Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shanghai Bistro - Stillwater

Visited on Sunday, September 11th

Shanghai Bistro

Erin's Review
So, as some of you may have guessed by the lack of posts here for a long time, or knew if you read my other blog or follow me on twitter, I am pregnant! And haven't really wanted to go out to eat to any new or exciting restaurants for awhile. At nearly 4 months pregnant, I'm just now starting to get my appetite back, so hopefully we can resume more regular posting... I'd been bugging Ben for a date since we went to the U2 concert, and finally we got it arranged - decided on an weekend afternoon so hopefully I wouldn't be as tired.

I got a few recommendations of restaurants from people on twitter - one was Shanghai Bistro. I'd been craving sushi for awhile, so that was my choice. I had pretty good luck when we went to Ronin during my first pregnancy with cooked sushi and them being accommodating about altering rolls, so I was hoping this would be the same.

When we got there, we discovered that this was the same location as the former Stones, which we'd been to a couple times. It appeared that they'd changed absolutely nothing about the patio - I even recognized the same furniture. It's a nice patio, so it's not like they needed to change much. There were tons of open spots on the patio - kind of odd for a nice weekend night. I think most people maybe want a view of the river? The inside was totally empty and dark.

Inside Shanghai Bistro

Patio

We were seated immediately, and our server came out and took our drink order. I said I wanted something fruity and non-alcoholic and explained I am pregnant, and she recommended a fruity blended drink that was pretty tasty. I'm not sure what it was as it isn't on the menu online, but it involved coconut and strawberry. We also immediately ordered crab rangoons, which I loved but may have ruined my appetite for my meal. The bees DEFINITELY loved my drink - thankfully the garnish served as a way to keep them away.

Lava drink

Bee keeper

Crab rangoons

I explained to the server that I could only have cooked sushi rolls and asked if they could make any substitutions for me. She seemed wary - and helpfully let me know that she has been told that pregnant women can have 6oz of raw fish a week. Whatever, lady. I'm certainly not about to take that risk at some random sushi restaurant in Stillwater, and I'm NOT taking pregnancy advice on what I can eat from a 20 year old. Whatever. So I said that I wasn't comfortable with that and would only be eating cooked fish. Then I asked if the California Roll was cooked - she said no. I said... are you sure? (because I know it is at every place I've ever been) and she said she would check. She came back, informed me they could bake any roll for me, and had forgotten to ask about the California Roll. I made her go back, and she found out that yes, indeed, it is cooked. So I got that, along with one roll with eel and shrimp tempura where they were willing to remove the one additional raw fish from the roll. So a lot of fiasco for not anything THAT exciting.

Red Dragon Roll and California Roll

Once I actually got the sushi, it was pretty good, although the California Roll seemed a bit lacking - just the crab and avocado. It seemed most other places have a bit more going on. The other roll (Red Dragon) was quite good, but fell apart really easily. This was where I really could tell how much my appetite has gone down - normally I could down these 2 rolls no problem, but I could barely finish half and nearly had to run for the nearest trash can when I had one too many rolls after I was full. Not my finest moment, but thanks to a jolly rancher, I was once again good to go.

After that, I was pretty much done and completely full. We had intended to check out Nelson's Ice Cream after dinner but I couldn't even fathom having room in my stomach for that! Next time for sure. I've yet to go to a restaurant in Stillwater that really wowed me... this one was fine, but nothing special. Next time I plan to try dock cafe, which was also recommended.

Ben's Review
Since we hadn’t really been out without Annie since the U2 concert in July, we arranged to have Erin’s sister Liz watch Annie on Sunday evening while we went to spend a couple hours in Stillwater.

Erin got a couple recommendations of restaurants in Stillwater and decided on Shanghai Bistro as she was wanting some sushi (of the non-raw fish variety). We arrived in Stillwater a little after 4, with plans to walk around Main St. until dinnertime. We happened to park right in front of the restaurant, and it turns out we had been there a couple years earlier when it was called Stones.

We made our way back to the restaurant around 6 and easily got a table on the patio. I had seen earlier that there was a band that would be playing so I made sure we sat on the other side of the patio so it wouldn’t annoy me. Little did I know that it was just two dudes playing acoustic covers of some awesome songs. I heard some CSNY, Oasis, Billy Joel, Tom Petty, amongst the sweet cover songs they played. For ONCE I was actually enjoying the live music at a restaurant!

