St. Marks place is the type of street where you’re more destined to find a bar streaming Post Malone’s beer pong tournament on repeat than an upscale restaurant with professional service, which highlights cuisine unique to the city of Shanghai. Now you can do both.
CheLi was introduced to us by a chef friend whose parents are from Shanghai. As far as the food goes, we aren’t experts there, but it was delicious, and after sending them a menu, their feedback was that there's finally a Chinese restaurant in New York worth going to.
We are experts in the area of drinking, so in advance of our arrival, we came prepared. The wine list is concise, and it’s clear this is a place where the food is a priority. With only a $15 corkage fee, we decided to bring some of our favorite wines along. Here’s a rundown on our favorite wines to pair with Chinese food– in particular, Shanghainese food.
Champagne: For fried stuff and tofu.
On the menu at CheLi there are a few fried items like tofu bites and fried sliced pumpkin. As a wise person once said: Champagne and fried pumpkin and egg yolk works.
Chartogne-Taillet’s style is soft and floral. The wines aren’t too nutty nor too crisp. It’s a perfect wine to pair with flavors you may not be as familiar with.
Rosé Champagne is often overlooked. This one from 100% pinot meunier is good with sweet and spicy flavors too.
Dry Riesling: For any of the sautéed veggies, and especially the peach and crab dish.
While Shanghaiese food isn’t known for being spicy there are some flavors which can be a bit sweet. Riesling is the fallback pairing for anything that comes your way.
Muller-Ruprecht has been making wine long before there was regional Chinese cuisine in New York. This is a riesling if you don’t trust us that you’ll like riesling.
Pet Nat’s cool. Scribe is cool. Riesling is cool. CheLi is cool. This is a cool choice.
Garnacha: For Duck, Pork, and anything glazed
Garnacha aka grenache is one of our favorite reds right now. We have more garnacha options than we have California cabernet options. It’s light, not too tannic, tastes like black pepper, and pairs with all sorts of stuff.
Comando G is a small producer in the mountains of Madrid. While a lot of Spanish reds we see are rich and taste like chocolate fudge, this is a red that’s spicy, floral, and medium bodied.
Don’t be afraid to have a glass of white and a glass of red in front of you. The food is served at once so it’s nice to have flexibility.
Don’t get a cartilage piercing after drinking too much. However, if you feel inclined, you can still find a good deal across the street.
Thankfully now, you can eat some of the city’s best Chinese food, bring a few nice bottles of wine, and then proceed to watch Post drain some pongs too. Welcome to New York, CheLi. We love you.