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Hunan Village

Hunan Village's owner Paul has left and so has the best Chinese food in Westchester. After going there for 20 years, I simply can't believe how poor the food has gotten. Has anyone else had the experience?

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  1. When did he leave because I remember eating there about a year and a half ago and it was very good. Last time I went, which was about 2 months ago, the food was not as impressive and the dessert was awful. It was fried banana or something along those lines and it was extremely sticky to the point it was non edible. Plus the waiter spilled a couple of things.

    1. About two or so months ago. They're in a spiral laying off their previous help because the business is declining. If you drive by now, you'll see a vinyl banner announcing "business lunch special...". Paul would have never allowed that. They're lucky that the Zagat rating grandfathered them in from last year.

      1. Wow. I think it's even longer than that, Foodie. I remember that Paul's 'Chinese New Year' was abbreviated in January, and I was curious as to the reason.

        I can't recall how I found out that Paul was no longer there, but I don't care to go back there without him. I also wish I knew the reason why he left.

        What a shame. Another 'Harrald's' in my gastronomic life.

        1. Sorry, but I always wondered how this place got it's good reputation. I found the food mediocre and the service downright nasty.

          1. Yeah, it's a bummer, but Paul started to slack off the past year or three anyway.

            1. Ouch. You guys are real hard. Paul ran a great show. "Excellent" with the New York Times and always over 25 in Zagat. What gives? Where to go? East Harbor on Central Avenue was closed twice with Westchester Health Signs on the front door. Nagaya in Highridge just can't cut it. What's your suggestion?

              1. Well the best Chinese in Westchester is probably Aberdeen in White Plains.

                1 Reply
                1. One last thought. Do you know how hard it is to get the Westchester County Department of Health to close you down? Yonkers needs help. I was at East Harbor on Central Avenue when they came in asked me to leave. This stuff would never happen in NYC.

                  1. I have to say that Haiku in Bronxville is taking the place of Hunan right now. Impossible to get into on weekends but worth a try on Thursdays.

                    1. Bao's, the Chinese restaurant in the Hamilton Mall (where KamSen and the DMV are) is very good.The big drawback there is the parking.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lucyis

                        Keep in mind that Bao's is American-style Chinese (which they do well) and Aberdeen is more authentic Cantonese.

                      2. I've also been a customer over 20 years and I can't remember a time when i ordered from the menu. Paul would always bring us whatever he felt was new, exciting and delicious and it was always fabulous! Always! I cannot believe that Paul has left. It's been a few months since last I was last there. Many times Paul would sit with us and we'd talk of the restaurant, our families, etc. Over the years I brought everyone I know to his restaurant. Many a celebration did we hold there. I just can't believe he's gone. Does anyone know how to contact him via mail or email? I want to wish him well. I will miss him and his food big time.

                        1. I am devastated that Paul is no longer there. I have been going there since 1985 -- I remember clearly, because I wa pregnant and Paul was concerned that the peppers would harm me!
                          If there is a way to contact him, I would love to do so. I will not go back to Hunan Village without him.

                          We enjoy Bao's very much -- the ingredients are good quality and fresh, care is taken in the preparation ,and I adore being given edamame instead of those boring fried noodles. Also, the atmosphere is very soothing -- I feel like I'm at a spa. Yes, Aberdeen is more haute Chinese, but pricier too, and a challenging place if you do not eat shellfish.

                          1. We were there Saturday evening for the New year's banquet (a tradition in my wife's family for better than ten years). It was awful. After a fairly promising sampling of cold appetizers, it all fell apart. Overall, the food tasted as though it had been prepared hours before. There was no sparkle. The soup was tepid, not hot. Not a single dish felt inspired in any way. The fried rice, a traditional banquet concluder, was a mess. And the dessert -- fried banana with ice cream. Clearly, the dish needs to have contrasting temperatures and textures to succeed. Again, the banana was cold, heavy, and tasteless.

                            But worst of all, I never felt welcomed. The service was abrupt -- dishes were often cleared away before all nine of us were finished--and uncaring. The courses came rapidfire in an obvious attempt to turn the table over an extra time. At $65 a person, this pretty much qualifies as a ripoff. And as a veteran of this restaurant's New year's banquet, I have to hope that the new owners either clean up their act, sell, or just put the place out of its misery, because this was unacceptable.

                            1. Exactly my review, stevenb30, on a different thread. Amazing isn't it, what Paul meant to the place? I never saw the new owner's face all evening.

                              As I shared in my summary, the chicken dish made us retch. It was unbelievable.

                              I won't be going back. Ever.

                              1. While NOT yet sure just how, if at all, connected, just last night saw Hunan Village II
                                sign in downtown Hartsdale. Seems to have taken the place of the Chinese resturant ( K Fung's) that did not re-open after the floods of last year.

                                Will have to check it out.

                                17 Replies
                                1. re: Jon1856

                                  Thanks for the heads up, Jon1856. Wouldn't it be great if Paul got bored and is opening another restaurant???!!!

                                  1. re: dolores

                                    As my grandma would say: from your lips to god's ears! I live nearby, so I'll join Jon1856 in keeping tabs on this.

                                    And BTW, thanks for all the great posts throughout the year, dolores. May we all eat great in 2008!

                                    1. re: VFresser

                                      Why thank you, VFresser, what a very kind post.

                                      I echo your sentiments, and wish you the best of the holidays.

                                  2. re: Jon1856

                                    Just an up-date on my first posting.
                                    Hunan Village II is not yet open. Just judging from what I could see from window, if could be open for a cold opening in a few weeks. I could not find any kind of listing for it anywhere; telepone or web information. Did not try that hard either.

                                    Location in just about directly across the street from Hartsdale train station.
                                    It is where K Fung's was prior to storm flooding. I can only guess that owners of K Fung's did not have the bank roll to re-build or some one made some one a better offer.

                                    1. re: Jon1856

                                      I came onto this board to write about Hunan II! I saw it last night and hoped it would be of some connection to the old Hunan Village. Has anyone confirmed if they are related?

                                      1. re: shanghaiknights

                                        Yes they are. I talked to one of the employees who was moving stuff outside. He also said the chef of the yonkers one was moving to the hartsdale location. He also said they are trying to open before new years. Should be open within two weeks.

                                        1. re: Sambossanova

                                          Question is -- related to the "old" Hunan Village, meaning the one currently operating in Yonkers, , or the "old-old original- wonderful Paul" Hunan Village?

                                          1. re: VFresser

                                            Hah, good question, VFresser. I was going even further and wondering if the chef from the old, old HV was going to be at HVII.

                                            Because the chef at HV-Lite is NOT as good as the chef from HV-the Mothership. Therefore, if it's the chef from HV-Lite who is moving to HVII, then I am not interested.

                                            The best scenario -- the chef from HV-the Mothership AND Paul (who has gotten bored, I hope) are both opening up HVII!!!!

                                            In time, dare I wish it, for Chinese New Year.


                                            1. re: dolores

                                              Please post as soon as someone tries the new restaurant. I picked up a menu tonight (they're open now) and checked it out. Looks interesting, but prices are pretty steep for neighborhood takeout

                                              1. re: dolores

                                                Stopped in tonight -- they were packed and the wait was a half-hour so we went to Bao's instead. But I did chat briefly with the manager. Alas, they are indeed associated iwth the "new ownership" Hunan Village -- sorry to dash the dream, dolores! (Would somebody PLEASE find Paul and tell him how much we miss him??) Anyway, we did pick up a menu, and we will certainly give it a try.

                                                1. re: VFresser

                                                  Thanks VFresser. Forewarned is forearmed.

                                                  The 'new' HV is actually branching out? Ye gods and monsters.

                                                  1. re: dolores

                                                    Have a friend of a friend who tried it last night. However, not a true hound. In fact, a teenage boy who likes...anything as long as its food. Only comment was portions were smaller than k fungs. I'll follow up..

                                                    1. re: shanghaiknights

                                                      My brother in law stopped in the other day to pick up lunch but was informed they weren't serving the lunch menu. Not really customer friendly for a new place...

                                          2. re: shanghaiknights

                                            Went to Hunan Village II with friends. Small portions, food not so good.

                                            1. re: howmanycupsinaquart

                                              This was what I heard from my sister in law too.

                                              1. re: doc_k55

                                                What makes a restaurant that isn't very good to begin with open another branch that is even less good?

                                                It boggles the mind. Man, I miss Paul.

                                                1. re: dolores

                                                  I just want something good, local and affordable... that delivers. Bao was pretty good, but I wish the menu was more extensive.

                                          1. re: shanghaiknights

                                            Apparently Hunan Village II had a fire last night (1/21), not sure if it remains open or closed.

                                            1. re: Dim Sum Diva

                                              Oh my. Sorry to hear it. First flood, then fire. What next -- locusts?

                                              Hey dolores! My son and I found ourselves on lower Central Avenue the other night at dinner time, and took a chance on the "original" Hunan Village. His Tingling Chicken was very tasty -- and tingly. My chicken dish was not what I expected -- I forget exactly what I ordered, but it was a bit odd. Not terrible, just odd. The room was fairly empty (it was a weeknight), and there was no music so it was eerily quiet. An eager young (but inarticulate) waiter attempted to describe the dishes -- completely missed an ingredient or two.. So, while it wasn't Paul, it wasn't an awful experience, and it does give me some basis for comparison when I decide to attempt Hunan Village 2 in beautiful downtown Hartsdale, if it continues to exist.

