This is one I found myself, after reading this review. I love really good, fresh noodles and dumplings so much, it was a no-brainer.
Shanghai Mong, 2006
Here's an awesome little nosh you get before your order arrives. Starting from the top: kimchi (sorta spicy), pickled daikon radish, and what I believe to be pickled sea cucumber. These were so good and made me so happy while I was eating them that I decided to come back before I left NY, so I did two nights later.
This was my main event the first time, a combo with two kinds of noodles: on the left are noodles with black bean sauce (so good, so hard to eat with chopsticks), and on the right is a spicy, spicy soup with noodles and seafood. Both were very good, but I still have one lingering question for people who eat this a lot: how do you eat a shell-on prawn with chopsticks and a spoon? I still haven't figured this out, and I devote considerable time to stuff like this.
A couple of days later my colleague Scott joined me for dinner, so I was able to try some new things on the menu. Before dinner we split a really big plate of steamed dumplings (wonderful, especially since we walked a long way to get them) and a plate of fried shrimp in chili garlic sauce. Luckily we were hungry from a full day of appointments, because this was up next for me:
It's a chicken noodle soup, but it was packed with shiitake and enoki mushrooms, and the broth and aroma were about the most mushroomy thing ever. This is one of those dishes that is so simple, yet so extremely delicious, that all I could do was lower my head and focus on eating, which is pretty easy to do when your view is a tile wall. The center of Shanghai Mong is a fun circular room lined with counters, and there were no tables open either night so I ate in there twice.
Did I mention my check the first night was under $10, and even for the two of us with the appetizers it was about $40? It's decent anywhere and you really can't complain at all in New York, but that fact that it was so consistently excellent was just amazing.