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Hu's Szechwan Restaurant on National and Rose

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Tari Feb 15, 2007 06:35 PM

I will be moving to this area in the next month. How does this restaurant rate?

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    nosh RE: Tari Feb 15, 2007 07:05 PM

    Be forewarned that many of the contributors to this page disparage any Chinese Restaurants in L.A. that are further west than the San Gabriel Valley. Hu's is one of the most longlived Chinese restaurants on the westside, and there are reasons. Some pretty good shrimp dishes. At lunch they serve a tasty little Chinese chicken salad along with some of the specials, though there are few selections for the lunch specials and the hot and sour soup is weak. Go with a group and order from the regular menu to share. I'd rate it up among the best Chinese on the west side. It can be a bit difficult to find, on a stretch of National east of Overland that turns several times as it snakes towards Venice Blvd -- it is actually at National and National where it makes a 90-degree turn, just west of Motor.

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      chowmominLA RE: Tari Feb 15, 2007 07:12 PM

      I used to go there for their szechuan dumplings when I took a bar review course a block away. I remember being in love with those dumplings. But I haven't been there in 13 years. Every time I drive by I wonder if they're still as good as they used to be. I would bet they are.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowmominLA
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        Chile_Rojo RE: chowmominLA Feb 16, 2007 12:44 PM

        Last time I went (about two years ago) the dumplings were still really good. Probably my favorite thing on the menu.

        As another poster mentioned, the eggplant is also good.

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        yclops RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 08:18 AM

        I quite like their mapo tofu, even more so than that at many of the Sichuan restaurants in MP/Alhambra. Tastes just like the mapo tofu I used to eat in Taiwan (whether that's authentic or not is another matter). It has more of a chile bean sauce flavor, rather than the twin, raw blasts of Sichuan peeper and chile heat that some of the other versions have had.

        1. PaulF RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 08:21 AM

          FWIW Tari, you're moving into a neighborhood with pretty good chow options in addition to Hu's.

          1. Hershey Bomar RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 08:51 AM

            Dingy and byob. Food, oh yeah, they serve food.

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              SCmike RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 09:05 AM

              I like Hu's a lot. For some reason it reminds me of the chinese place in a Christmas Story. It is simply solid, tasty food. The dumplings are awesome and the shrimp dishes are good. I like thier noodles as well.

              One cool thing about Hu's is they don't serve booze but you can bring your own at no charge. There is a good liquor store next door if you forget.

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                Tmblweed RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 09:09 AM

                Surprisingly, I absolutely LOVE their Yuuxiang qiezi (Eggplant dish. I think the English name is called "Garlic Eggplant" or something like that).

                They cut their eggplants into large strips and stir fry the strips with the sauce.

                Keep in mind that it's quite oily, though. I ordered it "to go" once, and they had to put another take-out box around the original one...and it *still* leaked through the paper bag.

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                  slacker RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 09:27 AM

                  Hu's is probably the best Chinese restaurant on the westside. I'm not normally a big fan of northern Chinese food, but Hu's is good. Their version of orange chicken is excellent, I never order orange chicken at Chinese restaurants, but Hu's version is so good it's the first thing I want to order. The above mentioned eggplant dish is also excellent. Those dumplings are also good. Their "mixed vegetables" dish is a big dud, I've also had a chow mein dish there, not really to my liking.

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                    rameniac RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 09:53 AM

                    hot and sour soup there is pretty good as well.

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                      CulverJack RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 02:42 PM

                      Years ago I'd order their tangerine chicken and tangerine beef, I think they called it "Chen Pi" chicken and beef - very good, though also very fried. I would consider it OK Chinese, as most of the others have pointed out - there are definitely some good dishes but it's not exactly "can't miss".

                      As PaulF mentions, there are lots of great places close by. If you like Thai, Thai Boom is a restaurant that deserves your attention. Probably moreso than Hu's, if I may be so bold. Search on "culver city" or "palms" and you'll find a lot of great spots. And welcome, soon.

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                        WBGuy RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 04:36 PM

                        The best place in that area is Simpang Asia across the street from Hu's. Homestyle Indonesian food. Indo Cafe's not bad either, more of a cloth-napkin kind of place.

