456 Shanghai Cuisine

It’s surprising to walk into a Chinese restaurant on Mott Street and not find it filled with large round tables topped with lazy Susans. But it’s a pleasant discovery at 456 Shanghai, where you’re more likely to get a two-top than a communal table with tourists using knives to eat their xiao long bao. Speaking of those Shanghainese soup dumplings, they’re a must-order here. Choose from pork or a funky pork-crab-meat version. Either way you’ll be receive eight, smallish thin-skinned beauties. Don’t trade them in for an order of Fried Tiny Buns, a similar dish where the chewy wrappers are replaced with puffy bao clouds that are topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and grounded with a good crunchy sear on their bottoms---It’s imperative to order both. Cold sesame noodles are glossed with a peanut-sesame sauce that’s well balanced with a vinegar-y bite. Grab a couple of dishes for the table to share by honing in on the Chef Specialties section of the menu. There you’ll find Spicy Tai-Chien Chicken that’s littered with chunks of meaty, smoked mushrooms and Steak Chinese Style, an unctuous plate of brown gravy sauced meat that’s fork-tender. There’s no dessert here, leaving you with two choices – head back to the dim sum menu for an order of red bean stuffed pancakes… or sprint around the corner to the Chinatown Ice Cream factory – quick, before it closes for the night. — Lauren Bloomberg

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