shanghaiThe Good: The food, the atmosphere, the friendly employees
The Bad: No parking or valet, reservations not taken
Rating: Two wings up

Just in time for the students to return to town Shanghai Social Club has opened its doors on Comm Ave in Allston, MA. When I first read about the restaurant in Eater I was a bit skeptical given the location. Most of the restaurants in this neighborhood are a geared towards the college student on a budget. But when I walked in the door last Friday night I was pleasantly surprised. First we were greeted by a man whom I assume is the owner/manager of the restaurant. He was very welcoming as was the hostess who sat us at one of a few open spots – a cozy corner high top table. The waitress quickly came by and suggested we try a flaming scorpion bowl to start out – okay, I guess it is a college neighborhood. As we soaked in the atmosphere I couldn’t help feel like I was in a miniature version of Boston’s Red Lantern restaurant – without the Back Bay attitude. The lighting is dim, the walls covered in what looks like old newsprint and the furniture and fixtures are a deep mahogany.

I’ve been told asian food is meant to be shared and that is what we did. To start we got the Lion’s Head Meatball Steamed Buns. The meat was amazing, I could have eaten a whole meal of this flavorful meat! The bun itself was good but it was a bit too much bun compared to meat for the health conscious version of me. We followed the steamed bun course with the Firecracker Short Rib Noodle Bowl. This turned out to be a giant portion of soup and noodles. The broth and noodles were very tasty. True to the name the short ribs were “fire-crackery” aka spicy hot! For the third course we ordered the Lettuce Cups. While the waitress couldn’t remember what came in the lettuce cups I’m pretty sure it was a very yummy ground chicken. All three dishes were full of excellent flavors and fresh food.

Overall our trip to the Shanghai Social Club was a great experience. The atmosphere was cool and classy, the food was delicious and the staff very friendly and welcoming. The prices were reasonable for the quality of the food and experience. My only complaint is the lack of parking in the neighborhood and there’s no option of valet if you can’t find a street spot.

I will be interested to see how the restaurant does over time – it’s a bit higher scale than other restaurants in the neighborhood and the location may be too out of the way for higher end patrons.