Previously, I wrote about Spring Wave in a Shanghainese Showdown but I didn’t write about all the dishes I got at the restaurant that night. It wasn’t fair to compare two restaurants when I ordered a number of other dishes from one of them but not the other, so I saved most of the other dishes for this post.
The small eels with yellow chive, a famous dish in Shanghai was okay. It would have been better if it came to our table sizzling hot instead of just hot. The eels were tender, the sauce sticky and slightly sweet, and the dish was decent but lackluster.
Next was the stir fried eggplant with Chinese string beans. When the BF and I usually go to a Chinese restaurant, we either order the eggplant or the string beans, but I think this is the first time we ordered a dish with the two vegetables together. I don’t know why we didn’t think of this sooner. The eggplant was well cooked, hot, and oily. The string beans were the same. The dish was cooked well, but generic tasting.
We also ordered bean curd sheets with snow cabbage and edamame as an extra vegetarian dish. It’s usually a plain and comforting dish so I didn’t have high expectations for it, but it still managed to disappoint. The snow cabbage wasn’t washed well enough so every bite carried a bit of grit. It was not very appetizing.
I had come to this restaurant on the recommendation of an acquaintance that it had good xiao long baos as well as some unusual versions: vegetarian and spicy. The vegetarian version was a misnomer because it was actually pork and vegetable. The spicy, I didn’t try because I wanted just a classic xiao long bao to start with.
When I took the first bite, I was impressed by the skin. It was thin without being too thin and the top wasn’t too doughy. My dad, pointed out that the tops of each dumpling were too perfect and they were surely machine made. He asked about them to the waiter who confirmed that they just bought them elsewhere. What a disappointment! What kind of Shanghai restaurant doesn’t make their own xiao long baos? I was glad I didn’t order the spicy ones.
We also ordered the braised pork pump, one of my dad’s favorite dishes. This came out fall-off-the-bone tender and jiggling. The taste was good, but the meat was just too fatty — even for pork pump. Maybe it was folly for my dad and me to tackle such a filling, rich dish by ourselves because we ended up taking most of it home in a doggy bag.
I was excited to hear of a new Shanghainese restaurant opening in the area, but I was more excited to see vegetarian xiao long baos. The only place I’d seen it before was in Shanghai. Unfortunately, Spring Wave turned out to be a disappointment. No veggie xlb’s and the food wasn’t that good. Maybe it’s just a case of new-restaurant-itis but I hope they step up their game because they’re not going to last long in such a high-rent plaza if they don’t serve good food.
Spring Wave Restaurant
140 W Valley Blvd San Gabriel