On a visit to New York last week, my daughter arranged for a Flushing jaunt with me, her co-worker, and her co-worker's SO. I (from San Francisco) was supposed to be the Flushing expert, as none of them had even been there(!!??)
I neglected to bring my cheat sheet which called out the particular Sichuan restaurant I intended to check out, and we ended out stumbling across Shanghai Tide, formerly Shanghai Tang. Being somewhat under the weather, due to a vexatious travel day the day before (which included 2.5 hours on the tarmac in Minneapolis), lack of sleep and the enervating heat and humidity, I had almost no appetite for food until it was finally on the table and let the New Yorkers do the ordering, contenting myself with steering them away from a couple of selections of dubious authenticity.
We ended up with crab and pork xiaolong bao, stir-fried pea shoots with garlic, "green beans with scallions" and Lion's Head meatballs. The XLB were unexceptional by comparison with versions in Shanghai, and the pea shoots were fresh though cooked in an excess of oil. The garlic presence was discreet and didn't overwhelm the delicate flavor of the dou miao. The other two dishes contained surprises. The "green beans with scallions" turned out to be fresh Fava beans, which I thought I wouldn't like, but they were flavorful and not cooked to the point of mushiness. The Lion's Head meatballs were described on the menu as "with crab" and I expected that they would merely contain crab mixed with the ground pork; instead, they camed covered with a thick, orange-ish sauce (the "mane?") featuring crab and crab roe. An unfamiliar preparation, to be sure, but one that worked well, though it could be better with less thickener in the sauce.
The other tables had all Chinese occupants. Oddly enough, many were enjoying the hot pot, something which is considered strictly mid-winter fare in our household, not something to be eaten when the temperature is 90 degrees with 85 percent humidity. Given more time and appetite, I would return to try more of the menu.