With a menu from Melanie, I FINALLY made it down to this Shanghai-flavor Chinese restaurant to try it out.
It opens for dinner at 4:30. My friends and I were early so we were the only table there. We got the Chinese menu. The place looked a little bare. The wait person gave me an impression of a friend's mother-in-law--home-style was what it advertised.
OK, I ordered Shanghai smoked-fish for apetizer; the last item from the Sandpots (Fresh and Salty hams soup); Lion's Head, fried eel, and shredded pork with bamboo tips from the entrees.
First, the taste of the dishes ARE authentic. We shouldn't haved ordered FRIED eel because the texture of the eel's back is obliterated. The sweet and sour sauce covering it was really good though. Crunchy. Hummn, should've ordered chestnut and eel stew... The Hams soups, a typical Shanghai dish, was really tasty. I was disappointed, however, when I realized that the bamboos in the soup was CANNED! The soggy texture was terrible. Is there any fresh bamboo roots sold here? Maybe not. Alas.
The sauce and taste of the smoked fish was right. The fish is different from what I had in Shanghai. It's this small softboned fish, not chunks of carps I had in China. It seems different Chinese restuarants over here (in NYC at least) had differnt choices of fishes for this dish. Is that because carp is a fresh water fish?
The Lion's heads (meatballs) are good. The sauces are good but the meatball itself is just a bit dry. I wonder if they put enough bread crumbs in it or whether they used very lean meat... The Shredded pork and bamboo shoots are authentic but nothing to be excited about--it's like "home-cooking".
The menu is very extensive. The flavor is right but the canned bamboo was a sour point. There are a few other dishes that I wanted to try but didn't get to. Maybe next time I'll order it right. And I should see if they have an English menu.