Shanghai Lee: R.I.P.

October 15, 2007 by
Filed under: Area 51 

Shanghi Lee Small

I saw the above notice in the window of Shanghai Lee last week as I was running errands. I’ll be upfront: I never ate at this restaurant. My husband and I talked about doing so once. While standing right in front of Shanghai Lee, no less. The deal breaker was when we saw three men wrangle an enormous barrel of MSG out of the back of a truck and into the basement of this establishment.

Will this become a second Chinese Musician restaurant? I honestly don’t know. I will say the Chinese Musician is the only Chinese restaurant I will patronize in Greenpoint. Their soups are pretty tasty and if the they use MSG, they are a lot more low key about it.

In (semi) related news Ton Kao II, the latest Thai restaurant to grace the Garden Spot, has learned a very valuable lesson about operating a business here.


You do NOT put out a sandwich board advertising free beer in a neighborhood renowned for the copious consumption of alcoholic beverages. The above sign dates from October 7, 2007. In the last seven days I have watched it evolve. Their 2.0 version read: “Free beer with dinner purchase.” This too, proved to be flawed, as I learned last Saturday, October 13. This is when I heard one of their many* barkers handing out menus exclaim:

You get ONE free beer with dinner purchase!

As for the signage, they 86ed the free beer ad copy all together.

Lunch Special

I tried one of their soups last week: lemon grass. It was a tad too salty for my taste. Come to think of it, a beer would have washed it down very nicely.

Miss Heather

*I cannot walk to Greenpoint Avenue without being assailed by three different people shilling their menus. Very annoying.


7 Comments on Shanghai Lee: R.I.P.

  1. Rebecca11222 on Mon, 15th Oct 2007 10:25 am
  2. Shanghai Lee was pretty bad. Chinese Musician is worse. I think you have to go to Manhattan for good Chinese food.

  3. missheather on Mon, 15th Oct 2007 11:40 am
  4. I respectfully beg to differ: try their tofu and vegetable soup. It’s pretty nice, especially when it’s crisp out (like today).

    That said, I prefer Szechuan… and I have to go to Canal Street to get that. 😉

  5. Rebecca11222 on Mon, 15th Oct 2007 4:13 pm
  6. I will have to give it a try. I also prefer Szechuan…I am sure there are good places in Queens, but with the transportation around here, Canal ST usually is closer.

  7. Matthew on Mon, 15th Oct 2007 9:48 pm
  8. Those fucking Thai menus are EVERYWHERE. They’ve littered my buildings lobby, they’ve littered my block, they’ve littered all of upper Manhattan Avenue!

  9. missheather on Mon, 15th Oct 2007 9:52 pm
  10. When I came home today I found some jammed in the front door of my building. Fucking ridiculous. And wasteful.

  11. deadzebra on Tue, 16th Oct 2007 9:26 am
  12. Today the signboard says:


    *one per person
    (this part is obviously tiny)

  13. HannerHearse on Tue, 25th Mar 2008 5:44 pm
  14. You still get a free beer with dinner, but the caveat is that it has to be Bud or Heiny. No free Singha. My boyfriend and I opted to just pay for Singha, so they gave us free spring rolls.

    There are so many Thai restaurants on Manhattan Ave, and I laughed when I saw this one open, but now I like it way better than Amarin, Thai Cafe, or Ott (I’ve never eaten at *erb.)
    I have my own little test for Thai restaurants. I order a dish and specify no fish sauce to see how they handle it. Fish sauce is almost ubiquitous in Thai food so if they can produce something tasty without it it means
    1) the restaurant is accommodating
    2) sauces/dishes are or can be prepared fresh (not premade sauce sitting in buckets)
    3) the cook understands the flavorings of the food well enough to adjust. Bad thai places just put in a ton of table salt to compensate for the loss of salty fishness.

    I’d say give it another try. I’m glad I finally went in.

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