I think the first thing anyone hears about Yasmine’s (located in the Expat enclave of Jinqiao, Pudong) is their massive two kilo burger. Chris St.Cavish went there sometime near the end of last year and watched two friends polish off one each. But there’s more to the place than just that burger – and by more I mean, jeebus, EVERYTHING there is super-sized.
Yasmine’s feels like a classy-ish modern steak joint from Houston that somehow got transplanted in the Shanghai suburbs; surprising since neither of the owners are from there (From our brief meeting, it seems the lady’s from Sichuan, her hubby’s from Sweden and the place is named after their grade-school kid). The dining space on the bottom floor is all dark wood contrasted against loft-like giant glass planes stretching to a 13-foot ceiling. The second floor – used for selling meat and its accoutrements (wine, cheese, etc) – is slightly less imposing, but could rival many restaurant spaces you find in Puxi.
And the food – oh boy, the food. Reasonably priced, but for someone now used to the size of an average Shanghai plate, not so reasonably portioned. The T-bone steak came in two sizes: small (300g) and normal (500g) for 198RMB or 298RMB. Go on a Tuesday, and you get a second steak free. Go on a Monday and everything on the menu, from the 400g Rib-Eye (198RMB) to the 500g Chateaubriand (498RMB) is half off.
Drinks were similarly generous. A 25RMB Ice Tea was twice the size I’d seen anywhere else, with a glass about as long as my forearm. Yasmine’s also has the best deal on Guiness I’ve found yet in Shanghai – 48RMB for a pint. Other beers I was excited to see: Brooklyn Lager for 30RMB, Victoria Bitter for 25RMB and San Miguels for 20RMB.
And yes, there’s the burger. Our table ordered one, because, you know, why not? Yasmine’s describes it as “The already legendary 4 pound burger, 800 gram Australian beef – The biggest burger you have ever seen, eat it yourself in one sitting and get the burger for FREE!” (258RMB). Considering I was complaining about drink sizes being too big, I was in no position to try to get on the restaurant’s Hall of Fame wall. I was, however, curious to see how a burger that big tasted.
Unfortunately, the excitement that first pervaded the table when this Titan of burgers arrived faded quickly with the first bite. It was too much of some things – bread, lettuce, onions – but that was to be expected. What it was too little of was taste. It’s as if they took the flavor of one burger and somehow made it stretch into ten. Each bite tasted mealy and unappetizing – like chewing slightly hardened sponge. We drowned it in ketchup and asked for extra sauce, but in the end, most of that burger lay uneaten.
Other meals there weren’t quite as bad, though some tended to be a little uneven. The aforementioned T-bone steaks were juicy and satisfying on one half of the bone, but tough as new gum on the other. The salmon steak (98RMB) was very acceptable, crispy on the outside but not overcooked. The tuna sandwich (58RMB) was huge and had weirdly been covered with mayo (on the bread part), but it was quite serviceable.
Overall, it’s a place to get your feed on. The deals for steaks and things are better than anything I’ve seen in Puxi… and, while I wouldn’t recommend ordering their giant burger as a meal, it was quite fun to cheer on a neighboring table as one glorious sap stuffed the last bits of cucumber, bread and meat into his mouth, choking as he claimed victory.
Yasmine’s is located on 178 Biyun Lu near Heisong Lu in Jinqiao, Pudong 碧云路178号进黑松路. Telephone number: 13918505140