Joe’s Shanghai Review

Posted by Scott on June 3rd, 2010

Joe's Shanghai

Rating: 4 paws out of 5
Spent: $6 per order of buns, $12 per dish.
Chain: Yes, 4 locations.
Date Friendly: Ya
Note: Cash Only and expect a wait during lunch / dinner most of the time.
136-21 37th Avenue
Flushing, New York 11354
718-539-3838
http://www.joeshanghairestaurants.com/

Roaming in flushing after doing some shopping at the Local Hong Kong supermarket, I came across this crowded restaurant.  Why is there a long line for these soup dumplings.  It has to be, otherwise the common mass has gone mad for substandard soup dumplings.  Going into sneak attack mode, I diving through the crowds and got to the front and got a ticket.  Number 54, oh well at least they are at 25 at the time.

Joe's Shanghai

Ah the glorious soup bun, or in Chinese the xiaolongbao.  This tasty treat is one of many favorite appetizer, snack or main dish.  For those who are in the dark about this treat, let me tell you of a tall tail.  Close your eyes and think of a magical treat that has a sweet broth in a wonderful dough package.  A xiaolongbao is basically a dumping or bun that has been sealed with meat.  Now during the steaming process to make this bun, the meat starts generating a wonderful broth that is trapped by the dough skin of the dumpling.

Now eating this wonderful soup bun, there is a method to this dangerous dish.  It not as dangerous as Fugu by far, but if you start munching on this snack right off the bat, you are going to get burned badly in the mouth, ouch.  The best method to learn is probably by a diagram from Joe’s Shanghai‘s website itself that I posted below.

Soup Dumpling Diagram

Step 2 is basically the most important step.  You have to let the broth come out and cool.  Otherwise it be like putting molten lava in your mouth.  As Mr. Alton Brown, would say that is not “Good Eats“.  And all would be not good for the rest of the week.  Just let the broth come out and cool and then you can enjoy the entire dumpling.

Joe's Shanghai

As you sit down, the waiter generally will ask if you want soup dumplings right off the bat and how orders/trays.  Shortly after wards, the soup dumping come out of the kitchen in a bamboo steamer with metal tongs  to extract the dumpling.  Be very gentle as to not break the skin of the dumping, otherwise sadness would ensue and your week will not be great.  I recommend grabbing from the upper portion as it is the thickest in dough.

Joe's Shanghai

Joe's Shanghai

After Step 2, letting out the juice, you let the bun cool and then consume the dumpling and drink the soup.  The pork soup dumpling has a very strong meat flavor.  The texture of the meat was just right and can tell it was not ground too fine or coarse.  The skin was the right thickness, as you don’t want a skin too thin nor a skin too thick and gummy.  The saltiness was just right to the soup and makes your taste buds wanting more.  You can add a slight touch of vinegar and ginger to enhance the dumpling but I recommend it as is.

Joe's Shanghai

The crab meat and pork soup dumpling is nearly identical from the outside.   The crab meat is just naturally slightly more expensive and has a very similar taste to the traditional soup bun.  It has a slight sweetness of the crab crab meat to the dumpling and broth.  The inside of the dumpling is more tender because of the mix.  Overall I like this one also and it is hard to decide which is exactly better, but I lean towards the plain pork dumpling at Joe’s Shanghai.

Joe's Shanghai

Scallion pancake, who can resist this crispy goodness.  At Joe’s Shanghai they make it well, it comes out hot and with thin layers of the flaky pastry.  It is not gummy, mushy, or limp like other places.  The seasoning is well done, but I wish there was more scallions and distributed evenly in the pancake.  That would make it perfect in my opinion.

Joe's Shanghai

Moo-shu pork, always a treat among the burrito loving crowd.  The pork in this dish is very tender.  The cabbage and other vegetables are cooked to the crispiness that screams stir fry.  The vegetables are not raw, but they still have a crunchy textures that gives the dish different textures.  The brown gravy is savory with the right level of saltiness, sweetness and umami.

Joe's Shanghai

The pancake / skins for the moo-shu pork comes out warm and dry. Some place these pancakes come out mushy, gummy, too moist, overly steamed and stuck to each other.  You have to appreciate a place that prepares these pancakes well for you.  This is the base of the moo-shu pork and without the good base, you are asking for moo-shu disaster.

Joe's Shanghai

Hoisin sauce is the base for the moo-shu dish.  You would apply this to the pancake first and then place the veggies and pork, but be careful not to place too much filling.   If you put too much it will break and make a big soggy mess.

Joe's Shanghai

After assembling the moo-shu pork burrito, it should well resemble and burrito for you to enjoy with the sweet and salty flavors.

Joe's Shanghai

Chicken and Plum sauce was tasty.  The chicken was very tender and moist.  The sauce was slightly sweet.

Joe's Shanghai

Chicken and pan fried noodles is a favorite among many.  The noodle are very crispy in a bird’s nest shape, this promotes the perfect base to absorb the sauce from the dish.  The chicken was cut into very thin tender slices of white meat covered in a lite gravy complimented with stir fried vegetables.  Eventually the gravy will overtake the noodles and make them soft, this will create a situation where some of the noodles will be crispy and some will be soft.  This gives the noodles two different textures and taste.

Joe's Shanghai on Urbanspoon

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