So, we've been to Shanghai Gate 3 times. Each time, we left rather disappointed, but determined to give the place another chance since it received glowing reviews from pretty much everyone else.
Here are some of the dishes we've ordered:
On our 1st visit, we had the fish in brown sauce, paradise chicken, Chef's Duck appetizer, and a really weird dofu/egg/spam sandwich appetizer. The fish and chicken were good, but not outstanding. The duck was passable. But the dofu/egg/spam was just completely bland (I think the waitress forgot to serve us the sauce, and we didnt realize it shouldve come with sauce till after we paid)
On our 2nd visit, we tried winter melon soup, yu xiang Pork, and braised beef. The soup was horrible. Instead of a subtle ham aroma, it smelled like pork fat. The pork and beef average.
On our 3rd visit, we had seaweed fish, pork dumplings, lion's head, and stir fry doumiao. The seaweed fish was good. you can tell the kitchen was good in frying stuff, but the sauce was a disappointment. The dumplings were surprisingly good, very moist and with subtle aroma. The doumiao was good, just like you'll find at any other chinese restaurant, but perhaps less oily. I feel the lion's head was nicely made, but needing just a little bit more flavor. But it was a nice size, and the meat was very well minced.
The last 2 times we've come, the place has been packed and service spotty. I think the kitchen staff is very skilled, and the dishes are respectfully cooked. The problem is more that our taste buds dont fit well with the chef's taste buds. Or maybe we've been ordering the wrong dishes. It's too bad, since as I said, we tried so hard to like the place.
The last time we were there, they had a specials board. I speak limited Mandarin, and I do try to ask the waitstaff what they recommend. But when the restaurant is so packed, it's hard to get their recommendations.