Restaurants & Bars

Boston Area

Shanghai Gate, Allston

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Restaurants & Bars 8

Shanghai Gate, Allston

Limster | Jan 9, 2005 12:42 AM

Was very excited to see a Shanghainese place open up (they've been open for a week) -- lots of authentic dishes on the menu. From the 2 dishes I had, I'd only offer a very qualified recommendation, but I've barely scratched the surface, and the place is new.

Big meaty chunks of gluten in the four treasure tofu (actually kaofu, which is braised soy bean gluten, iirc), a cold appetizer. Pretty good calibration of clovey star anise flavour, a lovely textural composition with the mushrooms, wood ear and peanuts in the dish. However, it's not sweet enough (it's like Thai food that's not spicy enough). They were apologetic, saying that they've made it more to local tastes, cutting down on the sugar. They're holding back.

But here's an opportunity -- and this is what chowhound is great for for -- if you do eat there and order that dish, tell them it's not sweet enough. If there's a critical mass of customers who insist on the real thing, and not a watered down version, they'll eventually realize that their customers want authentic fare and they'll stop pandering and start cooking the real thing.

The magic shrimp was a basic egg battered deep fried shrimp -- shrimps are nice texture wise, but the batter's not crispy enough. I'm chalking this disappointment up to bad ordering on my part, since it's not a part of the classical Shanghainese repetoire.

Some of the dishes from the nearby tables looked good e.g. double bean curd (actually gluten) with vegetables, braised chilli peppers (called "braised xx" on the take-out menu, still under construction I guess).

I'll definitely go back to try them again, because the menu is unique in the area, and there are more things to try. They're still setting stuff up, and won't be making the typical shanghainese xiao long bao and shen jian bao (pan fried dumplings) for a couple of weeks.

Not a recommendation and not comprehensive by any means, but some of the items I'd want to check out in the future, would obviously love to hear if hounds have tried it (there's a few sichuan dishes on the menu too, I'm putting them on the backburner because the folks there are Shanghainese):

west lake chicken
honeyed fish
spiced mackerel
chef's duck (actually jiangya, a shanghainese braised duck)
three-layered tofu
seaweed fish
Shanghai soup
Shanghai fish slices
shrimp with gingko nuts (no English translation, item SD14 on menu)
lotus beef
Lion's head casserole
pork in tofu wrapper
braised xx (actually braised green chilli peppers)
double bean curd with vegetables
Shanghai pan fried noodles
sauteed rice cake

Shanghai Gate
204 Harvard Ave, Allston (across the street from Uno's)
617-566-7344

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