

            The papaya-bird nest dessert were replaced with sweet-rice balls in sweet rice wine. Saved a few bucks.

            All is fine, except that I had brought in a case of 24 bottles of a ,94 points, domestic 'Imperial Dark IPA' to be served chilled with dinner. I was introduced to this beer in a recent truffle-wine pairing dinner at Saam.

            I brought the case to the restaurant a day before with instruction for it to be served chilled like a regular beer they will normally serve. The restaurant initially refused but I agreed to pay corkage fees for each bottle comparable their their corkage for wine per bottle.

            Guess what? When I arrive at the restaurant's VIP room the cardboard box was sitting in a corner with a handwritten "do not touch" sign.

            I say to myself : GOOD. They did not misplaced my beer.

            Not until we started dinner 30 minutes later that I realized what travesty had occurred.

            The beer were warm!

            I do have not words to express how upset I was. The only taste that was detectable was bitterness. No hops, no malt nothing.

            Imagining buying a few premium Imperial Dark IPA and serve it to a few of your important client warm, while telling them how extra special the beer will taste with the quality food they are eating.

            Or, imagining bringing a case of quality champagne to a restaurant for a hosted party. Only that the champagne were served warm.

            1. re: FallingLeaves
              Porthos May 31, 2013 07:55 AM

              Thanks for the report. Sorry to hear about the fish and the beer! Although I think the beer incident would have happened at just about any Chinese restaurant in LA. You should have told your guests the Germans also drink it warm because it enhances the flavor ;-)

              The famous red cooked pork and the pan fried buns are excellent. Good switches.

              1. re: Porthos
                Ciao Bob May 31, 2013 09:57 AM

                <<any Chinese restaurant in LA>>
                And China, as well!

                1. re: Porthos
                  ipsedixit May 31, 2013 11:11 AM

                  I think only Americans insist on having their beers cold.

                  You know why? Ever try drinking warm Bud or Coors? Nasty nasty stuff. Making it cold -- ice cold -- mutes the nastiness.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    ns1 May 31, 2013 11:24 AM

                    I wouldn't drink a warm corona or asahi either.

                    1. re: ns1
                      ipsedixit May 31, 2013 11:40 AM

                      Yes, but have you ever had warm Bud?

                      I mean a punch-drunk college frat boy wouldn't drink room temp Bud.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        lapizzamaven Jul 8, 2013 09:05 PM

                        disagree Ipsedixit...unless drunk, or otherwise, frat boys have changed, nothing wrong with warm Bud!

                        1. re: lapizzamaven
                          ns1 Jul 8, 2013 09:06 PM

                          no self respecting fraternity would drink warm bud.

                    2. re: ipsedixit
                      Ciao Bob May 31, 2013 11:29 AM

                      non-bing píjiǔ on the mainland is pretty awful to this american palate

                    3. re: Porthos
                      FallingLeaves Jun 3, 2013 08:24 PM

                      Oh, By the way, what I insisted to bring in were American bear made in Utah. In addition, I also agreed to pay their usual $15/bottle wine corkage fee for each of the $3 bottle beer.

                      1. re: FallingLeaves
                        Porthos Jun 3, 2013 09:02 PM

                        That is horrible. You definitely should not have been that accommodating.

                        Corkage at a Chinese restaurant is very negotiable. Especially if you bring your own stems in the case of wine. In this case you could probably have negotiated $15-30 for the case. Probably even $0 if done properly and considering you did the king crab at market price.

                        1. re: Porthos
                          ipsedixit Jun 3, 2013 09:04 PM

                          I don't think I've ever paid corkage at a Chinese restaurant

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            J.L. Jun 3, 2013 09:48 PM

                            Ditto here.

                            Heck, at most Chinese places, I even pre-negotiate down all desserts (yes, multiple courses of dessert) so it's free, especially when it's a "Ballers' Banquet" such as yours.

