October 17, 2011
Joe’s Shanghai (above) and Red Farm (below).
In my RedFarm post last week, I called chef Joe Ng’s steamed pork and crab soup dumpling the best in Manhattan. Stacy, a commenter on the post, asked how RedFarm’s version compares to Joe’s Shanghai, which many consider the finest steamed soup dumpling on the island. After a Thursday night trip to Joe’s Pell Street location at the height of dinner time – the same day and time I ate at RedFarm – the verdict is in: RedFarm’s steamed pork and crab soup dumplings (4 for $10) are far superior to Joe’s Shanghai (8 for $7.60). It’s no surprise considering one is the product of an artist, the other, of a factory. Chef Ng’s soup dumplings featured a broth layered with flavor inside a perfectly steamed skin, delicate without rupturing upon removal from the steam basket. The Joe’s Shanghai soup dumplings arrived hastily, with several already ruptured; gummy, oversteamed skins wading in a pool of pork and crab broth. My final dumpling was fully intact, but the result was lackluster; the room temperature broth mildly fishy and a little funky. Upon finishing this final bite and taking one last sip of Tsingtao, my friend and I were asked to leave and make room for more patrons. It’s obvious that Joe’s Shanghai is more concerned with turning tables than maintaining their reputation. Forget the fact that Joe’s Shanghai offers better value, leave it for the tourists and go find Chef Ng at RedFarm in the West Village. Tell him NYC Food Guy sent you.
Joe’s Shanghai 9 Pell Street b/t Doyers Street and Bowery Link Open 11am-11pm Daily (212) 233-8888
RedFarm Link 529 Hudson Street near Charles Street, New York, NY 10014 Open Daily 5:30pm-Midnight (212) 792-9700