Since opening in January, Shanghai Taste has quickly become one of the most popular spots in Chinatown, with many diners gushing about the eatery’s marquee dish, xiao long bao.
The handmade soup dumplings feature pork meatballs and savory broth ($10) sealed inside delicate dumpling wrappers. (A crab version costs $14.) Some technique is required to eat them. The advice here: Place a single dumpling in a soup spoon, bite a small opening at the top, then slowly slurp up the broth (but be careful—it’s hot!). Then grab the nibbled dumpling with chopsticks and pop it in your mouth. It’s a satisfying bite that you’ll quickly want to replicate. Luckily, each order comes with eight delightful packets, so you’ll get plenty of practice.
Located in Shanghai Plaza, Shanghai Taste is the creation of Jimmy Li and Joe Muscaglione, restaurateurs who drew fervent fans at their previous Vegas venture, the now-shuttered Niu-Gu. In their new enterprise, the business partners continue to plate some of the finest Chinese cuisine in town.
Sheng jian ($8), the pan-fried version of xiao long bao, available in shrimp, mahi-mahi and veggie styles, is another highlight. Demo windows give guests a look at how the dumplings are assembled, an involved process that displays an impressive level of dexterity. Other Shanghainese specialties include appetizers like scallion pancakes ($4) and stacks of sweet-and-sour pork ribs ($8). (It’s worth noting that the ribs are prepared the traditional Shanghainese way, meaning they’re served at room temperature.)
Noodles are a big draw, too, like the spicy Shanghai beef soup with abundant cabbage ($13) and the pan-fried fat noodles ($13), served in mushroom, chicken, pork or beef versions, plus a shrimp upgrade. The delectably lacquered thick strings are enhanced with fragrant Shaoxing wine—a fermented rice beverage—and first-timers expecting overtly umami soy notes might be surprised by the entree’s piquant, vinegar-forward flavor profile.
They’re excellent introductions to Shanghai Taste, where even more wonders—like cold-sliced ox tongue ($8), steamed wheat gluten ($7), braised duck ($13) and sausage-and-greens fried rice ($11)—await.
SHANGHAI TASTE 4266 Spring Mountain Road #104, 702-570-6363. Daily, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5-9 p.m.