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                          balmydays RE: Tari Feb 16, 2007 04:41 PM

                          hu's is okay, there are some standout dishes, and some really scary ones mixed in.
                          the green beans are AMAZING, one of my favorite dishes in the city, but the curry chicken is frightening. choose wisely, and you'll enjoy yourself.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: balmydays
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                            romancynic RE: balmydays Feb 19, 2007 08:31 PM

                            I agree about the green beans. But the rest of the menu always feels very generic

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                            Tari RE: Tari Feb 19, 2007 06:05 PM

                            I hope the hot and sour soup is good. That is one thing I always have to have when I go to a chinese restaurant. I will be within walking distance to the restaurant so I am sure I will be eating there alot :)

                            1. sing me a bar RE: Tari Feb 19, 2007 08:48 PM

                              Wu hsiang pork or bean curd (tofu) are really good. They also make steamed szechuan wontons that are almost as good as the" dumplings in red" used to be at Chung King in its heyday. Add red pepper oil to both of the above, if you like the burn.

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                                Tari RE: Tari Apr 1, 2007 10:28 PM

                                Well, I had takeout from Hu's tonight for the 2nd time. The first time was our first night in the new apartment. I ordered the Ysiang chicken, steamed rice and I got the szechwan wontons. The wontons were really good but not for anyone that doesnt like spicey foods. The chicken entree was okay. I would rate is as average.
                                Tonight I was more disappointed. The hot and sour soup was ok and would have probably been okay if I had gotten some hot sauce to add to it. The cashew nut chicken was pretty bland. It didn't even taste like it had any salt added to it. I added some soy sauce to it but it didnt make it much better.
                                I will continue to order from here because of its convenience. I have faith that I will find a few entrees that are good.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: Tari
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                                  nosh RE: Tari Apr 2, 2007 12:22 PM

                                  The hot and sour soup at Hu's is not one of their strengths, bland with way too much tofu than I care for. You chose a better starter with the wontons, and their chinese chicken salad (served with some of the lunch combos) is light, crisp, and tasty. For entrees, I recommend the Kung Pao Shrimp or other shrimp dishes. I like the place, but I almost always have to add hot chili oil to spice up the food.

                                  Hop Woo has been hit and miss for me. They have a steam-table take-out operation going from one side, and the sitdown on the other. I've had lackluster service at best, though I thought the shredded pork in garlic sauce (with lots of strips of multicolored bell pepper) was good and a generous serving. But is it true that they recently were rated a Health "C"?!

                                  Again, I'll put in my two cents (and get flamed) for suggesting Cheng Du, but my rec is for the amazingly inexpensive LUNCH SPECIALS ONLY. These come with a spicy, full-flavored tasty hot and sour soup that is the best I've found on the west side.

                                  Anyone have any experience or strong opinions about Chang's, on San Vicente in Brentwood?

                                  1. re: nosh
                                    tony michaels RE: nosh Apr 2, 2007 12:30 PM

                                    Cheng Du is our standard delivery option. As you noted, their lunch specials are a good deal. I don't recall any recent reviews of Lin's (just barely east of Barrington on the south side of Pico). Anyone been of late?

                                    1. re: nosh
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                                      bulavinaka RE: nosh Apr 2, 2007 12:54 PM

                                      Not to defend Hop Woo, as I feel every business has to answer for their own shortcomings and try to correct them, but I know that every Chinese restaurant that is in LA county has been under scrutiny if they have any form of Cantonese-style barbeque display (temp concerns). I don't think this would soley give them a "C" ranking though. I've found their food very consistant but I did have take-out last week and some of the dishes were somewhat more oiley than before. I'm not aware of any ownership changes but I'm not one who dwells over these issues at this place.

                                      It's good to hear Hu's is still pumping. I now remember doing take-out from here back in the early 80's when I worked in the Palms area. I'll add them to the list.

                                      My wife used to work in West LA and eat at Cheng Du and she gives it a thumbs-up. She recalls some co-workers eating at Lin's up the block who also liked it but that's going back about a year...

                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                        tony michaels RE: bulavinaka Apr 2, 2007 12:58 PM

                                        I guess we will have to give Lin's a try and post the results. In the same vein who has been to El Sarape, (just east of Chen Du) in the past few months? Another place I keep meaning to try and somehow never get to.

                                        1. re: tony michaels
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                                          bulavinaka RE: tony michaels Apr 3, 2007 03:03 PM

                                          Went to Lin's with one of my munchkins for lunch today. He had the chicken with noodle soup (6.95) while I had the three flavors lunch special (5.95). The bowl of soup is quite large - the larger ramen-sized bowls are used, and they filled it with a large amount of sliced chicken breast, broccoli (not chinese), bok choy, sweet peas, egg noodles and a broth that was dark brown with a decent flavor.

                                          My three flavors lunch special included hot-sour soup (ehh), egg roll, steamed rice (you can choose fried as well), and a mix of chicken, beef, and shrimp with broccoli, zucchini, bok choy and carrots in a brown sauce that tasted similar to the broth in the soup.

