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Lunch at Hahn's Hibachi in Palo Alto - very forgettable

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Mick Ruthven Aug 17, 2006 03:32 AM

A Korean-food-loving friend and I (not so experienced in Korean food) went to Hahn's Hibachi in Palo Alto today for lunch. I had the bbq pork lunch and she had the bbq short ribs lunch. They were really the same, with almost tastless meat, tastless sauce on the side, and bland kimche. The only real difference was that my pork was easily cut and eaten while her short rib meat required a surgical operation before every bite. Is this the way the food is in all their places? There were other customers there today for lunch and I can't figure out why. What are others' experiences with these Hahn's Hibachi places?

Hahn's Hibachi
460 Ramona St. (near University)
Palo Alto

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  1. j
    Jefferson RE: Mick Ruthven Aug 17, 2006 05:06 AM

    I went solo for dinner about 2 years ago and tried two different meats. One wasn't bad, the other was. The place looks cool at night, and a lot of people may have been there for drinks or atmosphere, or without a fixed idea of what great Korean food tastes like. I have not returned since that night.

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      foodfan RE: Mick Ruthven Aug 17, 2006 03:44 PM

      I think each branch is run by different family members and my experience in each is varied. For example, the San Rafael branch has smoked duck which I have never seen in another branch. I agree they use the same clear brown sauce for all their meats but I have always found the meat tender and well flavored, sometimes a little excessivly fatty. Portions are big, food is very sturdy. I eat fairly frequently at the Jack London branch and always find it not excellent or authentic but pleasant and cheap. The kim chee is pretty zippy and they are always happy to give me a double portion for no charge. The only thing I have had there I don't like is their tea ~ to me it tastes like hot steaming dirt.

      1. r
        rdabke RE: Mick Ruthven Aug 17, 2006 05:02 PM

        Even the Hahn's Hibachi near Jack London sqaure sucks. The staff is also unaccomodating - if I may add!

        1 Reply
        1. re: rdabke
          Cindy RE: rdabke Aug 17, 2006 05:26 PM

          While I can't speak to the authenticity of Hahn's, I have to disagree about the staff at JLS. Went there about a week ago for lunch; I was feeling slightly ill when we got there, and really bad by the time our food came (illness not restaurant-related). The server noticed I wasn't eating, and inquired about the food. I told him it was just me, and could I get it to go. By the time I returned from the restroom, he had packaged it up, along with a small container of the spicy sauce, and when I got home and was able to reheat the food, I noticed he had scraped all the bottom rice pieces for me (I ordered that hot claypot rice dish - bi bom bap?)

          I would definitely return.

        2. adampaul RE: Mick Ruthven Aug 17, 2006 11:19 PM

          No sir, I don't like it. My gf & I ate at their Inner Sunset location a few months ago and were disappointed.

          The tempura was decent, but not Korean AFAIK. There were none of the lovely little side dishes that I'm used to (one of my favorite parts of Korean food, if you must know). I love kimchee and (grudgingly) ordered a side of it ($2.50 for what every other Korean restaurant I've been to gives you for free, sigh) - it was alright in texture, but not spicy enough for my liking.

          The soft tofu soup was very bland, the bbq pork was covered with thick, gooey red "bbq sauce" and was extremely fatty, salad was straight out of a bento box, complete with mayo dressing, yecch.

          Hahn's might have been "great" way back when there were few other Korean restaurants in the area, but it struck me as _highly_ Americanized, and even granted that, wasn't all that good. I can't imagine any reason I'd return given that there's no shortage of at least decent places.

          Peace,
          _Adam

          1 Reply
          1. re: adampaul
            Melanie Wong RE: adampaul Aug 18, 2006 12:29 AM

            Here's a note from "jennipah" about this.
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          2. m
            Mick Ruthven RE: Mick Ruthven Aug 18, 2006 03:23 AM

            I forgot to mention that our server was a genuinely-smiling and very friendly young woman who gave very good service. Too bad she's wasted in that place.

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              abe1329 RE: Mick Ruthven Aug 18, 2006 11:53 PM

              I agree the food is really average. But I think the best location is the one on Polk (maybe Polk and Sacramento??). Is that the original location?

              1. Eugene Park RE: Mick Ruthven Aug 20, 2006 08:23 PM

                To co-opt a line from the TV show 'Cheers'......."Hahn's Hibachi is a trough".

                If you have any appreciation for vaguely authentic Korean food, you will be sorely disappointed with most anything that HH has to offer. It's the Korean version of Panda Express. Joe Bob says avoid......

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