Restaurants & Bars

Shanghai 1930 DAT (?) report (long)

Maya | Jan 25, 200306:32 PM     10

Last night we went to Shanghai 1930 to try their DAT menu. When we were seated we opened the menus and right on the front there was a red page stating a menu for $29.95. It was not the same menu I was told about when I called that morning to find out the DAT menu, but there was no mention of any other menu, and it was the DAT price, so we assumed it was the same. It was not. (Side note: this was our first DAT, so we can't compare to others, but is it normal to have to specially request the DAT menu? Is it normally indicated somewhere on the menu?)

Since we passed a huge fancy bar on the way to our table, we assumed there would be a cocktail menu. We asked for one, and were brought the wine list. I asked for a cocktail menu again, and was told that there was none, but that we could order whatever we wanted from the full bar. I cannot imagine how much money the place is losing by not having some specialty cocktails, especially considering that it was obscenely overstaffed and rather empty. I ordered a lemon drop and it was totally sub-par. It didnt even have fresh lemon juice in it! Thumbs down.

When we ordered, the waiter did something very strange. I selected a vegetable dish from 3 options. He told us that we should only choose one vegetable between us, because the chef didnt like to prepare two separate dishes for the vegetable course. ??????? We were completely confused as we were attempting to order just what was indicated on the menu. I felt like I have felt in foreign countries where I do not know the customs and have to be told "how it works here." My companion and I looked at each other in utter bewilderment. I asked why, and the waiter said it was because "the portions and big." This made no sense to us but he said it with such authority that we said, well, okay.

After the waiter left my companion and I looked at each other in complete confusion. Basically we had just been fleeced out of one of the 5 courses and would clearly still pay the set price. So when the waiter returned, we said we would like to get another vegetable dish as indicated on the menu. He assumed an extremely displeased expression and said, "Well, I'll ask the chef if he would not mind about that." Would not mind preparing what was offered on the menu?? Anyway...

The food was here and there. First course was hot boiled wontons in a spicy soy sauce. Very tasty. Chinese salad with julienned cucumber, bean sprouts and bland sauce was unimpressive.

Hot and sour soup came next: it was a nice sized bowl, but it tasted like the kitchen forgot to put in the vinegar or whatever it needs to make it sour. Ive had better from take out.

Next we had a pretty good pork dish with vegetables, and a whole boneless fried cod with hot and sour sauce. The pork was ordinary. The cod was actually very tasty, with a good tangy sauce and cubed vegetables.

The vegetable dishes were a ginger/garlic tofu, and spicy green beans. Green beans were well prepared, and the tofu was good too, though I personally prefer firm tofu to the extremely soft version.

This all came with a very small bowl of steamed rice that we shared.

The waiter then came with a dessert menu. At this point we still thought we had ordered the DAT menu, which included a dessert. After further confusion we were told that it was a different menu, and that dessert would be an extra charge. By this time we decided to cut our losses and get out of there.

It was a rather bizarre and confusing evening. The food was okay but nothing crazy-good. the restaurant had potential but gave a "past its prime" vibe that was pretty depressing. I wouldn't bother to go back.

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