Patio

I saw the cucumber martini that sounded good and ordered that while Erin quickly ordered the crab rangoons with no hesitation. Shanghai Bistro has some standard Asian food and I was tempted to get my all time fave (but very boring) sesame chicken. At the last minute, I decided to go with the moo shu pork, but was then stymied by the fact that they were out of the batter for the stupid pancakes! With nothing to fall back on I got the sesame chicken :(

The martini and crab rangoons were both good. The martini definitely had something extra like simple syrup or something, because it was incredibly sweet; nothing like the pleasant face slap of cold vodka that I was expecting. For $10 I expect nothing to be watered down, especially with sugar. I don’t mind a little liver damage, but I will not tolerate extra sugar in my diet.

Cucumber Martini

After Erin’s deliberations with our server about her sushi, our food came out after a few minutes. I got a hearty sized bowl of breaded and fried chicken along with a separate bowl of rice. Our server even brought out some chili oil and sriracha for me to jazz it up a bit, which I appreciated.

Spice

The sesame chicken was everything you expect and demand - all white meat chicken, breaded and fried with a little sesame sauce. It was certainly better than typical delivery places in the cities, but nothing spectacular. For $10 it fit the bill. I ate nearly all of it, as that stuff doesn’t do well for lunches the next day. I also finished off my meal with a dessert cocktail of an old fashioned, which oddly enough tasted to have less simple syrup than my martini, go figure.

Sesame Chicken

Old fashioned

Service: Eh, this was just ok. Erin had to have some back and forth about the sushi and then she was even telling Erin how much fish a pregnant woman could have. As if she was going to take any pregnancy advice from our server.
Food: The food was good, but nothing special.
Drinks: Decent beer and wine list, with a full bar. Avoid the specialty martinis.
Ambiance: Awesome cover band and a chill patio crowd on a Sunday night. There were actually a lot of children and families.
Convenience: Shanghai Bistro is right on Main St in Stillwater. We even got a parking spot right out front.

Deets
324 Main Street
Stillwater

6 comments:

Sarah said...

pregnancy advice from a random waitress?! i can't believe you didn't trust her! ;)

i work in stillwater and have been meaning to get down to shanghai bistro for lunch one of these days! i have been to dock cafe a couple times--my experiences with the food haven't been that impressive, but the location is awesome. it's definitely on the outskirts of town, but i think the best place in stillwater for dinner (if you like greek food) is phil's tara hideaway. they were featured on heavy table a few months ago.
http://heavytable.com/phil-barbatsis-of-phils-tara-hideaway/

Ashley said...

Congrats on the pregnancy! I love wandering Stillwater on weekend afternoons so we will have to give this place a try . . . although I'll avoid asking the waitress for advice :)

maria120 said...

I love the patio at the Stillwater Shanghai Bistro, but have not been there yet. We didn't have the best experience at the one in Hudson and I've been wary to try it. If you like Mexican food I highly recommend Nacho Mama's. I think it's right across the street from Shanghai Bistro and is yummy!

Victoria said...

Shanghai is exactly how you described it: meh. I swear, that location it cursed. FOR SURE check out Phil's Tara Hideaway! It's a good place for dates (see: super small dining area and not entire kiddo friendly), but expect a wait if you go on a weekend. I prefer it to the Dock Cafe. Hope to see another Stillwater review from you guys :)

delta said...

Been to S.B. several times over the last couple years with mixed results in both food and service. Love the patio, especially on a night that isn't full of bugs. Just beautiful.

Definitely try Marx wine bar and fusion restaurant in Stillwater. Several family members and I have been there specifically for birthdays and other events in our lives. Our impressions have ranged from great to blown away. I once considered enduring the shame and public scrutiny of having my behavior publicized online because I wanted to lick my plate clean after having the walleye dumplings appetizer. The accompanying sauce was absolutely captivating.

Anonymous said...

We have frequented the Shanghai Bistro in Hudson, WI the food has always been excellent ( no sushi though) and the wait staff has been
friendly and accommodating. The casual atmosphere at times led to the staff carrying on lengthier conversations with each other and missing ques from the patrons ......but nothing serious ( something to keep in mind wait staff)
. All in all enjoyable. Off to the Stillwater
location tonight.