I wanted to keep this to myself and not share with anyone, but the owners of 456 Shanghai are the shit. So, here you go. Officially, the best soup dumplings in Manhattan. Bar none. Please don't tell your obnoxious friends, don't come poking and prodding, just enjoy it.
I spoke to David Liu. Him and his daughter had been to baohaus before and David had a Taiwanese restaurant on Pell decades ago. There was also an original 456 on East Broadway that was owned by one of the owners' grandparents. 456 specializes in Shanghai cuisine obviously so go with the whole fish, lion's head meatballs, soup dumplings, turnip pastry, and cold appetizers. For stir fry, try bean curd, pork, hot pepper stir fry. Shanghai Cuisine still does eel and yellow leek stir fry better and the clear broth lion's head, but different strokes. All depends on what you're craving.
I enjoyed the review of Bar Basque so much today, that I want to be Sifton for a day... Here's my attempt:
The soup dumplings are ethereal. Shanghainese by nature, yet, decidedly Taiwanese by nurture. Reminiscent of Taipei's Din Tai Fung, 456 understands that less is more. Contrasting the clown college of Soup Dumplings one block over - Joe's Shanghai - where the bridge and tunnel soup dumpling is served, 456 delivers a one bite, clean, minimalist dumpling with slick skin. The soup made of pork bone stock is a sniper shot. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. If an over sized soup dumpling with your mother's kitchen bouquet is your bag, this isn't your joint. But if it's precision that you seek, by all means, run to 456 in your Air Siftons (new balance).
69 Mott (between Bayard St. and Canal)
Atmosphere: Chinese Banquet meets Convention Center Conference room. If the convention involves pokemon, it's the same crowd.
Sound Level: I could faintly hear wong fei hong's theme song, but it didn't move the chinese broccoli.
Recommended Dishes: Soup Dumplings, turnip pastry, any of the whole fish
Wine List: Great Wall Wine '96 might be the only bad '96 ever produced
Ok, I'm running out of gas. Being Sifton is fucking hard. Back to being Eddie Huang...
Wheelchair Access: Chick in the wheelchair could definitely get it. I grant her access.