Tuesday's lunch was a stop at Ding Sheng (aka Shang Hai Ding Sheng) in Milpitas. At 1:30pm it was still pretty busy with a big round table of 14 seated in a back corner and most of the other tables still occupied. I'd missed the earlier chowdown here and recently heard from "tanspace" that it was worth a try again.
In contrast to the to-go menu of nearly exclusively Shanghainese specialties that I took with me, the menu you're offered in the restaurant also has a pretty fair smattering of Sichuan dishes as well. Perhaps this is a new development. The nice thing here is that there are photos of most of the dishes. The Chinese language-only photocopied single sheet menu was all small plates, some of which were included on the pictorial menu, so no need to feel terribly deprived if you're not literate in Chinese.
I started with a dish of kaufu, $4.95. The version here is made with dense small cubes, rather than the airy, pumpernickle-like variant. The saucing was less wine-y and had more of a creamy sweetened sesame character. Some boiled peanuts and lily buds were mixed in.
Kau fu photo -
I was warned that the xiao long bao, 8/$6.95, would be a bit of a wait. That's a good thing in my book, suggesting that they're made to order. The wrappers on the dumplings were a bit thickish but not as much as the ones at Oakland's Shanghai. The skins were quite tender and soft, lacking the elasticity of better example, but they did the job and didn't leak. These were quite juicy with a good amount of fatty, sweetly porky soup. The filling was a little too firm and had chives (!) blended with the meat. They were quite nice but not quite in the top tier.
Given that China First Gourmet is so near by, I wouldn't come back here just for the XLB. However, the menu looks interesting and is more extensive than China First Gourmet. I'd order either dish again as part of a larger meal here.
What else do chowhounds recommend here?
(Shanghai) Ding Sheng Restaurant
686 Barber Lane