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Restaurants & Bars 6

Shanghai Terrace, chocolate bar

Lill | May 10, 200403:00 PM

Had dinner at Shanghai Terrace this weekend, and I liked it a lot, but I concur with the consensus here that it's not the best Chinese food in the city.

I'll just do a thumbnail sketch of my impressions -- this is not intended to be a comprehensive review.

Service was very, very professional, though impersonal. We waited about half an hour for our reservation but received major apologies. The space was much smaller than I expected -- about 12 tables (the outdoor space was not open). Lovely well-appointed room, but it feels a little cramped.

The stand-outs from the meal were the Peking duck salad (very nice), the foie gras dumplings (so rich), the turnip cakes (with bits of salty bacon and an almost custard-like texture) and the drunken cornish hen (warm, perfectly cooked and served on crispy bok choy). Less impressive were the vegetable dumplings, the halibut (kind of boring), and the amuse-bouche (a piece of standard California roll; a fried oyster; a crab dumpling, all with tiny dollops of sauces that were described in minute detail but too scant to really taste).

The dessert list looked interesting, but we headed over to the chocolate bar in the Peninsula lobby instead. This was excellent -- though they weren't serving Vosges truffles, which I was hoping for. There were samples of just about anything you could imagine. I wish I had not eaten dinner beforehand, as I was too full to really take advantage of the glorious concept of all-you-can-eat chocolate. One major standout was the hot chocolate -- the richest, best hot chocolage I've had anywhere, including Maxwell Street. Don't be fooled by the $20 price tag per person -- it will be much more in the end, because drinks (even plain coffee) are marked up sky high.

In sum -- a night at the Peninsula was great fun in a lovely setting, but I have been every bit as happy with meals in Chinatown for less than a quarter of the price.


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