Address: 1 Yueyang Lu, near Dongping Lu 岳阳路1号, 近东平路
Tel: 6431 9700
Prices: 300~350 RMB/person (without wine)
I was eating so much during the week of my birthday that I really should’ve been stuffed beyond limit, but when amazing food is on the agenda, somehow that capacity is hardly ever reached (thank you, my highly elastic stomach). So there I was, sitting at Brad Turley’s Goga at the end of my gluttonous week, eager to try his famed Californian cuisine that has swooned so many of my foodie friends. It’s a small, unpretentious place that can fit perhaps 20 people sitting elbow to elbow. All that crowding does not make a quiet room, but I was looking for a deliciously buzzy evening, and Goga was exactly the place to be.
Before we talk about the food, here are some tips about dining at Goga:
Tip #1: Make a reservation (6:30pm and 8:30pm slots available).
Tip #2: Arrive on time and keep an eye on your watch, as you will really need to clear out by the end of your two-hour slot for the next table of guests.
Tip# 3: Sit at the counter so you can see the kitchen in full action!
The tiny dining room, with the kitchen in the same space
White wine for today
Our meal started off with West Coast Lobster Roll (90 RMB), a buttery brioche sandwiching chunky lobster salad with lemon tarragon aioli – so delicious that I wish I can have this for lunch everyday.
West Coast Lobster Roll, 90 RMB
Atlantic lobster, lemon tarragon aioli, buttery brioche
The waiter then suggested the Torched Tuna Tataki (95 RMB), which isn’t currently on the menu but will be by next month. Beautiful slices of torched tuna were placed amidst a generous splatter of miso soy mustard, then topped with a scattering of furikake dancing across the plate. The wasabi flavor was a too overpowering for me, but if you are a fan of this pungent horseradish, give the torched tuna tataki a try.
Torched Tuna Tataki, 95 RMB
Miso Soy Mustard, Furikake
Next came the Cast-iron Seared Nantucket Scallops (180 RMB), accompanied by perfectly cooked white asparagus, porcini mushrooms, and a lobster champagne nage. Supreme, must order!
Cast-iron Seared Nantucket Scallops, 180 RMB
White asparagus, porcini mushrooms, lobster champagne nage
The S.F. Chinatown Chicken Salad (55 RMB), a sizable heap of mixed greens, grilled chicken, wonton crisps, walnuts, all dressed in a ginger sesame soy, was also very well-received at our table.
S.F. Chinatown Chicken Salad, 55 RMB
Mixed greens, wonton crisps, GoGa mix, walnuts, ginger sesame soy
We then proceeded to order the off-the-menu blue cheese burger. Perfectly toasted sesame bun, tender and juicy beef patty that falls apart easily at the knife (or the teeth), well-seasoned blue cheese sauce, plus one of the best garlic fries I’ve had in Shanghai – what more can you ask for?
Blue Cheese Burger, ??? RMB
Blue Cheese Burger
Blue Cheese Burger with Basil Fries
The waiter then recommended the Goga Spice-Rubbed K.C. Ribeye Steak (375 RMB), which is again not on the menu yet but will be by next month. It arrived tall and gorgeous, sitting atop duck fat roasted potatoes, candied bacon, and horseradish sherry gastrique. Satisfying, but less memorable in comparison to the previous dishes that blew us away.
Goga Spice-Rubbed K.C. Ribeye Steak, 375 RMB
Duck fat roasted potatoes, candied bacon, horseradish sherry gastrique
To finish, we shared a Chocolate Mousse (40 RMB). I’m usually not a big fan of mousse, but the version at Goga is nothing like what I’ve tasted before. The bottom layer, punctuated with crisp cereal bits that added texture to the otherwise smooth and airy dessert, was an especially pleasant surprise. This would be the perfect ending if we didn’t have to clear the table for the diners waiting outside.
Chocolate Mousse, 40 RMB
It’s hard not to fall in love with the bold, flavor-forward food at Goga. Brad seems to be the kind of chef who finds the best ingredients, and then coaxes all the flavors out of them. Goga isn’t for everyone – you WILL smell like the grill after your dinner and you WILL be asked to leave in exactly two hours – but if you are looking for good food and don’t mind paying the price for it, this is where you should be.
Brad in the kitchen
Counter seats, where I’ll definitely be sitting next time