Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shanghai Red's Oyster Bar

For dinner, we went to Shanghai Red's Oyster Bar in downtown Palm Springs. 

Shanghai Red's is located at 235 S. Indian Canyon Drive.  There is also a La Quinta location (78575 Highway 111 Unit 100, La Quinta CA 92253).  Dinner is served at 5:00 pm.  We were there at 8:30, so we made it onto the late night happy hour menu valid from 8 pm to close and all day Sunday (no drink specials, but great discounts on food).

When you get to Shanghai Red's, most of the parking spaces say parking reserved for the Fisherman's Market and Grill.  I was a little nervous, as that was not the restaurant we were going to.  However, the two seem to be intimately combined, so I think you can confidently park in those spots, even if you are going to Red's rather than the Market and Grill. 

The oyster bar is a tiny little restaurant, so don't expect a big spacious dining room.  However, they have plenty of outdoor seating, so if you go on a warm night, you can guarantee yourself a bit more elbow room.  We went on a Tuesday and the place was packed. Apparently Friday and Saturday they have live music. That sounds fun, but I would caution against going on a weekend if you want to sit and enjoy your dinner. I imagine that place gets pretty crowded
We had one appetizer, two glases of wine, two vodka tonics, a soup and two entrees for $86. 

Here is what we ate:

Seafood platter - $15.95
Coconut Shrimp, Oysters Rockefeller, Clams Casino, and Stuffed Mushrooms

Bowl of Clam Chowder - $7.50

Crab Enchiladas - $14.95
Hand rolled corn tortillas stuffed with Blue Crab and cheese, with salsa verde and sour cream sauce.

Seafood Fettucine - $15.95 (non-happy hour price is $17.95)
Sauteed shrimmp, crab, scallops, and mushrooms served over fettucine alfredo.

Ruben and Ozzy's Garlic Cheese Bread - +$3.95 added to any entree

We found out about this place because of the fantastic yelp reviews - 4.5 stars and 145 reviews.

Here are some of the reviews:

"This place is a lot of fun - a little bit of grit and attitude in a very tidy town"  I agree - this is the kind of place where you could quickly feel like a regular.

"The service is always great and the food is always consistent."  Our service was about a 3 out of 5.  Not terrible; not exceptional.  The waitress took 20 minutes to take our order, but it was understandable, considering the place was pretty busy

"Gumbo - excellent." Must have been good because they were all out of it.

What we thought of the food
We all loved the garlic cheesy bread - six [small] slices, very garlic-y, and loaded with cheese. 

 As for the appetizer platter, the coconut shrimp was a crowd favorite. This was great to split between 3 people, as each item was served with three. It came with a delicious orange marmalade to dip the shrimp in.   My mom didn't like the Oysters Rockefeller (baked with spinach and cheese) but she doesn't like oysters, so that isn't saying much.  I thought it was okay, but I greatly prefer mussels and clams.  Clams Casino was clams with cheese and bacon, which my mom and Grandma liked.  I thought it was okay - I prefer a lighter clam.  The stuffed mushrooms were good, but those are hard to mess up.

The clam chowder was a big flop.  It was served cold, which is completely wrong, as everyone knows clam chowder should be piping hot.  My Grandma asked for it to be warmed up, but it still came back not-very-hot.  I have had better clam chowder out of a can.  It just wasn't very exceptional, and certainly not how I would expect it at an Oyster Bar.

We loved both our entrees.  I absolutely loved the seafood fettucine.  It wasn't just seafood thrown over pasta.  There was an actual sauce, and tons of seafood mixed in.  One negative note was that we were scammed out of our garlic bread and too polite to inquire about it.  However, was my favorite dish of the night.

We also got Crab Enchiladas, which were my mom's favorite.  I thought they were okay.  I have no reason for not loving them; I just didn't.  They were a bit on the spicy side, and covered with a verde salsa.  The pico de gallo was a nice touch, as was the side of lemon.  I loved the rice pilaf, but again, nothing special.

Service was okay.  Very slow to take our order (though I am not sure whose fault that is), forgot the garlic bread, and the soup was cold.  I did get drink refills and she was sweet, but nothing outstanding.

Overall: Go here!  It is the kind of place that will make you feel like you discovered something and you are experiencing something the tourists are not.  Don't get the usual (clam chowder) but go for the unique dishes.

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