                                          The nice things about both dishes were that they weren't oversalted or oily, the ingredients were fresh, and the dishes were prepared with a light hand so as to not overcook anything. The proteins were juicy and tender, while the veggies still had a nice bright color. For your average Chinese takeout/lunch specials kind of place, I'm really tempted to call it healthy compared to what you might get at other places. The portions are very generous - the soup alone would have fed the two of us. Likewise, the lunch combo will leave you pulling back after about two-thirds of the way through.

                                          What leaves me wanting is it would be nice if more asian veggies were used, and the seasoning, while seamingly healthy with little noticeable fat and salt, could have used more umph in the flavor department.

                                          I might say that the service was friendly and the food was prompt in its arrival. Not a bad deal at all - definitely a good place to go for a quick workweek lunch if you're on a budget and want something relatively healthy. "SGV 'Authentic'" it ain't...

                                          1. re: bulavinaka
                                            tony michaels RE: bulavinaka Apr 3, 2007 03:31 PM

                                            Thanks for being the test subject - doesn't sound like you were over whelmed, but for westside Chinese it sounds like it serves a purpose. Now if you get to El Sarape before I do I am going to feel like a real slow hound. ;-D

                                            1. re: tony michaels
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                                              bulavinaka RE: tony michaels Apr 3, 2007 03:46 PM

                                              I don't know whether to take that last part as a compliment or... ;) It was okay, not great, but I do give them high marks for freshness, prompt service & meal delivery, generous portions and a seemingly healthy balance of protein, veggies, light sauce, and TLC on the cooking. I typically like the char that a good wok setup can produce, but I have to admit - it was good their way as well. Definitely a good deal for a healthy workweek lunch - just don't expect Monterey Park in West LA.

                                    2. re: Tari
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                                      Snoopy RE: Tari Apr 2, 2007 01:15 PM

                                      Try the orange chicken (cheng pi chicken -- or somethign like that). It's fried. Very tasty.

                                      1. re: Snoopy
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                                        nosh RE: Snoopy Apr 2, 2007 03:10 PM

                                        Cheng Du now has two locations -- the former Chung King on Pico between Barrington and Gateway which retained most of the old staff, and the former Panda Cave on Westwood just north of Santa Monica Blvd, the next little strip mall north of Sunnin. Both have the good recipe for the hot and sour soup.

                                        Isn't Lin's the all-you-care-to-eat buffet place a bit further west on Pico? Ordinarily, that would fill a lunchtime niche, but the large portions and good hot'n'sour soup at Cheng Du make that a much better and cheaper option.

                                        1. re: nosh
                                          sing me a bar RE: nosh Apr 5, 2007 08:39 AM

                                          I guess it's too much to hope they do Chung King's old "dumplings in red" at Cheng Du, huh? They were amazing: thin-skinned small dumplings in this amazing sauce with red pepper oil. Sometimes people we took there would take one taste and order like three more orders immediately, in order to have enough for their own personal need! I'm glad some of the old staff is there, at least.

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                                      bulavinaka RE: Tari Apr 1, 2007 11:57 PM

                                      Okay - another good Westside rec for Chinese. My current Cantonese Westside go-to is Hop Woo on Olympic in West LA. Has anyone tried both Hop Woo and Hu's? I know they're different cuisines but I just wonder if they are similar in terms of quality... And I'm with Nosh about his feelings about disparaging remarks toward non-SGV Chinese eateries... How many of us really know what "authentic," is, and who cares anyway? As long as it's good, and the quality is apparent, I'm there...

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                                        shiffman RE: Tari Oct 12, 2008 05:49 PM

                                        I've been eating at Hu's for over 20 years.
                                        Try kung pao shrimp, yushaing egplant, the brocholli is good, string beans with pork.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: shiffman
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                                          nosh RE: shiffman Oct 12, 2008 06:12 PM

                                          OK, its been over a year and a half since I first contributed to this thread, and Hu's has become my top choice for westside Chinese by far. I get the $6.95 lunch combos, and I usually order the twice-cooked pork (spicy, without tofu) or the kung pao chicken (they do the best kung pao I've had in SoCal). If I'm sharing, the eggplant, but it is too oily and one-note to eat alone. But I must say, in attempts to shake things up I've had some major failures. Their sweet and sour chicken was so bready and soft it was like eating cornflakes that had sat in the milk far too long. And their shrimp chop suey was bland and boring -- and the shrimp themselves had this weird coating and off-taste so that I wouldn't have recognized them compared with the big, plump tasty specimens that they serve in their kung pao. But the dishes I like there are head-and-shoulders above the competitors' I've sampled all over the westside.

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