[Update: the owner and chef for this restaurant have changed so their dishes no longer taste the same. Sadly, we don’t like how the flavors have changed (heavier taste) so we probably won’t be visiting as often now.]
I read on someone’s blog that if you post photos first, then you will feel compelled to return (soon) to finish the post.
So I’m trying this out to see if I can pressure myself to post more often…
[Update: this part week turned out to be a really busy week as Noah started daycare (only 1 day a week) while I attended the first MOPS meeting of the year, not to mention relatives visiting from Taiwan. The week ended with us buying a new car (2010 Prius) late Sunday night…so it’s going to take a few days for everyone to recover but let me finish this week first as I don’t actually have that much to say.]
What a difference a week makes for this restaurant! Two Fridays ago when we first ate at Shanghai Tapas and took these photos, very few people had known about the place. We got there around 6 PM and by the time we left around 8 PM, there were still only 2 – 3 other tables (the restaurant fits about 12).
But only a week later, on another Friday night, the place was already 1/2 filled by 6:30 PM and by 8 PM there were no open tables. I don’t know if it’s because of the Mid-Autumn (aka Moon Cake) Festival or because word is getting out (I think they ran an ad/story in the World Journal newspaper sometime this week) but they’re definitely getting enough business now to stay open!
When we first moved to Fremont 2 years ago, we were happy about how the city is full of reasonably priced ethnic foods. We knew that we’d have to drive a little further for good CA-French and more sophisticated options but we took comfort in the fact that Fremont is so culturally diverse. But unfortunately, what we discovered was that overall, people in the community seem to support mostly chain restaurants (the wait at BJ’s Brewery on a Thursday night at 6:30 PM was 2 hours long!) or “value” ethnic restaurants (i.e. 3 dishes for $16). After a few disappointing outings, we ended up sticking to really simple foods when we go out, like pho, In & Out, or even takeout/bentos.
In any case, when Shanghai Tapas opened up near us, I convinced Charlie to give it a try because 1) the yelp reviews seemed okay 2) they offer Xiao Long Bao, which Charlie LOVES and 3) the menu seemed more diverse than the average Chinese restaurant.
Well, that decision turned out to be a good one. Shanghai Tapas isn’t on the same level as places like A&J in Cupertino but so far, the foods we’ve tried have been pretty decent (tasty, not oily or overly seasoned), the service attentive (not true at many popular Chinese eateries) and the facility clean (my mom said it used to be a fish store so I’m guessing that they had to put in all new fixtures).
Most importantly, we were happy to find that the Xiao Long Bao was pretty well-made – the skin-to-filling ratio was good, the steaming done right (no broken wrappers), and the ginger dipping sauce made conscientiously (the ginger was finely julianned, which isn’t true at many other places.) And at the price of $5.95 for 8, definitely a great value.
In fact, mot of the dishes we tried that first time were pretty cheap. The Hot & Soup which easily feeds 5 – 6 people (one bowl each) was only $5.95 as were the Shanghai Style Fried Noodles (the size of 1.5 – 2 normal dishes). The only thing that seemed a little overpriced but only because the other dishes were so cheap was the Red Bean Pan Cake which was a little over $5 and only served 2 – 3.
This second visit, the wait was much longer and it looks like the staff and kitchen will need some time to adjust to the volume of traffic but we’re glad that this means they’re likely to stay in business, especially since we live just 5-min down the street. Now if only they open early in the morning (like 9 AM) so we can go there for a Chinese style breakfast…
Wow, this turned out to be a lengthy post. Bottom line, this restaurant is Charlie and Noah approved.
You can see where Noah gets his “good looks” from…