Here’s the low-down on the latest action-
The Beef: The Reuben! It’s fantastic. This place does the smoked meats, and they do it well. Granted, competition for the Canadian sandwich category in Shanghai isn’t the most intense and tbh, my go-to sandwich is a gooey grilled cheese anyday. But if I were to crave a deli sandwich, this is the spot. Offerings also include smoked beef, duck, and chicken. And incidentally, a grilled cheese.
Sandwiches come in two sizes, meaty or overload. Huge fan of the fact that they also let you choose your cholesterol levels – lean, medium, or fatty cuts. Bring on the melt-in-your-mouth lardiness! Nestled among slices of nicely dense grainy bread. Sandwiches come with a handful of thin-cut fries, a sauce-saucer serving of slaw, and an emaciated sliver of pickle.
The claim to Canadian fame dish, poutine was anticlimactic. The fries maybe weren’t great to begin with, slightly stingy on the gravy, and the desiccated Reuben crumbs didn’t add much to the dish– maybe stick with bacon bits for this.
Service was friendly, and food was served quickly. Cocktails took a bit more time though to the point where we thought they had forgotten the Bloody Mary. Indoor seating and half indoor/outdoor seating both available.
The Gang: Small groups of locals and laowai.
The Motive: Casual hangout to grab a quick bite. Friendly tip: walk through the Fengshengli side and into the opposite alley for some wallet-friendly outdoor drinking at the pop-up bars.
The Damage: 80/100rmb for a Reuben; 68rmb smoked meat poutine.
The Down n’ Dirty: Inside the mall and up a level on the 2nd floor.
Alright, let's be honest here. I'm not from Canada. I have no right whatsoever to critique another country's Rueben. I never wanted to go into this place, but the buzz started when my parents came to visit. My Jewish mother from New York had to know if a pastrami sandwich in Shanghai was going to be any good. I pointed out, that if it was bad, it's 100% Canada's fault, not Shanghai’s in this situation. We went for Chinese food upstairs.
My mother bonds with my friend from New York instantly. But I know that this friend in particular also likes to eat bagels in Shanghai and cannot truly be trusted. They agree to go to Tock’s without me. I plan to keep them away from each other for the rest of the trip. We have too much Chinese food to eat, and stomach space can not be wasted on this nonsense. My friend sends my mother a photo of Tock’s delivery on Wechat as we board a plane to Western China for sightseeing. When did they exchange Wechat information? I don’t know. But my mother is amazed that corned beef sandwiches can be delivered by a Canadian restaurant in China.
Did we go to Tock’s when we got back to Shanghai? Yup.
Was the sandwich any good? No. It was really dry and not from New York. But the service was really friendly, and the decor looked alright. It’s also worth noting that the poutine does not contain cheese curds. I don’t even know who to blame about that, but I’d assume that even the Canadians would be upset. I did enjoy the hype we created for ourselves, though.
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