Authentic Chinese restaurant brings life to South Holland

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Shanghai Bar and Grille on the corner of US-31 and 32nd street.

Justin Anair

A crusted nest lay upon the plate. The nest was constructed of golden pan-fried egg noodles cooked to perfection and garnished with red bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and sweet corn. The nest was home to tender shrimp, pan seared pork and crisp but succulent chicken. Finally, the nest is filled with a special sauce: a sauce that brings sweetness to your mouth that, in a matter of seconds, is flooded by the spicy after-taste the sauce has. My first fork full was the perfect combination of a rich thick sauce mixed with the crunchy vegetables and accompanying noodles.

That fork full of their Double Pan Fried Noodle house special was the first thing I ate at Shanghai Grill and Bar, which opened January 6 on the corner of US-31 and 32nd Street, specializing in authentic Chinese food. This restaurant had an interesting appeal to it, and the rest of that meal and the other two that followed quenched my hunger for good Chinese food.

Holland has very few authentic Chinese restaurants. Sure we have Mr You, China Inn, Grand King Buffet and a few others; however, the majority of these restaurants use average ingredients and have an American interpretation of Chinese food. Shanghai Grill and Bar brings something new to the Holland table. It has a host of Chinese cooks who add an authentic Chinese flare and flavor to the dishes they serve, and it is an upscale Chinese restaurant: something Holland has been needing for years.

Shanghai sits right in the middle of the pack with regard to cost. Shanghai is a little more expensive than some of the local Chinese cuisine, however it falls shorter than P.F Chang’s in Grand Rapids and other West Michigan Chinese restaurants. At $14, Shanghai offers a shrimp and lobster dish sitting in a garlic white wine sauce. Most places in town don’t sell lobster let alone lobster and shrimp for under 14 dollars. Apart from the seafood specialties, all of the pork, chicken, noodles, beef, and vegetarian meals sit around 8-12 dollars.

The restaurant replaces the Ponderosa Steakhouse, an average restaurant that has struggled to match its fellow steakhouse competitors. Shanghai leaves no existing memory of the past restaurant. The inside of the restaurant is decorated pristinely. A Pagoda styled ornament covers the entrance into an open sushi bar adjoined with a sit-down section of the restaurant. The rooms are fitted with Chinese redwood furniture and solid black booths and chairs. Candles decorating the tables are partnered with a central chandelier that provides just enough light for a comfortable experience. Finally, glass barriers with Chinese houses and designs separate the booths from other areas of the restaurant to offer privacy to those who eat there.

Shanghai offers a variety of entrees, but the food that makes them unique and separates them from other restaurants is their large selection of tofu dishes. Starting at $8.95, Shanghai offers the Szechuan tofu. This heat-packing dish incorporates red and green bell peppers, sweet corn, broccoli and onions. Additionally, crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside tofu rests atop of the pile of veggies. To finish the dish, the meal is garnished with a red pepper sauce: a sauce that adds a special kick that gives this dish the flare and flavor that makes this a favorite vegetarian meal here.

Seafood is also hugely featured here. At $14.95, Shanghai offers a gluten free, jumbo shrimp and lobster dish, served in a garlic white wine reduction with water chestnuts, peas and egg flower. This dish, served with a nice helping of white rice, is the perfect dish to satisfy anyone’s thirst for seafood.

Of course no meal is complete without a sweet treat. Shanghai lists six different dessert items, ranging from a scoop or two of ice cream to a pretty bulky piece of chocolate torte or tiramisu cake. Having just a bit of their homemade, red bean ice cream won’t hurt at all, right?

Shanghai Grill and Bar is a fabulous restaurant that is just taking off in 2016. Its wide selection of food is a perfect place for anyone who admires authentic Chinese cuisine. Its food is portioned nicely, and the scenery of the restaurant is comfortable and delightful for those who want a nice quiet meal.

Shanghai Grill and Bar is open every Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM. If you want more info about the menu and the different meals offered, click the link below.Displaying IMG_2598.JPG

Shanghai's most popular vegetarian meal: Szechuan Tofu
Shanghai’s most popular vegetarian meal: Szechuan Tofu
Shanghai's house special: The double pan fried noodles.
Shanghai’s house special: The double pan fried noodles.
Shanghai's shrimp and lobster meal.
Shanghai’s jumbo shrimp and lobster meal.