136-21 37th Avenue
Flushing, NY 11354
 (718) 539-3838

Flushing. I seem to be eating there a lot lately, but I had yet to go there for the real reason Flushing was built in the first place. Soup dumplings. Yup. Who'd'a thunk? And for soup dumplings did Pike and I go to Joe's Shanghai. It turns out, that's the best reason. They have a full menu with dozens of non-soup dumpling offerings, but I wouldn't bother. Why do I say that? Because I bothered.

Like many Chinese restaurants that are "authentic", the interior of Joe's Shanghai is spartan. Tables, chairs, hustle and bustle... there's probably even one of those waving cat things in a corner somewhere. Clearly, at no point in time did the owner even consider hiring an interior designer. Why would they? The competition didn't. Pike and I drove and parked in the garage across the street. Five bucks. It's literally less expensive that taking the bus. We were given a table, the waiter tossed us a few menus, and ran off to get yelled at.

Of course, the first thing we did was order the Crab Dumplings and the Pork Dumplings, like literally every other table did. They're steamed and boiling hot and delicious. "Can you tell the difference between these?" Pike asked. I could, but just barely. They were painfully similar, thanks in large part to the seasoned broth, but the pork was a bit more neutral, a bit less seafoody, a bit more savory. That isn't to say that I was disappointed with the crab option, but if it came down to the two, I'd choose the pork.

As an additional appetizer, I ordered the Hong Kong Style Hot and Sour Soup. To this day, the best hot and sour soup I can remember is from Vegetarian Dim Sum House in Chinatown. The runner up is the takeout place around the corner from me. Joe's Shanghai's variant was somewhere further down the rankings, but was pretty good overall. I've definitely had worse. I think that come winter, I'd like to return and get it again. Pike ordered the Scallion Pancakes and they were extremely disappointing. Tasteless, far too crispy, and drenched in oil. Grease toast would be an accurate description.

Pike's entree was the Sauteed Shrimp and Hunan Pork. This Chinese surf-and-turf was both hit and miss. The hit part was the pork. It was rich and thick and quite good. The miss was the shrimp, which had almost no flavor at all comparatively. Serving it with peas and steamed broccoli didn't pump up the wow factor either. I ordered the Szechuan Beef with Bean Curd. Basically, this was shredded beef in a thick gravy with huge slabs of tofu. It wasn't what I expected, but they didn't skimp on the portions. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I took the vast majority of it home for dinner the next day and found that it tasted better eaten cold with a beer on my sofa.

Well, I enjoyed Joe's Shanghai, and I'm sure as hell coming back this winter for the dumplings, but the rest of the food was lackluster, if not disappointing. "No one ever came here for the regular menu" Pike quipped as we walked out and headed back to the garage.

Appetizers at Joe's Shanghai range from $3 to $8. Entrees average $14 and can easily be split.

Joe's Shanghai Resturant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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