Last Meals: Corner Bistro and Joe Shanghai

On Tuesday I went to Corner Bistro (followed by a visit to the Cubbyhole Bar), and on Friday I went to Joe Shanghai, and yesterday I had a fabulous farewell brunch. It’s been an amazing week of debauchery. I’ll start with the restaurants, and then I’ll tell you about the brunch in a separate post.

Again, I have no pictures because I ate everything too quickly and with friends. Sorry. But I’ll have a picture or two of the brunch!

If my friend hadn’t lived around the corner from Corner Bistro, I don’t know if I would’ve ever gone. Not only is a mug of McSorley‘s $2.50, their bistro burger is legendary. Bacon. Cheese. Burger. Doesn’t seem that difficult to make tasty, but theirs is practically unsurpassed. Kind of like the theory that La Victoria puts crack in their orange sauce, Corner Bistro must coat their stoves in MSG or something. Don’t get me wrong – cheese, grease, bacon, and beer are all beautiful, organically delicious things. But the bistro burger is anything but natural.

There is something almost divine about eating a bistro burger. Sure, I don’t have a PhD in them, but I’ve had my share: Shake Shack, Burger Joint, In-N-Out (don’t even get me started on the fact that Dallas will have In-N-Out but we won’t get Whataburger), and my personal favorite, Jeffrey’s. (I can’t eat Five Guys because I’m allergic to peanuts.) But for NYC, Corner Bistro’s bistro burger is my favorite, hands down. It’s also a great place to go with friends. It’s crowded, it’s loud, and people are drunk.

Joe Shanghai is another place I love going to with friends. In California, I had never heard of soup dumplings, and I’ve still never seen a place that has them. I’ve also never seen a place that has fried rice cakes in the Bay Area. Joe Shanghai introduced me to the fact that Chinese food is different across the United States. Granted, I knew that there were places that served fake Chinese food (like China Star Buffet in Sacramento, which had french fries and frozen yogurt), but never had I seen a place that had such a different yet tasty menu.

At home I can barely find chicken with Chinese sausage or salt fish with ground pork, and I certainly can’t find it here. I can barely find chow fun here, and what I know as “chow mein” at home is called “lo mein” here. But Joe Shanghai has soup dumplings, and they’re ridiculously dank. And they have fried rice cakes with your choice of meat. Sooo tasty. Here’s my recommendation: if you’re from California and want some Chinese food that you’re used to, go to Wo Hop. If you’re from California and you want something different, go to Joe Shanghai.

So that’s my long story about the two restaurants. Now go out there and stimulate the economy!

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