Dumpling Inn / Shanghai Saloon - daytime visit
The family was celebrating dual birthdays (Dennis and his sister Lisa) and decided on Dumpling Inn. It used to be a tiny but popular hole in the wall off Convoy Street but they recently moved into the next building (previously a supermarket).
Off to the far left side seemed to be party central because we, along with other large parties, were seated there.
To the right of the entrance was a pick-up or to-go area and smack dab in the center of the restaurant was a bar area, probably the center of their Shanghai Saloon add-on for the afternoon/evening crowds! There were plenty of tables all over the restaurant as well.
We browsed the menu but of course dumplings were a MUST at a dumpling house. This was the Pork Potstickers. You could see the varying seared bottoms though those last two came out too early. The pork filling was reasonably seasoned and the wrappers had a bit of a crisp edge while staying supply.
A waitress came by our table with a similar plate (more sear on that one) but communication seemed difficult, especially when asking what was INSIDE those dumplings. We already had pork so those weren't even ours!
She also brought out Curry Beef Potsticker, which was indeed ours. The beefy filling had a slight hint of curry which was great but the overly fried shell seemed to be an oily turnoff for us. The consensus was that the pork was a little better.
The Xiao Long Bao (XLB) came out in a order of ten but unfortunately, there was BARELY any soup in these small wraps! If I weren't already familiar with how this dish typically looked, I would have been questioning whether this were just some other dumpling variety! Despite the size and soup levels, these turned out to be scrumptious and disappeared fast. Luckily our second order of XLB had a little more soup to it though not at the levels I was hoping for.
We began receiving main courses at this point and got the Saute Shrimp with Garlic Sauce first. Overall, this one reminded us of the sweet and spicy asian sauce but at a notch higher of spice. The battered shrimp inside had some crunch if you ate it right away. It came with minimally cooked broccoli which still had some bite to it.
The Kung Pao Chicken was standard but I did nibble on quite a lot of water chestnuts! The color was almost the same as the meat so it was hard to tell what I was eating before it entered my mouth! This dish was surprisingly less spicy than the saute shrimp dish. At least this meant I had no issues handling the heat level!
I believe this is a Lo Mein with Pork. The noodles were a little oily for my tastes so I didn't try too much of this dish.
After all this food, we realized that the two cups of rice, which came with the first two entrees, wasn't enough for the 8 of us adults! We added a large bowl of rice to our next order!
This was the Orange Chicken which had a really strong, caramelly sweet glaze for me. I heard others say that the chicken pieces were kind of weird tasting so I'm pretty sure we won't be ordering that again!
We also ordered a second Saute Shrimp dish and this one was more toned down in spice which we preferred. I guess some foods aren't consistant yet. We were stuffed silly at this point but managed to finish everything.
I just had to post this cool mural behind the bar area. That guy can JUMP!
Here's more seating, which ranges from lounge couches in the back areas to dining tables everywhere else. This place is HUGE!
We didn't get to sample all that much food but I'm thinking dumplings are obviously the way to go here. Service seems a bit rushed with only a few servers but hopefully they'll figure out the flow of customers soon! We're definitely curious about the Shanghai Saloon part because this component adds craft beer and liquor to the mix! Perhaps we'll be back to check out that vibe!
Dumpling Inn / Shanghai Saloon
4625 Convoy St
San Diego CA 92111