                            1. re: J.L.
                              ipsedixit Jun 3, 2013 09:53 PM

                              + ∞

                              1. re: J.L.
                                FallingLeaves Jun 4, 2013 02:51 AM

                                All other higher end Chinese restaurants in the SGV that I had dealt with let me bring whatever I want when I dined in their VIP rooms without charging corkage.
                                As reported, Shanghai #1 refused to let in anything thing without per bottle corkage, including beer. I could have simply purchased their house beer (which I had served iced cold) for much less. But these were a special brew from Utah that I had wanted to showcase to my guests. Ruined.

                                1. re: FallingLeaves
                                  JAB Jun 4, 2013 06:41 AM

                                  Something from Epic?

                                  1. re: FallingLeaves
                                    TonyC Jun 4, 2013 08:49 AM


                                    Wrong word. "Whited".

                        2. re: FallingLeaves
                          ns1 May 31, 2013 10:23 AM

                          "The standard crab/lobster stir fry with noodle or rice cake were replace with a steamed 10 lb live Alaskan King crab at market price. Everybody loved it."


                        3. re: ipsedixit
                          chowseeker1999 May 31, 2013 11:30 AM

                          "Most of the other dishes were average (sea cucumber, cold plate, shark's fin) to forgettable (fried rice, tossed shrimp)."


                          Well said. I totally agree with ipsedixit. My last 2 dinner visits were mediocre at best. That's why i was a bit incensed that Jonathan Gold throws this average restaurant in the Top 101 Restaurants of L.A. but leaves off so many other deserving restaurants. Shrug.

                          1. re: chowseeker1999
                            Ciao Bob May 31, 2013 11:36 AM

                            Agree - as I said on another thread recently, the place is a bad joke except for the thick pan fried pork buns.

                            1. re: Ciao Bob
                              ipsedixit May 31, 2013 11:41 AM

                              You two -- chowseeker1999 and Ciao Bob -- are probably Public Enemy Nos. 1 and 2 on Porthos' hit list.

                              Me? I'm already Dead Man Walking ...

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                Ciao Bob May 31, 2013 11:43 AM

                                I have nothing but esteem for him - or her - on all other matters

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  Porthos May 31, 2013 11:53 AM

                                  Ipse. Not even close. Ciao Bob and I agree on pretty much everything except this and I have him to thank for Shunji.

                                  You and I disagree at least a dozen times a month for the past 4 years and you're not even on my top 10 list ;-)

                                  1. re: Porthos
                                    ipsedixit May 31, 2013 11:55 AM

                                    In all seriousness, disagreement is what makes this board go 'round and 'round.

                                    Without it, it'd be like listening to a chorus of Mini-Me's ...

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      Porthos May 31, 2013 11:56 AM

                                      I'll agree to that Mini-Me

                              2. re: chowseeker1999
                                Porthos May 31, 2013 11:44 AM

                                Chowseeker, I think you may have missed the many other excellent dishes reported by Fallingleaves that were enjoyed by all in his/her party: lobster sashimi, red braised pork, king crab, pan fried buns.

                                I'll add lions head and vegetables with preserved duck eggs to the list of nicely done dishes. Ipse did like the braised carp tails in brown sauce so there is a decent list of well done dishes from SN1. Not just well done but better than most high end Chinese places in town and better than even the most popular Shanghainese restaurants in town.

                                But if you're happy with the pork pump at MLV which I think is remarkable only for the funny misspelling, then stick with MLV. It certainly isn't remarkable in any way or different from any other Shanghainese restaurant be it in LA, NYC, or SF bay area.

                                1. re: Porthos
                                  chowseeker1999 May 31, 2013 12:03 PM

                                  thanks porthos. we never tried the preserved duck eggs with veggies, so if we find ourselves in that part of the woods again, i'll be sure to try it. :)

                                  I don't mean to hate on Shanghai #1 for the sake of it; it was just our party were truly disappointed the last 2 times we went for dinner. and the slow awful service didn't help either (but i was referring only to the food).

