Aster Indicus, Anyone?
I wish I could recommend Yeah Shanghai Deluxe (65 Bayard Street); the staff were so friendly. But it is definitely not one of New York's better Shanghai restaurants. Most of the food was too heavy and/or too salty. Their soft shell crabs were abominable: overly breaded and fried too long, leaving the meat inside dry and tasteless. A pea shoot version of xiaolongbao (steamed tiny buns) seemed promising, but the steaming process sucked all the life out of the vegetable.
I generally don't write about restaurants I don't like unless they've been overhyped or are guilty of unpardonable pretensions. In the case of Yeah Shanghai Deluxe I'm writing because of a particular menu item with the delightfully Linnean name Aster Indicus. I've never seen this on any other Chinese menu, and I was intrigued. It's served as a cold dish, mixed with chopped, dried bean curd. The vegetable is incredibly green and tastes incredibly green. It must be full of chlorophyll. It was actually one of the few dishes we liked.
I did a Google search on Aster Indicus. I didn't find out much, but I did learn that it's classified as a famine food (i.e. a plant not normally considered a crop), and grows wild in China. The availability of Aster Indicus might be reason enough, for the curious, to give Yeah Shanghai a try. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did. You might want to make a meal of cold appetizers, as the kau fu (wheat gluten puffs with black mushrooms) was also pretty good.