For almost a decade, we’ve made it a personal challenge to find the culinary high notes within the messy, often-confusing, sometimes godawful, other times brilliant, always shockingly cheap chaos that is the restaurant scene in Manhattan’s Chinatown. And with people like Eddie Huang, Robert Sietsema and Joe DiStefano writing lines and lines about the hits (and some misses)—as well as some advice from the sage Moo-Goo Guru—we’ve been lucky in our quest. For the most part.
This leads to 456 Shanghai Cuisine, a Mott Street storefront recently big-upped in the New York Times by Sam Sifton. It’s not really worthy of being big-upped by the NYT (sorry Sam, miss you already), but it’s a fine enough place serving pan fried buns, a range of soups (watery ham and winter melon; a much better curry broth with rice noodles) and a cold plate that our friend and Shanghainese culinary expert Karen Dee says is a traditional way to start the meal — a combination of “drunken chicken” (marinated in red wine), braised beef loin, tofu and fish — all served cold and best paired with beer or tea. There’s more in this video: