winning crunch, with whole walnuts
pressed into the crisp, airy batter.
One of the best things I ate a table-mate aptly dubbed a “Shanghai burrito.”
It’s a hot, lightly crisped scallion pancake
wrapped around a filling of marinated
beef, omelet, hoisin sauce and fresh ci-lantro. Unbeatable finger food. It is listed
on the dim sum menu as egg pancake
with beef, but is available all the time.
Dim sum, by the way, draws a crowd.
Shanghai 46 has its own parking lot. We
pulled in at noon on a recent Sunday and
were lucky to grab the 40th, and last, spot
(I counted the cars). Inside, all 120 seats
were taken, and every person was Asian.
Shanghai dim sum ranges from hot
dumplings to cold chunks of smoked carp
and cold chunks of boiled chicken marinated in rice wine. All kinds of cold dishes
are covered in plastic wrap and placed
on a central table. Help yourself. A server
will figure out what you had, even if you
cleaned your plate, and charge accordingly. Since the plates are identical but the
prices aren’t, that is a neat trick.
In my visits, I barely skimmed the
140-plus dishes on the regular menu or
the 49 dim sum items. There are some
pitfalls. The prettiest dish I ate was
seafood-chive dumplings, star-shaped
quadrants with open tops. Each compartment was filled with an ingredient
of a different color, but the fillings (the
seafood was shrimp) were bland and the
dumpling skin tough. Spare ribs with
sweet brown sauce were grossly fatty, as
were the chunks of limp-skinned meat in
the Shanghai marinated-duck appetizer.
Large spicy prawns in the shell were
hard to handle and the meat was tough.
Lin, trying to please all, lards his
menu with the familiar. General Tso’s
chicken was executed with no special
spark. Skewers of chicken satay were dry
and flavorless. That is no way to bring
good fortune—the Chinese character for
which remains on the menu and on the
sign outside.—ERIC LEVIN
ents in the classic version (still the
best seller) are Philadelphia brand
cream cheese (about 40,000 pounds
per week), heavy cream, eggs, vanilla
and sugar. The ingredients are mixed
in motorized vats that are gentle
giants—able to blend the makings
without adding air, so the cake comes
out uniformly dense. The batter is
pumped into springform pans placed
on large, shallow trays filled with an
inch of water. The water bath, as it’s
called, creates humidity for even bak-
ing without scorching.
Each oven has nine rotating tiers
holding 50 cheesecakes each. During
the hour or more of baking, a worker
checks the color. “Some people think
cheesecakes should be white like a
sheet of paper,” Rosen says. “I think
they should be golden brown, like
something that was actually baked in
Afterwards, each oven’s 450 cakes
cool for two to three hours before
being boxed and frozen for shipment.
The big question for fans is, how do
Burlington cheesecakes compare with
those from Queens and the Flatbush
Avenue second floor?
“If anything,” says Rosen, “the qual-
ity of our cakes is better.” With nine
ovens on line, “the cold batter goes
directly into the oven and doesn’t have
to wait and get a skin on top.”
Ever vigilant, Rosen likes to quote
his father, Walter, who no doubt
heard the same cautionary advice
from his father, Harry: “It takes years
to earn a reputation and only mo-
ments to lose it.” ■
(Continued from page 115)
ORANGERIE: Workers at
the Junior’s plant box fresh
cheesecakes. The operation
uses about 40,000 pounds of
cream cheese a week.