Monday, March 24, 2008

Shanghai Garden

524 6th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 625-1689

Went to the Shanghai Garden in the International District for some noodle sasification.

The atmosphere was spacious and included a large fish tank and windows in angular frames that made looking out onto the street feel like a peep from a submarine.

The menu was large, and included many varieties of home made noodles including mung bean and barleygreen. There was a reasonably large section of the menu (maybe a dozen items) devoted to tofu, and plenty of vegetarian vegetable dishes.

We ordered the Barleygreen hand shaved noodles with vegis, and the Crispy Bean Curd in Szechuan sauce.

The barleygreen noodles, described on the menu as "High Nutrition, increases potassium, amino acids, chlorophyll, and lowers blood pressure," came to the table glistening with the thick, rough cut, slightly twisted promise of chewy goodness. They were lightly coated in what tasted like a soy based sauce, and sauteed with carrot, water chestnuts, snap peas, onion and a couple different types of mushroom. Plus, they were a festive light green, perfectly in step with the pastels of spring.
I very much enjoyed the noodles... it's hard not to love home-made Chinese noodles... and these certainly fit the bill. At times I thought I was perhaps tasting a little hit of flavor from the barleygrass, but I'm not sure if I was imagining things. I would love to do a blind taste test and check it out sometime.
The Szechuan tofu (I still seem to be on a quest to get this satisfied, to the exclusion of other Chinese options) was good too, though still sweeter than I like. It came with broccoli and bell pepper and snap peas all mixed up with the tofu chunks (more in a minute) in a garlicky, slightly spicy sauce. The sweetness, the bane of the Szechuan sauce in my humble opinion, was present, but somehow less offensive given the complexity of the other flavours involved. I enjoyed the sauce as it was up until the very end, at which point the sweetness became overwhelming.
The star of this dish was the tofu, which really was a treat. It appeared to be quickly fried, such that only the outside formed a crispy browned layer, too thin to be called a skin, even. And the inside was so silken it was creamy, almost like a custard.

I'm glad to have discovered this place as a tasty and vegetarian friendly source of Chinese noodles. Will indeed go back for more.
Shanghai Garden in Seattle

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