At first I was skeptical. I had been recommended to Shanghai Cafe by a friend because she said they serve the best soup dumplings in the city. I walked into the restaurant to be greeted by a mass of people. The supposed hostess asked how many we were, but then walked away. It’s a mystery of how he was keeping track of who was next because there didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to his “system.” We were eventually seated at tiny table in the middle of the crowded restaurant, and although we didn’t know what we wanted, we thought soup dumplings might be a good idea.
My friend Sam and I decided to try the steamed tiny buns with pork to share instead of the soup dumplings, and we each ordered spicy stewed beef with noodles in soup. The waiter read back our order but he said soup dumplings instead of steamed tiny buns. We reiterated that we wanted steamed tiny buns but he again said soup dumplings. I guess he figured we were ordering wrong and we should have the soup dumplings instead.
And you know what? I’m happy he did. The soup dumplings were so amazing, they can only be described as sensual. They were flavorful, hearty, delectable and savory. I insist you must order the soup dumplings if you go to Shanghai Cafe. I thank the waiter for changing my order from steamed tiny buns to these delightful purses filled with soup.
The spicy stewed beef with noodles in soup was also tasty but it wasn’t as phenomenal as the soup dumplings. The beef in the soup was so tender that it fell apart, but some pieces were a bit too fatty for my liking. The noodles were silky and the broth wasn’t too salty at all. I would also recommend this soup but I won’t be as insist on it as I was with the dumplings because many of the entrees I saw other customers eating also looked great.
I left Shanghai Cafe on a better note than the one I entered with. Although the hostess situation has much to be desired, the food is worth the mayhem
Address: 100 Mott St, New York, NY 10013
Phone number: 212-966-3988
Price: $ Cheap.
Hours: Sun-Thur 11:30 AM-10 PM; Fri-Sat 11:30 AM-11 PM
Service: The service could have been better in terms of making sure everything was okay and refilling waters. The host also wasn’t very clear about when people would get seated so it was very confusing.