Last fall, Rene had posted there was restaurant preparing food from Fuzhou. Sometime later, he posted the restaurant had closed, but there was some debate whether it was really closed or not. I can settle this debate by definitively declaring it is open.
San Shing is in the location of the old Cantonese Chef. San Shing prides itself in being a seafood restaurant, but the fish tanks in lounge were filled with water but no occupants.
When we arrived around 7 PM, there were no clients in the restaurant. The kitchen staff was sitting around a table preparing dumplings by hand. Before sitting, we verified they indeed served food from Fuzhou. They handed us their take-out menu, which on the inside fold featured food from the north and on the outside food from Fuzhou. There was a second take-out menu, which was general interest American Chinese cuisine. Luckily we took the take-out menu with us to the table because it helped us understand their menu.
San Shings menu is in three separate sections divided by cuisine: each section has its own appetizers, soups and main course selections which are all quite different. However, only by comparing their take-out menus to their restaurant menu does one learn which section is for Fuzhou and which is for Northern style food. It is probably clearly stated in Chinese, but not in English. Thank goodness I had Renes early comments to clue us into the mysteries of this menu.
For this evening, with one exception, we decided to concentrate on food from Fuzhou.
From the appetizers, we ordered:
#505 Fried taro cake that was served like a pie shaped wedge.
#506 House special fish ball. I assumed dumpling, instead it came in a bland broth with 10 fish balls sized 1.5-2 inches in diameter. For a moment, I thought we were being served the Chinese version of gefilte fish in broth. Instead, it was mostly dough with a 1-inch diameter of minced fish in the center. The broth really was bland, not fishy, not chickeny, just seasoned water?
#507 Meat Ball: Small bowl of soup with 10 meatballs in a broth heavily seasoned with black pepper.
I must note our waiter had tried hard to persuade us to order the Noodles in Soup, which he promised was from Fuzhou. We really were not in soup moods, but later I sort of regretted not following his lead. A pair of Chinese gentlemen came and ordered soup, presumably from Fuzhou. They shared the same wedge of taro cake to accompany their soup. I began to think perhaps the reason the unexpected and somewhat blandly seasoned broths with our appetizer dumplings were present to keep them warm until you added them to your soup. What we ordered billed as appetizers probably belonged in Additions to your soup category.
For the main course, we ordered:
#535 Rabbit with Foo Chow (Fuzhou?) Sauce: This dish was RED tinted; with hand cut young bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms and rabbit. This dish would please VI conceptually: I found there were rabbit kidneys and liver present along with the meat.
#540 Broil Snail: selection aborted because there were no snails.
#541 Jelly Fish: I was advised this was a good choice.
What arrived to the table: baby clams in black bean and pork sauce. I grabbed my menu trying to understand how baby clams had made it into the mix. I had done some pointing at the menu because of weak english skills of our waiter. I didnt find any baby clams anywhere near where I pointed. Well, I figured maybe they brought it as a substitute for the snails while we wait for the jellyfish. They were ok baby clams, but I have had better at Little Three Happiness. In fact, I was getting annoyed they had substituted on my behalf without consulting me. After a while, I asked about the Jelly Fish. No Jelly fish today, I hope you like the clams. Oh.
From the Northern Cuisine Menu:
#430 Honey Glazed Shrimp: These were large shrimp, which looked like they were wrapped in a fluffy silicon rubber coating laying on a bed of sliced iceberg lettuce with walnuts. I could not identify a honey taste and wondered if they really served #446 Walnut Shrimp. I didnt enjoy it but my parents liked it quite a bit.
If I did it again, I would gravitate toward the soups. They also had interesting stews with eel another of oxtail. However, since they dont seem to have their kitchen stocked with everything promised on the menu. I would call a day in advance to pre-order what I want to avoid disappointment.
The wait staff was very pleased we were interested in food from Fuzhou. They were happy to announce they are the only restaurant in Chicago featuring food from Fuzhou. We also had unintentional entertainment of a vigorous argument migrating through the walls from the Video store next door.
Well, I now have to put the Christmas tree away and prepare for Chinese New Year.
Happy New Year!
2342 S. Wentworth Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
Tel: 312-225-9772, 312/225-9773
Open 7 days a week: 11 AM - 2 AM. Free Delivery.