I've noticed a few places cropping up, mostly in midtown, shamelessly copping the Joe's Shanghai theme...heavily featured soup dumplings, Anglo surnames (e.g. "John's Shanghai"), etc. They clearly cater to gringos, but often offer stuff (jellyfish, drunken crab) that doesn't seem gringo-friendly (and it's tough to determine whether it's cuz they cater to a split clientele or if they're just SUPER obediently following the successful Joe's model).
I'm now looking at a takeout menu from John's Shanghai right now (they're at 144 W46), and it at least LOOKS serious. It's never ever been mentioned on site. And while I can't remember names/locations, there are at least three or four others like it, new zippy places nobody I know has tried.
Anybody have experiences to recount? I'm tempted to ignore them as knock-offs, figuring that if they were good, somebody here would have reported on 'em. But I figured I'd ask.
Also, is the Joe's in midtown still awful?