[Shanghai] Miss Ali
Miss Ali | Dianping
Address: 大沽路380-1号(成都北路) – 380 Dagu Lu near Chengdu Bei Lu (静安区 Jing’an District)
Date visited: 2014.05 for dinner
Price: RMB¥150-200 per person
Will return: Yes
What to get:
– Lamb skewers on the tamarisk 红柳烤羊肉
– Lamb wontons with lamb broth 传统羊汤小馄饨
– Ali’s special lamb waist “阿里家” 招牌大样腰
– Xinjiang-style barbecue lamb 新疆古法架子肉
Please note this was an invited tasting
Channeling the look and feel of a French bistro, newly soft-opened Miss Ali serves Xinjiang cuisine in a much nicer setting than a typical street skewer stand. This, I like.
With lamb being a Xinjiang specialty, it is no surprise that my favorites after a flurry of dishes were ultimately the lamb waist, lamb skewers, lamb wontons, and barbecue lamb. Lamb is tricky because lamb is only good cooked and flavored certain ways and only good warm so there are so many opportunities to mess it up and only a limited window to enjoy. Miss Ali has no problem pulling it together with ingredients from Xinjiang, chef from Xinjiang, and owner from Xinjiang. Miss Ali combines a solid staple of Xinjiang cuisine with a nice environment to eat it in. A truly rare combination in Shanghai.
P.S. the pretty lady walking around the restaurant is Miss Ali herself. Count yourself lucky if you can catch a glimpse of her. I stared.
Xinjiang beverages for your liking.
Cocktails are made by the bartender formerly of Constellation. My minty Grasshopper (RMB¥60) with Get27, Cacao White, and milk was a light complement to the hearty dishes.
And of course, there is always beer.
Xinjiang milk tea 新疆奶茶 (RMB¥48)
Miss Ali offers a variety of drinks to choose from whether it is Xinjiang drinks or traditional cocktails. Since we are at a Xinjiang restaurant, I do recommend trying the warm Xinjiang milk tea. Unlike traditional milk tea, it is not as sweet but very 鲜. Drink it right away while it is still hot as the flavor will change as it cools.
Dates and nuts (complimentary)
Grilled eggplant mix with special herbs 自家制特色烧茄子 (RMB¥28)
Ali’s cold spicy salad gluten 自家风味红油面筋 (RMB¥38)
Ali grandmother’s traditional hand pilaf 阿里奶奶的水晶 抓饭 (small RMB¥18 / large RMB¥48)
This is really good but I will need to request this without raisins next time.
Xinjiang “big plate chicken” with potatoes 新疆干煸大盘鸡 (small RMB¥58 / large RMB¥98 / or organic RMB¥148 – must order 1 day ahead)
The chicken in this dish is made from leg and wing meat aka the dark meat aka the best meat.
Xinjiang traditional slow cooked lamb 自家制手抓羊肉 (small RMB¥88 / large RMB¥168)
A lighter fare relative to the barbecued lamb dishes.
Lamb skewers on the tamarisk 红柳烤羊肉 (RMB¥20 each)
Each thick skewer has a hunk of fat in the middle, just how I like it.
Lamb wontons with lamb broth 传统羊汤小馄饨 (RMB¥38)
The English says ravioli but the Chinese says wontons so I am classifying these as wontons. I love wontons and lamb wontons are something new (and spectacular) to me. The broth is saturated with lamb flavor and a slight kick. I would literally just come back and have a bowl of this if they let me.
Ali’s special lamb waist “阿里家” 招牌大样腰 (RMB¥48)
Recommend: my favorite
This one is definitely not one for the weak. This is for those who can handle heavy foods (me) and like a bit of fat attached to everything (me). Those are also my criteria for making friends, by the way. Hands down my favorite dish here. When the second order came, I alone demolished it.
Xinjiang-style barbecue lamb 新疆古法架子肉 (small RMB¥88 / large RMB¥158)
Succulent racks of seasoned lamb hanging from the display. Use hands directly and devour.
Ali’s homemade yogurt 自家制手工酸奶 (RMB¥28)
Add some honey and let the digestion begin.
Ali’s homemade rose flavored panna cotta 自家制玫瑰花奶油布丁 (RMB¥38)
Just like the milk tea, the panna cotta is not too sweet and just enough to make it a satisfying, not-so-guilty dessert post lamb feast.