Date of visit: May 13, 2014
I have been to New York many times, but I have never been to Joe's Shanghai before as it was always packed and I did not want to line up. Thus, I put the restaurant on my list as a must try for this trip. We arrived the restaurant around 1pm and was expecting to see a line. However, we were super surprised that there was no line, and we got seated right away. We shared a big table with another party of three; I did not mind it at all and this was sort of expected anyway.
The menu was pretty huge, but we did not bother to order too much stuff as we were thinking of going to Xi'an Famous Foods after having the xiao long bao here. My boyfriend and I ordered an order of Crab Meat with Pork Meat Steamed Buns ($7.95) and an order of Pork Steamed Buns ($5.95).
Service was fast. We received our xiao long bao within 5-10 minutes. I was so surprised to see these huge xiao long bao they were delivered to our table. They looked very different than all the xiao long baos that I have had as they were just way too big.
I tried the Pork Steamed Buns first. They were extremely hot, juicy and packed with soup and meat. What I did not like were the flavor and the skin. I found the flavor was a bit bland and the skin was definitely too thick.
Then I tried the Crab Meat with Pork Meat Steamed Buns. The buns were more yellowish due to the filling. The buns were as hot and juicy as the Pork Steamed Buns, but the flavor was way better. I think I like the the Crab Meat ones more.
I was a bit disappointed, but only with the look of the xiao long bao. While the xiao long bao here was not the best I have had, the flavors were fine. The price was also very reasonable considering how huge the xiao long bao was. I would not call these giant buns authentic xiao long bao, though.
My favorite xiao long bao in North America is probably still the ones from Long's Noodle House.