Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Shanghai] Old Jesse 吉士酒家

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Old Jesse 吉士酒家

Add: 41 Tianping Lu, near Huaihai Xi Lu 天平路41号, 近淮海西路
Tel: 6282 9260
Hours: 11-12am
Price: 100~150 RMB/person
Visited: Aug 2011

Old Jesse needs no introduction. This cramped little place is widely recognized as the best Shanghainese restaurant in Shanghai, and is my usual go to place when out-of-town guests ask for some local flavors. Reservations absolutely necessary.

Old Jesse has a page of “recommended dishes”, and it’s pretty safe to order anything from this page. For appetizers, we tried mixed mushroom with bean curd sheet 腐竹熗蘑菇 (38 RMB) and Jishi’s salted chicken 吉士鹹雞 (38 RMB), both excellent choices. Dates stuffed with glutinous rice 心太軟 (18 RMB) is another Shanghai classic not to be missed.

Jishi’s salted chicken 吉士鹹雞 (38 RMB).

Dates stuffed with glutinous rice 心太軟 (18 RMB).

Old Jesse is especially famous for its braised pork in brown sauce 外婆紅燒肉 (58 RMB), and though tonight’s pot seemed overly sweet, they usually do an excellent job. The key is that satisfying layer of fat, perfectly braised to a chewy and gelatinous consistency. Bowls of rice can be easily polished off with a few pieces of these hongshaorou.

I always order a bowl of vegetable rice 菜飯 (6 RMB) to go along with the braised pork, though you can also choose regular white rice (2 RMB).

A simple dish of stir-fried pea shoots in white wine 酒香豆苗 (28 RMB), tender as if freshly picked that morning.

I was a little worried when ordering crabmeat with bean curd 蟹粉粉皮 (128 RMB) since it’s currently not the prime season for crab roe, but the dish turned out to be our favorite of the night. Don’t forget to add a dash of the accompanying black vinegar to cut back the greasiness and for a more layered flavor.

Fried mandarin with preserved cabbage 梅乾菜桂魚 (120RMB/half kilo, or around 130 RMB/fish) is a popular dish at Old Jesse, but to me the sauce is too heavy and completely overpowers the fish.

A few other great dishes that we had no room for are roasted fish head with scallion 蔥香魚頭 (158 RMB, pre-ordering necessary), Subei Chicken Soup 蘇北土雞湯 (148 RMB), braised pig’s trotters in eight treasures 八寶豬手 (88 RMB/each, pre-ordering necessary), etc. etc. etc. Come hungry.

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Written by sugarednspiced

August 7th, 2011 at 8:35 am