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American Comfort Food in the Historic Xintiandi District

It’s been a while since I have seen the words “bar and grill” attached to a restaurant name. It took me a while to realize why it sounded both so odd and yet so familiar. And then I remembered…”bar and grill” are typical American-style restaurants. The kind you never see in Asia.  Japanese have their izakayas, Singaporeans have their food courts, the French have their bistros… and Americans? Well, we have “bar and grills.” You almost don’t have to look at a menu at a bar and grill of you are an American, you know what it means – it means a full bar menu plus steaks, burgers, probably a grilled fish or two, a hearty soup, some entrée style salads (for some reason always including a Caesar salad), a grilled chicken dish, etc, etc… And this is why Kabb in Shanghai felt so familiar, a true bar and grill in the American sense.

Paul ordered his usual, a burger. In this case, it was a Kabb Classic Beef Burger (85 RMB / $12.50 USD / S$17). When I asked Paul what he thought, he commented that it was a good solid burger, an “I-am-in-China-but-I-am-homesick-kinda-burger.” He was also impressed by the hearty beefsteak tomato slice on his burger as well – you just don’t ever see those in Asia.

I chose the Texas Chili Con Carne (75 RMB / $11 USD / S$15) and a Sam Adams beer. While I am not in the habit of pointing out the beer and wine we usually drink at meals, I must tell my beer loving friends with a penchant for Sam Adams Boston Lager, you can get it at Kabb in Shanghai! In 3 years in Asia I have yet to see this beer anywhere, except Kabb. The chili itself was exactly what I wanted to warm me up on a cold day – hearty, meaty, a little spicy and very satisfying. The only way I knew I was in China was because the chili came with rice instead of the American standard accompaniment for chili, good ole Saltine crackers.

So it’s not fancy, or particularly sophisticated, but “bar and grills” aren’t really mean to be. They are usually just casual places where people have some hearty fare and a beer or two. So for American comfort food in Shanghai, Kabb is your best bet.

Kabb Bar & Grill
Xintiandi
North block, House 5
181 Taicang Road
Shanghai, China
Telephone: +86 21 3307 0798

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