456 SHANGHAI CUISINE
Address: 69 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013
Out of all of the different types of Chinese food, I have to say that Shanghai cuisine is one of my favorites. Although I’m still very partial to young chow fried rice, my absolute favorite dish growing up, I’m also a big fan of eating dumplings. One of Shanghai cuisine’s most notable dishes is the soup dumpling.
In the past year since I visited Shanghai Gourmet in Chinatown, it seemed like the quality had slowly deteriorated. My family’s usual go-to restaurant for Shanghai cuisine was Joe’s Shanghai over on Pell Street, but has started to become extremely crowded after receiving more attention due to newspapers and other publications, including Zagat. You can always count on the food being delicious there and their soup dumplings are really amazing. So, we began to look for an alternative Shanghai restaurant to dine at if Joe’s was crowded or if we wanted to change things up a bit. That is how we came across 456 Shanghai Cuisine.
The soup dumplings, or xiao long bao in Chinese pronunciation, are always something that you should try if you are eating at a Shanghai restaurant. Good soup dumplings will have flavorful meat inside, a good amount of broth, and a thin outer layer that keeps everything together. The xiao long bao at 456 excels in all three of those characteristics, but I still believe that Joe’s Shanghai does it just slightly better. Still, 456 comes in a very close second for me in this regard.
Some of the other dishes that we ordered included pan-fried pork buns, fried fish, scallion pancakes, and tofu skin with beef. The pan-fried pork buns had a nice, crisp bottom and a really soft outer bun layer, with some very flavorful pork on the inside and some juice as well to keep things moist. The fried fish dish was very interesting, because those were done in two ways: the first being a batter infused with elements of seaweed, the second being a fish wrapped in tofu skin and fried to give it a nice crunch.
This was my second time going to the restaurant, and I can say with certainty that dining there both times was very enjoyable. The restaurant is very clean and has sort of a “polished” feel to it. This is a place that I would recommend for people who are looking to broaden their experience of eating Shanghai cuisine, whether it be your first time or your fifteenth time. The prices are very good and you know that you will be getting your money’s worth.
Here are my rankings for 456 Shanghai Cuisine:
Food: 5 / 5
Very delicious take on some traditional Shanghai dishes and good execution on others as well.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
The dining room is a smaller space, so sometimes it does feel a little crowded. But it’s nice, clean, and doesn’t get too loud when you’re at the table with friends or family.
Service: 5 / 5
The food came very quickly out of the kitchen, and our waiter did a great job making sure we had everything we needed as well.
Price: 4.5 / 5
When I looked at our bill for the evening, I was very surprised at the total. Great value for what you pay for.
Overall: 19 / 20 (95%)