Shanghai Beer Factory’s take on “American”

From just stopping by, checking out the menus, and looking around, we could see that Shanghai Beer Factory promised beautifully prepared American food in a trendy setting.

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The food was excellently prepared in terms of ingredient quality, presentation, and cooking technique, and the service was good too. Unfortunately, the otherwise-amazing food was made much less enjoyable by one almost-universal factor: way too much sugar.

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We started off with an epic chorizo nacho pile that sadly didn’t satisfy. The “chorizo” resembled cheap, SPAM-ish Chinese sausage, sweet and spongy, lacking spice or chew. There was, unforgivably, no cheese at all to hold the nachos together (the essential elements of nachos are chips and cheese), and our much-anticipated nachos turned out to be a messy, lukewarm salad.

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My scallop risotto with white fish was pretty good – the risotto was incredibly creamy and the scallops were perfectly tender and pure. The fish was well-cooked but was a pedestrian type and the huge pile of caramelized onions with apple shavings could have been toned down.

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My friend Welton got just the scallop risotto.

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Christian had a southern-style bbq-and-mashed potatoes thing that came in a charming skillet. The beef was tender but way too sweet.  Even worse, the mashed potatoes had sugar added (whyyyyy).

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Alexis had the only savory order out of all of us – a burger with a fun oval shape. Good bun.

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I could definitely see Shanghai Beer Factory becoming a favorite if only there wasn’t so much sugar in dishes that don’t require any. Recently, the acclaimed chef and scholar of Chinsese cuisine Fuschia Dunlop spoke in one of my classes. I asked why China didn’t have a developed dessert culture and she responded by saying Chinese food often has sugar incorporated into savory things so there’s sweetness already. Good for Chinese food, sure, but leave the distracting sugar out of otherwise-authentic western food.

By the way, Christian just told me to let the Internet know Shanghai Beer Factory is “a dessert place in disguise.” So there’s that.

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