Welcome to the Club

Welcome to the Club

By Madison Rutherford

Shanghai Club serves classic Chinese cuisine in a
contemporary setting

If “Shanghai Club” sounds familiar, you may be thinking of
the premier men’s club for upper-class ex-pats in 19th-Century Shanghai. It was
subject to a strict hierarchy and featured a formal dining room, full bar,
billiards room, library with sky-high ceilings and hallways bookended by
curved, marble staircases.

It’s also the name of a Chinese restaurant at the corner of
Anthem Way and Gavilan Peak Parkway. You won’t find British aristocrats milling
about the bar, but you will find something that’s almost just as rare
(especially in Anthem) – flavorful, authentic Chinese food. And although it
hasn’t been around nearly as long as the one in China, the family-owned eating
establishment has been serving delicious, traditional Chinese meals since 1992.

You won’t find any marble staircases, but Shanghai Club’s
décor and atmosphere are elegant yet approachable. It’s fancy without being too
frilly, especially from the outside. Like most restaurants in Anthem, Shanghai
Club is an unassuming storefront in a strip mall, but the sizable dining area
is lined with wood- and stone-paneled walls, freckled with modern lighting
fixtures and adorned with East Asian art. A large, rectangular fountain serves
as the centerpiece.

You don’t have to be a king to eat at Shanghai Club, but you
can eat like one at a pretty reasonable price. Lunch specials are available
every day until 3 p.m., and offer classic dishes like chicken chow mein,
broccoli beef and sweet and sour pork served with soup, a chicken puff pastry
and rice for less than $10 each.

For dinner, choose from a lengthy list of pork, chicken,
beef, seafood or vegetarian entrées, chow mein, chow fun and lo mein noodles,
fried rice and egg foo young. Start with a crave-worthy vegetarian egg roll
($1.75 each), a crispy, golden pocket loaded with veggies and served with a
side of hot mustard and chili sauce. The mouthwatering pan-fried dumplings
($6.95 for a serving of six) are also seared to perfection and served with a
generous supply of tangy dipping sauce. 

The piping hot egg drop soup ($6.25 for two) is made for
sharing, but it’s so yummy you might want to save it all for yourself. The soup
features an ample amount of beaten eggs, chopped carrots and scallions in a
thick, comforting broth.

For the main course, try the toothsome, citrus-infused lemon
chicken, a heaping plate of deep-fried white meat covered in a zesty lemon
sauce ($11.75) or the sweet and sour shrimp ($13.95), loaded with green
peppers, onions, carrots and pineapple and smothered in a sweet, tangy sauce.

Each entrée comes with a plate piled high with steaming
white rice. A Chinese restaurant is only as good as its steamed rice, and
Shanghai Club’s is drool-worthy and just the right amount of soft without being
sticky or mushy.

The restaurant also gets major props for its generous
portions. It depends on your level of hunger, but most of the entrées are large
enough to leave a substantial amount of leftovers. I can attest the food is
just as tasty the day after. You might also consider splitting a dish with your
dinner partner if you’re not particularly peckish. 

Shanghai Club isn’t one of those places where you and your
server become best friends by the end of your meal, but the wait staff is
fairly attentive and friendly. You might have to wait a while for the bill, so
dining here when you’re in a rush isn’t recommended. They also offer a take-out
option if you are.

Although you don’t need to be a member to go to the Shanghai
Club in Anthem, the food, service and ambiance might make you feel like you’re
part of the club.

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