New Heights' terrace has an unrestricted view of the Pudong skyline, and the restaurant itself serves up gourmet fusion fare split into "Things that Walk" and "Things that Swim".
New Heights has become one Shanghai’s standbys, the place you take your mom or out-of-town business clients. And with good reason. Tried and true conventional formulas add up: a comfortable dining room, treading the line between casual and sophisticated; a glassed-in kitchen; a decent wine list; and location, location, location. The outdoor terrace on the top floor looking right across the river is almost a recipe for success on its own. The kitchen helps this ease along with accessible mid-90s versions of Western standards. But not everything comes out right. Seared scallops, well-cooked and sauced with a slightly spicy emulsion, were undermined by a deathly tired garnish of paper thin leek julienne. A salad of greens, roasted pumpkin, goat cheese, and walnut was decent, but it was also the first indicator of a kitchen not well-versed in the most important foundation of cooking – seasoning. Both the mains, a duck ‘three ways’ (will this trend die already?), and a grilled tuna dish, were executed well, but not enough to overlook the decided lack of flavor. Desserts bore a light at the end of the tunnel, with a plum and almond tart paired with a grape-y red wine sorbet winning our vote. Having them available as a mini portion is an idea we liked a lot and for that alone we could be drawn back. Chef Neal Giles calls this “light and fresh cuisine”, but as such it should still be seasoned correctly, especially at the premium prices being charged. Despite these shortcomings, the view, the terrace, and the location, keep New Heights as a place to bring guests. Just pack your own salt.