Returned to Shanghai House last night - hadn't been in several months. It was cold and rainy and the door to the restaurant barely shuts, so it was a bit of a chilly meal. Service was also super super slow - our first dish didn't come out for nearly 30 mins, with 10 minute gaps between most other dishes - so we were there for nearly 2 hours, as were many other diners. For the most part though, the food was excellent.
Xiao long bao were really good - better than I remembered, flavor-wise probably best I've had in the Bay Area. Wrapper was a good consistency, didn't break too easily and pork filling was sweet and delicious - found no need for the vinegar/ginger dipping sauce since the flavor was amazing already.
Veggie dumplings were also really good - like the XLB, they were somewhat small but again the filling was a tasty mix of mushrooms, greens and other veggies.
Vegetarian Duck was really good - it was served hot, despite being in the cold section of the menu - the outer bean curd skin was crispy, and the filling of mushrooms was gently flavored w/ five spice. Very popular with everyone at the table.
Buddha's Delite, ordered mainly for the vegetarians, was also delicious - a wide variety of veggies and tofu in a non-gloopy brown sauce with plenty of ginger and garlic. Vegetables were not overcooked.
Mu-shu vegetables (also vegetarian) were also excellent - salty scrambled eggs were mixed in with mushrooms, carrots and cabbge. Only complaint was that it was a bit too salty.
Main disappointment was the rice cakes w/ chicken - this tasted a bit charred, like it was too smoky or maybe slightly burned, and really didn't have any flavors besides that. The version at Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae is much tastier.
Our last dish was a claypot with satay beef broth and clear noodles - again, a big hit (though this was served last, over 1 hr after we had first ordered). The satay flavor was subtle, which I liked, and the pieces of beef were tender.
We ended up with enough food for 5 of us, and the total bill was 52 dollars before tip. Good deal.
So if you're not in a hurry, I definitely recommend giving Shanghai House a try.
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