Sometimes when a restaurant has great reviews, everyone blogs it, etc etc, I get overpumped. My expectations are entirely too high, even unreasonably high. But two recent visits to Ala Shanghai were really informative. I can--and will--bring most of my visitors here. Maybe not on their first visit, but eventually. According to T, Ala Shanghai has American-friendly Chinese dishes that taste better than they do most other places, but also some authentic traditional foods.
Even though I had my real camera at our second outing, I spared our guests my invasiveness. Also, we were really hungry. Enjoy my iPhone pics below.
Cold sesame noodles--for some reason I was feeling noodley, which is way more J-like than me-like. He happily agreed to ordering this app.
We also got the soup dumplings. I wish that Ala Shanghai made soup dumplings with chicken and also a veggie version for my pork-averse and vegetarian friends. I'd never eaten soup dumplings before (gasp!) and there's something really awesome about biting into a delicious dumpling and having yummy hot soup come out. We aren't that good at the keep-it-on-the-spoon-and-take-a-bite method (please see Joe Shanghai's web site for instructions and a cartoon), so we put the whole dumpling in our mouths and then sort of bite carefully. A quick bite will cause hot soup to shoot into your throat, which can cause choking and discomfort.
I don't even dip them in anything. I could eat an order of these as my entree. [Or two.]
The Peking duck at Ala is a lovely production. Instead of dinky flat pancakes you get these pillowy steamed pockets of joy. As is common, the duck is sliced before us, but here the sandwich is also assembled with sauce and crunchy veggies.
On our first visit we got soup dumplings, sesame noodles, Peking duck, and sesame beef for two people. We didn't touch the beef, and ended up enjoying it for lunch or dinner the next day.
The second time we brought two friends and got the dumplings, Singapore rice noodles, Peking duck, baby bok choy with mushrooms, and sesame chicken. Everything was delicious, we ate it all, and the bill worked out to about $15 per person including tax and tip. In-cray-ab-lay.
Ala Shanghai is also good for a bit of a larger group--they have some bigger round tables for a group of 6-8, and the taste, price, and free tea will please crowds of all ages.
468 Troy Schenectady Road
They take reservations! 518-783-8188