As a native New Yorker I was psyched to head up Archie B’s, a self-proclaimed “Authentic New York Delicatessen” by the Hong Kong-based Big Potato Group. Unfortunately, it was about as authentic as an “I Love NY” T-shirt. Now I didn’t expect it to fully replicate the gritty NY deli experience, but Archie B’s inedible fare keeps it from achieving even Shanghai deli standards.
Archie B’s interior reminded us of what you’d get if you crossed a 50s diner with one of those Times Square bodegas selling Yankees apparel, firefighter t-shirts, Statue of Liberty miniatures, etc. A checkerboard pattern decorates the floor, staff sport New York Police and Fire Department T-shirts, and fake autographed photos of celebrities plaster the walls; many of whom aren’t even New Yorkers (Clint Eastwood?). It seems like innocent enough camp, except for the writing on the faux pictures praising “Archie B’s,” which we suspect will trick a few customers into thinking the actual celebrities ate there and recommended it. At least until they try the fare.
The one touch that does evoke real New York is the downplayed wall mural upstairs depicting the Brooklyn Bridge during sunset.
Staffers are a bit timid, but eager to please. Our server filled our second beer of our buy-one-get-one-free deal immediately upon seeing us down the last drop of our first one.
Food and drink
Speaking of, the menu’s one redeemable aspect is the beer selection, which entails classic NY suds from Brooklyn Lager to several varieties of Saranac. In terms of food, the bedpan-shaped plates foreshadow what’s to come.
For something so mired in tomato sauce, our “Moe’s Meatball Submarine” (68RMB) tasted shockingly bland, and the meatballs were more knotted with gristle than an owl pellet. We had to pause every few chews to spit out a piece. The prepackaged coleslaw and pickle clearly hadn’t been thawed at all.
Our “Archie’s Pastrami Roll” (88RMB) had the opposite problem in that it was so viscously greasy and over salted you could embalm a small mammal between the buns.
It’s unfortunate that many Shanghaiers’ first impressions of NY food will be at Archie B’s.
Archie B’s – G/F, 168 Lujiazui Xi Lu, near Lujiazui Huan Lu (陆家嘴西路168号底楼,
近陆家嘴环路). Tel: (0)21-6289-0021. Hours: 10:30am-10:30pm.
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].