9 Pell Street
Joe's ShanghaiNew York City's Chinese and Chinese American populations total around 570,000, making this the largest concentration of Chinese outside the mother country. The first Chinatown in Manhattan dates to the 1870s, and while it continues to grow, it has also been joined by other Chinatowns, including one in Flushing, Queens. That is where Joe's Shanghai opened its first location, in 1995—though the two in Manhattan, on Pell Street in Chinatown and West 56th Street in Midtown, will be more convenient for most travelers. You can expect a wait for a table, and when you are seated you may be sharing it with strangers. The restaurant can be noisy, and as soon as you have finished your meal, you'll be encouraged to settle up and leave. In other words, people don't come here for the atmosphere or the service. Instead, the excellent and generous renditions of favorite Chinese dishes, especially the restaurant's signature soup dumplings, are the draw. The dumplings are served in bamboo steamer baskets and each one holds a pork or crab meatball in a hot broth, all wrapped up in a doughy package. It may prove to be the most flavorful moment of your trip to New York.