Hamilton Square, New Jersey
October 28, 2002
Entering the Dragon and Phoenix Room is like walking into a piece of cloissonne. It seemed as though every square inch of the room, from the ceiling to the walls to the large columns throughout was decorated or carved. The tables are fairly large – 10 or 12 of us sat together. Sadly, we did not have a table that looked out onto the Bund, but even so, there was plenty to look at in the room to prevent me from being too disappointed with that.
The food was good, although I don’t remember any particular dish standing out as especially excellent. There were appetizers (first cold, then hot), followed by several dishes, including fish, chicken and vegetables. A plate of fruit was brought out last as dessert, but we were too full to do more than nibble at it but that point. Tea flowed freely, and sodas and bottled water were also available. The service was acceptable; the size of our group may have caused some of the delay in bringing out the first dishes and in responding to requests for beverage refills. Our waitress didn’t seem to speak English well, but she was able to get another server to help decipher our requests.
In typical "group" fashion, all dishes were served family-style and placed on a lazy susan in the center of the table. One plate of each dish was given to each table.
Your place setting will probably include a spoon over a small dish or cup; use this to serve a portion from the common plates onto the plate or bowl that should also be at your place setting. Your chopsticks should be used to eat from your personal plate, although no one seemed to mind much when we’d dig into the food with them. If you aren’t comfortable eating with chopsticks, most restaurants we ate in were able to provide forks and spoons.
The setting of the restaurant makes it particularly memorable. Do try to get a table by the window so that you can watch the activity on the Bund while you eat, should the décor fail to keep your interest.
From journal First Impressions of Shanghai