Thanks Adamlouis for turning me on to this place!!! I went tonight and enjoyed a Peking duck roll (cold wheat pancake as in moo-shu pork, but filled with hot shreds of duck and some barely crisp-tender bok choy, with plum sauce), a steamer full of xiao long bao, and a bowl of Pagoda special noodle soup with udon.
The soup dumplings were good, but I agree that the Joe's variety (thicker wrapper, more hot soup) are more to my taste. The sauce at Pagoda was a sweeter variety-soy, sugar, scallion, and a little garlic-not the traditional red vinegar with ginger shreds, but none of those quibbles kept me from washing down ALL EIGHT dumplings with some quite acceptable cold "jug" sake.
The udon was not Japanese in any way except for the yummy chewy-fat noodles. It was a normal Chinese chicken broth, not the smoky bonito broth, but it was clean-tasting and filled with chicken, crunchy plump shrimp, roast pork, and DELLISH bok choy, still crunchy and bright green. Too bad I coudln't finish even half of it. It was easily enough for two.
I don't know whether it was the carafe of sake , the hot soup, or perimenopause, but by the time I left the rainy chill of Philly couldn't touch me!
The grand total, including duck roll, dumplings, soup, and sake, was $24. Pretty good considering that my first night in town I told the concierge I wanted Japanese and he sent me to Morimoto where I dropped $90. But that flight of sake-ooooh baby, it was some yum!!!!
Another huge plus for Pagoda is its location right next to the Ritz East movie house. I topped off my dinner with a showing of "The Queen," in which Helen Mirren does a masteful job recreating Queen Elizabeth's reaction to the outpouring of British grief in the week after Diana's death. What an utterly captivating movie!