                                  1. re: chowseeker1999
                                    Porthos May 31, 2013 01:17 PM

                                    I think being disappointed twice is enough.

                                    I probably wouldn't go back either :-)

                                  2. re: Porthos
                                    Ciao Bob May 31, 2013 01:21 PM

                                    I cannot remember if I have had the Lion's Head at SN1. It is one of my favorite dishes, so either I have not had it in about 4 or 5 meals there, or it did not register to me as a good version.

                                    In a support of porthos, I admit to being overly unforgiving to SN1 because I have spent an inordinate amount of time in Shanghai and, based on their own and others' advance praise and hype, I had such high hopes.

                                    1. re: Ciao Bob
                                      Porthos May 31, 2013 01:31 PM

                                      The lions head is hand chopped pork which gives it an entirely different texture. It's served in clear broth. Very essence of good pork.

                                      FWIW, I recall a post where you said you had not tried it yet at the time of that post.

                          2. a
                            ave8th Jul 8, 2013 02:42 PM

                            Yes, went last night and thought the food was terrific. Some of the posts below seem to center around banquet dining, which is quite a different experience from a casual dinner, so I wanted to vouch for the place because I was so impressed by the food last night (FYI, this was my first visit). Yes, decor is tacky and service is lacking (although when the owner showed up at our table, SHE was very attentive and kind, but all I care about is the food - okay, and the price - and maybe it is a tad more expensive than other places but not by much. Anyway, if you are not going for a banquet, you really could just order any bao dish (the xiao long bao (juicy pork buns) are excellent (you could quibble over whose is best but I will just say theirs are excellent) and I would argue that their shen jian bao (pan fried buns) are the best of the best) and some stir-fried greens (our snow pea shoots last night were super fresh, perfectly cooked, and not overly seasoned but with a nice amount of brothy sauce) and you would be set for dinner! The other posters recommend some great-sounding dishes below (vegetables with preserved egg, braised carp tails - yum, hope to try soon!); we just ordered some simple dishes (bean curd sheet wrapped meat in broth (this was the only one I would say was too salty but otherwise very good), walnut shrimp (again, nothing fancy but perfectly cooked, fresh, large shrimp (waiter said the shrimp were flew in from Shanghai - ha ha, who knows and not why I ordered them but just relaying what he said) and fried noodles (not something I would order but our menu was about pleasing other people in my party so forgive me and they were again cooked perfectly and quite delicious). So in sum, there is no need to rush over to reserve a banquet at the restaurant, but definitely worth a visit for a casual dinner!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ave8th
                              Porthos Jul 8, 2013 09:10 PM

                              Agree. That pan fried bun is bar none best in LA.

                              I actually find the rest of the food better at Shanghailander (which isn't to say that SN1 isn't good) but that's much further for the Westside folks.

                              Next time try the lion's head meatballs in soup. Really good and unique.

                              1. re: Porthos
                                Ciao Bob Jul 9, 2013 08:08 AM

                                Did you return, Porthos? As I recall at the time of your last posting you were un-Lioned at the 'Lander.

                                1. re: Ciao Bob
                                  Porthos Jul 9, 2013 08:34 AM

                                  To Shanghailander? Not yet.

                                  I meant ave8th should try the lion's head at SN1.

                                  1. re: Porthos
                                    ave8th Jul 9, 2013 09:24 AM

                                    My mother loved lion's head and used to make the dish when I was a kid and order it at restaurants. It was never one of my favorites, but it sure sounds good to me now. I will be sure to try it because of your suggestion and because I miss my mom (now deceased)! Thanks for your helpful tips, Porthos. By the way, I would love to check out Shanghailander but yes, that is really far from my home, so not very practical, but maybe if I am ever out that way.

                                    1. re: ave8th
                                      Porthos Jul 9, 2013 09:41 AM

                                      The lion's head at SN1 is unique because it is hand chopped pork which is more coarse which makes the flavor and texture more delicious.

                                      You can always hitch a ride with Ciao Bob when he goes back to Shanghailander ;-)

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