Kelley Lee and Eduardo Vargas have teamed up again to give us Closed Door. Well, not exactly all of us. Their new little wine bar and Italian restaurant is willing to share its coziness with only those who call ahead and reserve a table at this purposefully tiny and hidden place. And they seem pretty serious about this initial round of exclusivity; prospective diners are queried first through a sliding peep-hole in their large, inconspicuous front gate.
If they are lucky the doors will open to reveal a comfortable reprieve from the oftentimes frantic corner of Changle Lu and Changshu Lu, with a small garden dining area that will undoubtedly be riven with wine drinkers when the weather turns cooler. The intimate dining surroundings, both indoors and out, provide perfect companionship for the kitchen’s assortment of authentic and quite delicious Italian fare, which reinforces the Lee and Vargas brand of freshness and quality and attention to detail. Antipasti dishes stayed traditional: a thick and rich beef pate and delicate insalata caprese starring for the starters. The tuna cannelloni was our favorite, with cream sauce effusing from the tender noodle tubes, but the seafood linguine and the lasagna did not trail far behind. We topped the meal off with a sumptuous panna cotta and steaming cup of Lavazza coffee, satisfied and grateful that these prolific restauranteurs are continuing to do what we hope they never stop doing.
Closed Door – 808 Changle Lu near Changshu Lu (常乐路808号近常熟路) Tel: 6248-0098, Prices: 40-80 RMB for starters, 80-120 RMB for mains.
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.