Tucked away on narrow Pell Street, Joe's is pretty much the quintessential New York Chinatown dining experience. There's only the barest stab at decor, you have to wait for a table that you'll share with other parties, and the service is rapid and minimally communicative. The only thing that could possibly distinguish Joe's from a dozen similar joints is the food, and Joe's pulls it off.
The specialty, of course, is soup dumplings (pictured above), which are filled with ground meat swimming in their own little pools of rich, vinegary broth. But their other dishes were also exquisite. We tried the shrimp fried rice cake, which consisted of chewy medallions of sticky pounded rice that was somewhere between a noodle and a dumpling, and bean curd home style, which was exquisitely crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Joe's Shanghai is definitely worthy of return visits!
On our way back to the subway, we stopped for our usual Chinatown desert of egg tarts, this time opting for the Portuguese style, which involves caramelized sugar on top.
I love Chinatown.