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Shanghai specialties are the highlight at this Martha'd up Chinatown spot.

Our Review

Moon Palace specializes in Shanghainese chow. Regional dishes include xiao long bao (soup dumplings), several preparations showcasing eel, and Wine Favorite Soup, a milky broth of white fish and wood-ear mushrooms spiked with alcohol (another marker of a dish from Shanghai). We’d grown wary of beef in Chinese restaurants (so often mushy, so generally sucky), but Five Flavor Beef was a beautiful appetizer, toothsome and dense with flavor, splashed with typically sweet sauce and five-spice seasoning (anise, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and cassia). Sticky rice was also Shanghaied, sculpted into small, sweet plugs, wrapped in pastry skin, and suitable for dunking in a slurry of hot sauce, vinegar, and raw garlic. Our server (apparently a rare Asian Mormon, she had to be vigorously cajoled into bringing us beer) insisted that the pork belly she served was actually the pork shank we ordered; still, the soft, bacony chunks were quite savory amid caramelized lard and hard-boiled egg. Chinatown restaurants frequently have make-do appointments (neon lights, linoleum), but Moon Palace is Martha'd up with wood paneling, tasteful prints on the wall, and a well-stocked bar.

David Hammond

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Price: $$
Payment Type: American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

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