Last year, I reviewed Shanghai Dumpling for Metro News and became a converted fan. It's not a perfect place but it was tasty, convenient, and affordable. After Din Tai Fung opened and I had a taste of some better XLB, it reignited my cravings for XLB so I went back to Shanghai Dumpling because I dont' want to deal with the DTF hype.
($6.50) Steamed Pork Soup Dumpling - The soup flavor is nice. The meat inside is tasty but sometimes a bit too hard (overcooked?). The wrapper was not as thin as DTF and a bit too chewy at the top where all the folds meet.
($8.95) Pork chop and rice with vegetable and ham - We needed to order something filling to supplement the dumplings and out came this big portion of rice in an interesting wooden bowl. The pork chops were very good and the rice was bland but together they balanced. Not stupendous in flavor yet very interesting presentation.
($5.95) Mixed bean curd salad - The bean curd noodles were very soft and slightly warm. The seasoning was mild and acidic. I enjoyed this dish and would get it again as a side.
($6.50) Wonton with spicy sauce - I was very impressed with this dish the first time I had it. This second time, there seemed to be too much peanut and peanut sauce. Maybe my standards have risen after the incredible version from DTF, or maybe memory doesn't serve me well. It's still good though and has decent heat.
($5.95) Cucumber with garlic - the cucumber side dish is a must when eatign all these heavy disehs. It helps me cleanse the palate for the next round of dumplings.
OVERALL IMPRESSIONSService was very slow here for no apparent reason. FOH seemed to be staffed ok but we still had to wait at the front. The hostesses/waiters were moving about in a chaotic way and not really communicating with each other about which guest needed what. Aside from that, the food is as I remembered it and is still a good place for XLB in the South Bay for those who aren't on the hunt for extravagant prices and long waits. I went here on a whim but for DTF I made a reservation for next month.