Dumplings: Joe’s Shanghai

Date: 1/1/2017

Borough: Manhattan

Address: 9 Pell Street

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What we ordered: 

  • Pork & Crab Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings)
  • Scallion Pancakes

Cost (post-tax, pre-tip): $11.20

The scores:

Ratings (1-10) Rob Missy
Taste 7 7
Presentation 7 6
Setting 4 5
Value 8 8
Overall 6.75 6

Ryan comments:

It was a tight squeeze getting the stroller in, and the restaurant was pretty crowded, but they let us keep it right next to our seats. She slept for the most part, but woke a few times with some crying. Luckily the restaurant was pretty loud so it wasn’t bad.

Ryan’s Report Card (1-10): 7.5

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General Comments:

Joe’s Shanghai is a well-known spot in the heart of Chinatown. It’s small and can get very packed, so we were lucky to get in on our first try with no problems considering our giant stroller situation. We were here pretty early so it was only a 10 minute wait, but they made us stay outside until the seats opened up. We had to share a communal table with 2 other parties, which is pretty typical for a Chinatown restaurant. There is a bathroom, one for Men and one for Women, but they’re down a cramped hall near the kitchen. The Ladies’ room floor was soaked and it was a long wait because the place was packed.

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We were served hot tea after being seated and asked for cups of water.

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The scallion pancakes came out first. They were greasy, as expected, but good and crunchy. The vinegar dipping sauce helped cut the grease. Rob enjoyed them, and Melissa admitted that they were tasty though they were definitely too oily for her to eat more than 1 piece.

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We got the crab and pork soup dumplings instead of just pork. It’s an extra two dollars but adds a lot of flavor. They were larger than at other places and served on cabbage leaves. Multiple were broken on the top, which is a big no-no for soup dumplings.

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Interior shot of a dumpling. Note the nice yellow color from the crab meat:

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The skin was also a little thicker than Rob would have liked.

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This was Melissa’s first soup dumpling experience and she deemed them “pretty tasty”. She liked them more than expected, but it was a little bit of a challenge to eat…soup dumplings are difficult to eat on their own, without also trying to keep a baby sleeping by rocking her stroller back and forth (the below picture is her eating a scallion pancake but you get the point!)

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Joe’s ended up scoring a 6.5 and a 6 overall, as the restaurant itself lacked much ambiance and charm, and the dumplings themselves didn’t really live up to their hype. Melissa is a novice in this category but Rob assured her that he’s had much better Xiao Long Bao…onto the next one, please!

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