Its getting confusing with all the restaurants called Chef Zhao around here (There’s a Sichuan Chef Zhao in Mountain View). This one, a new Shanghainese restaurant in the Edgewood Plaza in Palo Alto, is open by the same people as Shanghai Garden in Cupertino. I only ate at Shanghai Garden once and wasn’t planning on a visit until somebody claimed that their XLB was better than DTF’s. So I paid them a visit.
I still haven’t eaten at DTF Valley Fair so my experience this week won’t confirm or refute the claim. We ordered 3 dishes. Xiao long bao, Sheng jian bao, and fried nian gao.
I will compare the XLB to my personal favorite around the peninsula and south bay- Panda. The skin was thinner, and felt like it had more gluten in it. Its also easier to break. The craftsmanship was a bit more haphazard vs Panda’s. The meatball tasted more ‘complicated’ and ‘restaurant-y’ but its not as fresh/ high quality as that of Panda’s, which tasted more homey and simple. The soup was a bit on the salty and one dimensional side. Its ok. $8 for 6.
Sheng jian bao was fine. Same meatball and soup inside as the XLB.
The fried nian gao (rice cake) was recommended to us. We saw the other table with Shanghainese people eating the soup nian gao and asked the waiter. He suggested the fried version instead. Greasy.
Based on the three dishes, quality was comparable to Shanghai Garden in Cupertino, which was ok, but not worth driving far for. The search for the elusive great Shanghainese restaurant continues.