After a somewhat annoying week, BarmyFotheringayPhipps and I decided to treat ourselves to dinner out on Friday night. There's a new Turkish restaurant coming into the space in Packard's Corner that used to be Beckett's Pub, on Commonwealth next to Cookin' Cafe, but they weren't quite open for business yet (pretty space, though - tablecloths and all!) Sorry - I keep trying to make a note of the name and it keeps slipping my mind. It looks like they'r right on the verge of opening, so we'll keep our eyes peeled.
Failing that, we continued up Commonwealth to Harvard and had another wonderful dinner at Shanghai Gate instead. We "started" with the seaweed fish and an order of pork dumplings ("started" in quotation marks because while we did indeed get the fish as a first course, once again the dumplings arrived last of everything. I don't mind at all, but they should consider moving them from the "Appetizers - Hot" section of the menu to noodle entrees or something!) The seaweed fish was really really good - the seaweed in the batter gives a surprisingly fresh, vegetal flavor. I like the fact that their fried items are served in doily-lined baskets, to help soak up any lingering oil.
For entrees we ordered rice cake with ground pork and leeks (BFP thought the rice cake was sliced a bit too thin - he likes the chewiness - but I thought it was fine, and the preparation was terrific); a couple of the lion's head meatballs, and the paradise mountain chicken, which I had thought would be scary-hot but was not so bad. It helped that the chicken was cut in fairly large chunks - the generous portions of dried chile pepper and raw garlic in the topping were offset by the meat itself. The dumplings came last, as noted - they were delicious, but for some reason I was having a case of fumble-finger that caused me to drop my first one into the vinegar and completely break it open - boo hoo! - and darn near rupture my second as well. I'm putting it down to that stress-filled week.
Once again I'm impressed by the excellent food, as well as by the spare but striking decor, the warmth and friendliness of the staff, and the amazing prices - we slightly over-ordered, and still got away for less than $40 (plus tip.) I feel truly lucky to have such an outstanding Chinese restaurant in my neighboorhood (especially since I've been there long enough to remember when that space was a Brigham's!)