Joe's Shanghai (Midtown) - Interrupt

>> Thursday, November 29, 2012

Date of Dining: 10/6/2012
Price: $4-10 appetizers, $12-30 entrees
Location: 24 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

The Quick Bit

+ high quality xiao long bao
+ good service for comparable class restaurants
Δ portions could reflect the price better

While I was in New York, I wanted to make a stop to visit one of the famous Chinese restaurants in the city. Unfortunately, the threatening weather influenced me to change from a visit to Chinatown to a restaurant closer to the hotel as I didn't want to get stuck and lost in a rain storm.
Luckily, one of New York's Chinese institutions had a branch close to my hotel. Joe's Shanghai was founded in 1995 and has been recognized as one of the city's best Chinese restaurants by the New York Times, Gourmet Magazine, Travel and Leisure, and Zagat. While these accolades may not be quite as recent, I felt that it would still be a good opportunity to sample what the city had to offer in its Chinese cuisine.

mixed seafood asparagus chowder
As the weather was cold and raining, it was absolutely vital that I got a soup to warm up and feel comfortable. This soup accomplished that perfectly as it was heated to nice hot temperature. The mix of vegetables and shrimp was a nice combination as the sweetness of the peas and carrots complemented the sweetness of the shrimp while the mushrooms added some earthiness to balance things out.

crab meat with pork steamed soup buns (xiao long bao)
Joe's signature dish is the soup dumplings, which are offered as just pork or a pork and crab mix; We opted for the pork and crab mix. The dumpling skins were hand made and were extremely delicate - almost translucent, but retained enough strength to hold in the soup within each bun. The amount of soup, the flavor, and the stuffing were all in perfect harmony to give a great bite. These xiao long bao were of the same caliber that I enjoyed at Shanghai's top xiao long bao establishments (Jia Jia Tang Bao). Overall, I was extremely pleased with these soup dumplings.

seafood rice cakes
Because of the Shanghai namesake, I decided to order the rice cakes, which are a classic shanghai dish. The rice cakes were not overcooked and aside from the liberal use of soy sauce, the dish was well composed and enjoyable.


While I was unable to make it to Chinatown during this visit, the quality of Joe's Shanghai gives me hope for future visits. I enjoyed most of the dishes, and the signature soup dumplings were an absolute delight. If I had one complaint about the restaurant, it's that the restaurant seems suck in the nineties as far as the ambiance and plating of the dishes. While the taste of the food remains at a high quality, the feeling of walking into an older time period may be somewhat of a turnoff for the younger crowd, especially in the middle of midtown.


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gastro bits is a blog that juxtaposes the geeky with the foodie; it is an attempt to be educational about food, yet entertaining at the same time.
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