There are very few times I’ve intentionally headed down to Chinatown for a meal, but the majority of those times have hands down been to go to Shanghai Cafe Deluxe. Sometimes I feel like I’ve cheated. I came here on a recommendation from friends years ago and have admittedly never embraced exploring other places. Why risk trying a new place when you know one that’s so good and reasonably priced?
I don’t recommend coming at peak meal times. Those times can be a bit crazy and there’s typically a line. This is a no reservations kind of place, and bigger groups can be tricky to accommodate.
While not the case for most places, we actually come here for something off of the appetizer menu. The standout item here? Soup dumplings – the best in the city. Don’t order that though. Of course, they’re listed as something different. You want the #3. Indulge and go for fried. The slightly crispy exterior makes for a perfect contrast to the fried. Last time we did two orders of these.
Aside from the dumplings, there are pages of the usual suspects. I’m a big fan of their tangerine chicken – slightly crispy with some nice heat, paired with rice. They also have some great veggie dishes, like stir fry broccoli and a nice eggplant dish. This time, we had their sautéed baby shrimp, which was ok – but not something I’d order again.
It was a rare Saturday night where we found ourselves cruising through the East Village in a good friend’s car. We did a very non-Manhattan thing and made a pit stop en route. This time, it was for a sweet treat at Snowdays.
It was hopping around 9pm on this Friday. I was overwhelmed by all of the choices. Not wanting to go too crazy but also not wanting to be downright boring, I gave their “New Yorka” a try – it was their NY cheesecake shaved ice with Nilla wafers and strawberries topped off with whipped cream. A simple, classic combo but so good!
Shanghai Cafe Deluxe – 100 Mott St (b/t Canal & Hester St) – 212.966.3988
Snowdays – 241 East 10th St (b/t 1st & 2nd Aves) – 212.982.8881