Chinatown stalwart New Shanghai closed down for a time in the fall, after the restaurant’s license was temporarily suspended for health code violations. It has now reopened in the same spot with a different menu, one 9lives calls “ambitious and interesting” with “various preps of rabbit, kidney, tendon, sea cucumber, cumin lamb and more,” and which is an improvement over the unexciting old menu. So how’s the food on the plates? Delicious, say hounds, who laud the twice-cooked pork belly, cold shredded chicken with special spicy sauce, and the boiled beef filet with red pepper and bean sprouts.
Cumin lamb is controversial. yumyum called it “mean” and “excellent,” particularly enjoying the sliced garlic that was mixed with chiles and cilantro. But others complained about the cumin, wishing for freshly toasted and ground cumin, and about a “powdery” quality to the lamb. But everyone seemed to enjoy numbing hot beef tendons, a small heap of thinly sliced tendon with sauce and shredded scallions on top.
Those who order xiao long bao (a.k.a. “soup dumplings”) may come away disappointed with New Shanghai, however. It seems that the translation of xiao long bao may be different depending on where the cook hails from in China. New Shanghai’s XLB do not contain broth; instead, they’re more like a doughy steamed dim sum pork buns. 9lives calls them “the weakest of the dishes” tried at a recent visit, though others enjoyed them. Just don’t expect a spurt of soup when you bite in.
New Shanghai Restaurant [Chinatown]
21 Hudson St, Boston