When asked about my favorite C&C dinner, it definitely would have to be our first dinner at Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen in Richmond. This restaurant really was the perfect setting for our first dining adventure. It may be a hole in a wall kind of restaurant. But while it does not have the fancy decor or setting that Dinesty Chinese Restaurant or Shanghai River (also in Richmond) have to offer, their food… well, it’s amazing. Let’s just say, it wasn’t at all difficult to take good photos of their dishes. Prepare. To. Drool.
For snacks and appies we ordered pig ears, spicy green beans and the hot and sour soup. Now, I usually feel bad ordering hot and sour soup when going to restaurants. It’s just a soup and usually isn’t anything fancy. But with Cam there, I had a fellow fan. The soup took a while to come out but when it did, it was hit with the entire group. It tasted freshly made, with tons of chilis and hearty ingredients.
It may seem silly when sharing dishes, but we ended up ordering three different soup noodle dishes to share. These were ordered by Phoebe, so excuse me as I have no recollection of what they are called. All I do remember is that the last noodle dish in the series had an amazing broth. It was very light, but something about that broth really made it stand out. If I could remember the name of the dish, I’d recommend it!
I’ve made a habit of trying the spicy won tons at each Shanghainese restaurant I’ve been eating at. I don’t recall this one being as memorable as the one at Din Tai Fung in Seattle.
But what were we really there for?? C&C started over a single soup dumpling photo taken by Brian. With enough drooling over his photos, we quested out to find some good soup dumplings worthy of a photo op. Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen definitely did not disappoint.
These dumplings were huge. And it’s not because they were just bigger that the usual soup dumplings we’re use to seeing, but because they were bursting with soup! Each dumpling probably had enough soup to fill your soup spoon (I may be exaggerating, but I remember being pretty impressed). How do they do it? It puzzles me. But to make it possible, it seems they had to make the skin a bit thicker than the skin you get at Din Tai Fung. This may throw some soup dumpling fans off, but I didn’t mind it.
Needless to say, the soup dumplings were a hit. So much so that we are still raving about them! I would even say that they are my favorite soup dumplings in town.
Finishing off our meals, we ordered the deep fried buns with condensed milk. I never had these delights before that dinner but I was left with a pretty good impression. The downside to this is now when ever I order these anywhere else, I expect them to be of Chen’s level. Delicious.
Overall:With a group of 7 people, we were given a large round table with a lazy susan (those round spinny things at Chinese restaurants). Our tea pots were constantly refilled, even AFTER we paid the bill. And we sat there for quite a while after our meal just chatting and were never rushed to leave. It definitely is a great place for a group dinner, in a setting that wasn't too loud or busy. And to add, the food was amazing (if you couldn't already tell from the photos). WE highly recommend this restaurant, and will be returning soon.
*Our scoring system is out of 5. With 5 being the highest score.