Last night the Lehigh Girls went out to celebrate the twins' birthday. As we were choosing restaurants via e-mail back in July, someone raised the question, "Why don't we ever go out for Chinese food?" No one had an answer and since Don was making the trek into the city from her home in CT and it was her birthday, she opted to visit Joe's Shanghai to get some soup dumplings.
Now I've been eager to try soup dumplings for years, ever since Dean, of Dinomentioned having enjoyed them at some place in Chinatown whose name now escapes me but I can tell you it was several years ago, so I was totally up for this "adventure."
Let me just start off by saying, this is not a "hip" place. It's not trendy, there's no blasting rock music (though we were in a back room with a wide screen TV showing the Olympics), it's not dark, there are no candles on the table, no funky artwork on the walls, and we're not talking 5* service (which is how I ended up with a glass of mediocre white wine and a Tsing Tao that of course I couldn't let go to waste). This is a basic Chinese restaurant, maybe one slight level above a Chinatown dive, located in midtown (we ate at the 56th street location).
There were eight of us and we started with some steamed vegie dumplings, steamed pork dumplings and orders of the famous soup dumplings (crab and pork), which surprisingly weren't on the menu. We also had an order of spring rolls (crisp and not greasy). Everything was good.
For entrees we enjoyed, beef with asparagus, Peking duck (no accompanying soup), some sort of prawns in a sweet citrus sauce (reminded me of General Tso's shrimp), a spicy shredded pork dish (decently spicy and good), Singapore Chow Mai Fun (also spicy, also good), and vegetable fried rice. Pretty much everything went.
For the eight of us, with assorted drinks (glasses of wine, beer, and vodka), we paid $360 including tip. Not too bad for dinner in midtown. Would I go back? Maybe, if I'm in midtown, with a hankering for Chinese and it was crappy weather or I was seeing a show there or something, but actually, I'd probably rather opt to hop on the subway and head downtown to Chinatown to pay less, and get as good if not better food, maybe even in their Chinatown location, which I'll have to try next.