Are Soup Dumplings the Only Good Thing About Joe’s Shanghai?
For some random reason I was craving twice or double cooked pork last week (hmmmmm… pork belly.) The obvious choice seemed to be the version from Szechuan Gourmet (we do love us some Szechuan Gourmet around here), but what about Joe’s Shanghai? It’s pretty much an institution in Chinatown, but has only been mentioned on Midtown Lunch once. So to give it some love I decided to check it out.
Before heading to the restaurant, I went onto their website and checked their lunch special price which was $9.35. But once I sat down and was handed the menu the actual lunch special price was $11.35. Damn you Joe!!!!! Since it came with a vegetable roll, soup and rice (and I was already there) I figured I could splurge just this once.
Joe’s Shanghai’s version is cooked in a plum sauce, which sounded great- despite being anything like the twice cooked pork I’m used to. I love sweet and savory flavors together, but when the dish landed on the table it was not what I was expecting. Instead of leeks and beautifully cooked slices of pork belly, it had peppers, cabbage and pieces of pork that didn’t look like pork belly. And even though I did find out later that twice cooked pork can come with peppers and cabbage or leeks it didn’t matter. The cabbage, bamboo shoots and peppers were getting in the way of the pork- and the dish tasted mostly sweet. More pork and less veggies please?
Of course going to Joe’s Shanghai I had to get an order of juicy buns/soup dumplings/xiaolongbao($6.50). Unlike the twice cooked pork dish, this was delicious. It was delicate, hearty and satisfying.
Joe’s Shanghai, 24 W 56th St (btw 5th+6th Ave), 212-333-3868