As has happened to many before us, and many after, our group waltzed into Joe's Ginger when nearby Joe's Shanghai was crowded out the door. I was showing around a friend from out of town and wanted to eat at a touristy (but good) restaurant. Joe's Ginger was enough to at least fill us with some satisfaction, but was not up to par with its neighbor.
If you are a fan of Shanghainese xiao long bao (soup dumplings, $6.25 for 8), you'll enjoy the mediocre ones here, either crab or pork, but you can find them cheaper in other places. A better option are the shredded turnip shortcakes ($4 for two, below) which I could totally see being midnight street food, if only a NYC vendor would think of doing such a thing.
A dish that sounded completely safe and hard to make wrong was actually our worst dish of the night. The baby shrimp with garlic sauce ($12.95, below) tasted more like ketchup to me than anything and seemed like a Chinese takeout for westerners that never came to pass.
After ruining one bowl of rice with that sauce and getting my hands on another, I dug into at least three helpings of the wonderful lima bean salad & pork with bean curd tripe ($9.95, below). Our resident Shanghainese person dismissed it as too salty, which was true, but I tried to overlook that fact and enjoy the many variety of textures within. I would definitely order this dish the next time I came, and probably surround it with some other new options.
The Chinese cabbage with dried shrimps ($7.95, below) is actually found in the vegetable section of the menu despite its seafood, and was simple enough to be a safe bet for any taste. In the end it was just the dish that everyone took a second helping of when they realized they were not completely full.
The service was friendly enough, despite the warnings that the white folk might not like certain things. That always ticks me off to no end, but I guess they are accustomed to getting "interesting" things sent back.