JOE’S SHANGHAI…What happened?!?!?

Posted 16th August 2011 by
So…over the weekend I visited JOE’S SHANGHAI restaurant on 56th St. with some friends, for dinner.
Let me begin by saying that it’s been about 10 years since I visited a Joe’s (went to the Pell St. location last time) and this recent visit definitely DID NOT bring back those memories of mouthwatering goodness.

Both locations have the same decor style, so it all comes down to the eats.  I remember the Pell St. location having absolutely wonderful soup dumplings (why go for anything else?); little pouches of deliciousness filled with pork and soup broth.  When served, u would definitely have to put a hole in the top of the dumpling to let all the steam vent out (and let the soup cool), so you could add the soy sauce and then pop it in your mouth in 1 shot.  I don’t remember everything else I had but based on the initial impression, I’m sure everything @ Pell St. was great!

Now…. @ 56th street, we were served 5 soup dumplings in a steamer basket.  I eagerly punched a hole in the top of a dumpling and was quiet dismayed by the lack of heavenly steam that should have come rushing out.  I put a little soy in, popped the dumpling in my mouth and was greeted not by hot savory broth surrounding pork goodness, but rather a little pork “ball” surrounded by tepid, uninspiring broth.  Bummer….

The next dishes had @ 56th St. were: shredded chicken with vermicelli noodles, wok roasted squid with peppery salt, moo shu pork and finally dry sauteed string beans with minced pork.

Unfortunately all the dishes weren’t as inspiring they should have been.  The shredded chicken with vermicelli seemed to lack a depth of flavor and the noodles were as wide as papardelle versus the typical thinness of vermicelli.  The wok roasted squid seemed to be missing that beautiful grainy peppery salt that all Chinese restaurants seem to have on request!  Moo shu pork was assembled by the waiter and seemed to lack the main condiment that usually go into the folding, Plum Sauce.  And finally the dry sauteed string beans were more of a regular saute (quite wet) and I think it was also lacking in the minced pork department.

Overall the restaurant serves its purpose of providing sustenance, but considering the rushed service, the mediocre food and the fairly high price…there are definitely other places to visit in midtown!

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