For a good long while, there were only two Shanghainese restaurants in North Jersey (or at least there were only two that people could find): the late, great, China 46, and Petite Soo Chow in Cliffside Park. While I never warmed up to Petite Soo Chow, I almost cried when China 46 closed. It was truly an exceptional restaurant.
I missed those soup dumplings especially, with their delicate, thin skins. Fast forward to 2018, and soup dumplings are everywhere. But, too often they have thick, doughy skins. I'm pleased to report that the soup dumplings at Soup Dumplings Plus in Fort Lee are as good as any I've had. And the rest of the stuff seems tops, too.
We started with an order of Braised Fish Shanghai Style. The server warned me that it was on the bone, which of course is fine with me. I was hoping it would be challenging in some respect. Kinda wish the server would have also noted that it's served cold. Well I wanted something different and I sure got it. The fish is braised in a slightly sweet sauce, and was quite enjoyable if you're into that sort of thing.
Up next was the Pancake with Sliced Beef. Basically a scallion pancake stuffed with beef flavored with Chinese five spice (or similar). Really super, and quite filling.
The soup dumplings, as noted above, were outstanding. Thin skins, that big pork meatball in the middle, oh man. All wonderful. There's black vinegar on the table and they give you a shallow bowl of ginger. Marry those two things and go to town.
One of my favorite Chinese dishes is the simple yet delicious beef with hot peppers. A simple stir-fry of tender beef, some soy sauce, some sugar, maybe some ginger/garlic, and sliced hot peppers. They're summer peppers (summer hot, some not so hot), and add a wonderful, fruity heat. I've been thinking about this dish since we had it.
The menu has pictures of most of the dishes, which is quite helpful. Usually that's a bad sign, but not in cases like these. And it was filled with all sorts of dishes that I wanted to try.
Service was pleasant, with tea being refilled several times. The place was filled at lunch time during the week.
Soup Dumplings Plus is my new go-to for Shanghainese food.
If you go: The entrance is in the mall (no entry from the sidewalk-facing door), and there's a small parking lot below the little mall.
Soup Dumplings Plus : 1550 Lemoine Ave : Fort Lee, NJ : 201.944.0901