                                              1. re: VFresser

                                                Thanks for the update, VFresser. It's amazing that there is such a dearth of outstanding Chinese restaurants in Westchester.

                                                1. re: dolores

                                                  Aberdeen in WP is my go-to place - - do 'hounds not like it??

                                                  1. re: anchovy

                                                    anchovy, my preference for Bao's is strictly on a beverage basis -- I like an Americanized Chinese drink (I know, I know) with my meal.

                                                    I did realllly like the squab dish at Aberdeen, though.

                                                    1. re: dolores

                                                      I agree, dolores. Bao's is consistently good, with a nice tranquil vibe -- and I am crazy about those edamame they put on the table instead of fried noodles. I acknowledge that Aberdeen is top-notch but it is a bit pricey, formal and seafood-centric for my taste.

                                                    2. re: anchovy

                                                      I think lots of hounds like Aberdeen. It's a Chinatown style authentic place. I think Bao's is a different creature, very good for your usual American-style Chinese. I personally prefer Aberdeen because you can't get that style of cooking everywhere, and the flavors are more intriguing to me, where you can find a Bao's type place in most cities in the US.

                                                      1. re: jeanki

                                                        That would be true, except in Westchester there is Chinese-American, and then there is Chinese-American. The buffet in New Rochelle is disgusting. The one in Fishkill is not so bad.

                                                        Imperial Wok in North White Plains has deteriorated, from what I've read here, and David Chen in Armonk is still hanging on. Hunan Village 'Paul' in Yonkers has been replaced by two 'must stay away from' places, HV-I and HV-II 'post Paul'.

                                                        Central Seafood in Hartsdale (Scarsdale?) is meh, imo.

                                                        That leaves Bao's in White Plains. They excel at Chinese-American, if that's how they are differentiated from Aberdeen, and I am quite happy they are there.

                                                        1. re: dolores

                                                          OK, so has anyone attempted Hiunan Village II in Hartsdale lately? I'm afraid to try it.

                                            2. Ate there last night, a party of two. The place was quite empty late on a weeknight. After a very friendly welcome, some heavy upselling started. A mixed appetizer was suggested and sounded good. We asked the price and were told 12.95. We also ordered some spicy tofu with beef. The appetizers were OK, except the crispy beef was too sweet. The tofu was just fair. We ordered two beers and for some unknown reason were given a third on the house. The nasty surprise came on the bill; the apps were actually 12.95 EACH and the tax was miscalculated to double the correct amount. That was corrected, but the whole experience was not one I'd like to repeat at all. Certainly didn't feel it was a good value, or even a good meal, regardless of price.

                                              1. To clarify, my post above is a reply to the original post and is about Hunan Village, not Hunan Village II.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: farshimmelt

                                                  farshimmelt, thanks for the update.

                                                  After a disastrous visit there a looooong time ago, I have never returned.

                                                2. I just ate here tonight for the firs time ever, and while I was expecting like this horrendous experience because of these posts, I must say I really enjoyed my meal! My Mango Prawns were awesome... tons of vegetables, plenty of prawns, and the part that I was most impressed by was the presentation!! They came in two mango halves! The sauce, besides there being a lot, was delicious and not salty at all. My moms Fillet Mignon with Pepper Sauce was seriously good beef. The pepper sauce= worcestire sauce. And my brothers fave, Crispy duck was quite addictive! The Xiao Lom Bao (??) was not soupy, as in there was no soup in them. The curried beef puffs were so good! but the Basil spring rolls were quite ordinary... The portions were quite appealing. Definitely enough, but not like huge portions slopped onto a plate. Again, I was really impressed with the presentation of the food! Also, I liked how the flavors were really sophisticated, not the greasy, salty, generic flavors I think of when I think of Chinese take out :-)

                                                  Has anyone been here recently?

                                                  1. HV's been dark the last couple of weeks. Anyone know if they're OOB, shut by the health department, or simply on vacation?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: mikegberg

                                                      Good riddance. Tried this restaurant about 6 times over the years mainly because my friends liked certian dishes. Portions always small ,food mediocre at best and the prices out of sight. BYE

                                                    2. Paul sold Hunan Village to new owners in June, 2006 after operating the restaurant -- and creating the best Chinese food in the area -- for more 30 years. While they continued to use the name, the new owners apparently never succeeded in running the restaurant, and closed at the end of November, 2009.