With high expectation for shen jian bao, I went to Shanghai Flavor Shop in Sunnyvale. Reports in 2009 and 2010 praised their sjb. I arrived at 6:15 and oddly was the only customer. I ordered the sjb and shredded pork & noodle with green onion sauce.
The sjb dough was tough, the tops were dark brown (overcooked), and they were coated in oil that had bits of residue (burned food?). The meat tasted odd. I cook a lot of ground pork and I know what it should taste like. There was a lot of empty space between the meat and the dough (airspace was 3x the volume of the meat). The one positive characteristic was a lot of juice (although it wasn't tasty).
The noodle sauce was flavorful but hardly had any meat. I actually asked the waiter if the noodles were vegetarian. If the meat were increased by 3x, the dish would have been more satisfying. The noodles were okay, but could have been more toothsome.
The 2 employees were very friendly. There were 2 other people in the kitchen. Something is wrong when there are more employees than customers at the height of dinner time. I wanted this place to become a favorite. Such a disappointment. When I had almost finished, one person stepped in for a takeout.
I'll stay with Dumpling Kitchen in San Francisco for sjb. Never been disappointed there.
If chowhounds know of other good sjb places, do share!