Shanghai Kitchen is one of the new restaurants on Las Tunas that lacks in meeting consumer standards.
Written by NELSON LUU / Published July 30, 2010
Last week I visited Shanghai Kitchen, the new restaurant that had quite recently replaced Hanabi.
As I stepped in, I had to wait about a good minute before the waitress noticed that I was there before asking me how many people were in my party in Mandarin. I was sat down, given a pot of tea and a dish of bean sprout salad. As I looked over the menu, I wasn’t surprised to see a large selection of food, but although there was a large selection, there wasn’t anything I haven’t seen before at other Asian restaurants and the prices range from five dollars for items on the dim sum menu to ten dollars for the shrimp dishes. I ordered mabo tofu (a hot and spicy tofu dish), hot and sour soup, and xiao long bao, which are round dumplings filled with meat and broth.
It took a good 15 minutes for the tofu to come out. I was expecting the tofu to have intense flavors but was surprised when the tofu came out in a delicate sauce that had a slightly sweet aftertaste.
The soup came soon after in a large tureen made for group dinners. I didn’t particularly like the soup because it was somewhat watery and bland compared to the thick, spicy and sour flavors that are standard for the dish.
As I waited for the xiao long bao to come, I took a good look around the restaurant. I noticed that patrons at a few other tables seemed to be a bit agitated. The table across from mine had already finished their meal a good five minutes before and seemed to have a lot of trouble getting any of the waitress’ attention. I was soon a part of this demographic as I began to wonder what happened to my dumplings. I tried to get a waitress’ attention but even as one passed by, I still couldn’t get her to notice me. Eventually one caught my attention and asked me if I wanted my check but rushed off before I could even answer. I was finally able to get the inquiry in and was told that it would take another 10 minutes before my dumplings were ready.
By the time it arrived my tea had gotten cold, the tofu and sauce had become a thick, viscous assortment and the soup had gone cold. I was ready to leave and ask the waitress for my check when she promptly ran into the kitchen and came out with the dumplings and a container of vinegar. The dumplings were not steaming hot and I’m not sure what brand the vinegar was but it felt like I was dipping the dish into cheap cognac.
It took them a while to notice me again and when I finally got my check I was frustrated and just wanted to leave. The manager finally realized I was writing notes for a review and as she handed me my check, I could sense she was panicking and trying to make up for the poor service by asking me how my food was and what not.
Overall I didn’t particularly enjoy the meal, not because of the food, but because of the service. I would suggest that Shanghai Kitchen take care to be more attentive towards patrons and check up on them more often during the meal. Perhaps an extra employee can help ease the load during the dinner rush. I also felt that the waitresses were rather cold and should smile more often.
Shanghai Kitchen is located on 9679 Las Tunas Boulevard, across the street from Temple City Park.