Joe’s Shanghai, New York

My love affair with chinese food started when I was 6 years old. This love of chinese food was initiatied and cultivated by my dad who would take me out to different chinese restaurants while I was growing up. Ever since them I have eaten chinese food in a number of countries including England, Hong Kong, Canada, India, Turkey, Germany to name a few. I lived in London for years and before moving to New York lived in Toronto for a year. Both places have large chinese communities and their own sizeable China towns. My favorite restaurants were in China Town. Lee Gardens in Toronto set the standard for me. It’s a traditional restaurant, very plain decor (if you can call it that) with a bunch of round tables with white table cloths, predominantly filled with locals from China Town and just damn good food. In my year in Toronto, I must have eaten here 10-15 times.

Since I have moved to the states I have looked to re-create this experience with little avail. A couple of weeks ago I walked into Joe’s Shanghai and felt like I had walked back in time and into Lee Gardens. The restaurant pretty much looked the same, now all that remained was to see if the food measured up. And yes, the food was amazing.

The restaurant was pretty crowded. We were seated immediately, which I hear is pretty rare since there is invariably a wait for a table. We were seated at a table that already had a group of 6 others. We placed our orders quickly, the food arrived almost as quickly and we devoured it pretty quickly, saying very little, just focusing on the exceptional quality of the food. If you go there, you have to try the soup dumplings. I was expecting dumplings in soup, but no, the soup is in the dumpling! Be very careful eating the dumplings because they are delicate and the soup is so very hot. Everything we ordered tasted fresh, flavorful and did not resort to heavy sauces which is the failing of your more typical chinese restaurant – I hate that!

This is what good chinese restaurants are all about. Great, no frills food, efficient service, lousy decor and you’re in and out in 45 minutes – beautiful.

One Response to “Joe’s Shanghai, New York”

  1. Joe’s Shanghai is my favorite. Try the pepper and salt shrimp and the sauteed spinach – you won’t be disappointed.

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