Grand Shanghai

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Image for Sholly

rating star

Atmosphere: 3.0
Decor was average. Cleanliness was average. It was lit a bit too much like a classroom for my taste.

Service: 3.0
The service was attentive, but not particularly friendly or inviting (though not unfriendly, either).

Food: 2.5
The mock-goose had a good texture, but was a bit too mushroomy for my taste. The other dish I ordered, the Vegetarian Delight, was average. The vegetables were fresh and well cooked, but unfortunately the sauce left much to be desired. The portions were ample, but, at least for my main course, I didn't feel like the food was worth the cost.

Image for conde.kedar

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I finally came to Grand Shanghai and was impressed with their unusual menu items, from fried tofu skins to the "8 treasure rice pudding." Their specials board suggested a variety of vegetable stir-frys, though I didn't ask about those. The place was bustling and filled mostly with families eager to set their children on the early road to obesity through $6.99 all-you-can-eat buffets. As such, if you're coming to the restaurant alone or with only one other person, be warned that they'll seat you in a high-traffic and busy area with kids running around and people picking up take-out orders.

I had the mock goose (thick mushrooms wrapped in fried tofu skins and cooked in a wine sauce) and the "tofu skins with Chinese greens." The mock goose is ostensibly an appetizer though, at $7.25, it's quite expensive and the portion size could easily constitute an entire meal. That said, it was delicious. The tofu skins are semi-crunchy and chewy, amazingly all at once, and the mushrooms were delectable. This was a highly unusual dish with tricky and complex textures. It's also one I've never seen before and I've eaten at hundreds of Chinese restaurants.

But my main dish, tofu skins with Chinese greens, was mundane. I asked them to veganize it and the dish they served to me was bok choy and whole soy beans with the tofu skins stir-fried in corn oil. No soy sauce, no chili oil, nothing. It was amazingly bland. Sadly, there was no brown rice option, either. I hate white rice.

However, the tofu skins in this dish were prepared differently---they looked like long, flat egg noodles and were super-thin (only a special machine could slice tofu than thinly). The consistency of the tofu skins also reminded me heavily of high-grade cheese. With a little bit of nutritional yeast we could have the perfect mozzarella substitute.

Also, with a more creative chef, these tofu skins could become the backbone of many a delicious dish (here's hoping Evergreen will start using them).

Grand Shanghai is a cut above the average Chinese restaurant and offers unusual dishes with delicious tofu skins. But their vegetarian selection seems bland, excepting the mock goose. I would recommend this place if you're in St. Paul; otherwise, stick to Evergreen in Minneapolis.

Image for Unny Nambudiripad

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The food here was creative and very tasty, the service was good besides that they were slow in getting us rice.

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I had some veg egg-rolls and also had a lo mein dish at this restaurant and it made me ill. The food was too greasy and the restaurant itself was not very clean. The carpets had food particles on it and some of the tables were left with dirty dishes on them. It seemed like they did not have control of the dining room. I will never eat there again.

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I would give this place a better rating if the service had been better. The place was sort of busy when we arrived, but it seems like by the time we ordered most people had cleared out, but it took a long time for our food to come. The steamed dumplings were pretty good - but the momos at Everest on Grand are way better. The mock duck with broccoli and peapods was just like any other basic mock duck dish at any other chinese restaurant, so I wasn't too impressed. My husband ordered the greens and tofu skins which he enjoyed but it looked awfully bland to me (I didn't try it though, so technically, I should not be knocking it).

I would go again, but this time I would try something that sounds a little more exotic to see if the place has any distinguishing dishes. As of now, it doesn't stand out from any other average chinese place I've been to.

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They have good dumplings, mock goose, and fresh greens.

An order of veggie dumplings is typically good for 2 people. The mock goose is very rich and very satisfying. It is black mushroom wrapped in crispy fried tofu skins. The texture is excellent, and doesn't have the fake plastic feel of a dish trying to be too much like meat. It is a very good dish, with a name that doesn't do it justic. This tastes way better than any "real goose."

Image for Dave Rolsky

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This is one of the best veg*n-friendly Chinese places in the Twin Cities. My wife, who is Taiwanese, concurs, which is a good recommendation, especially given my wife's love of food.

Good vegan choices include vegetarian dumplings (real fresh-made wrappers with no eggs), mock goose (fried tofu skin and mushrooms in a wine sauce), tofu/mock duck with black bean sauce, and tofu skins with Chinese greens. There are a number of other vegan choices on the menu as well.

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