Wo Hop -- worst meal of my life
I've traveled a bit in my younger days and I've had some pretty foul meals in the back of beyond. Weeks and weeks living on taro in New Guinea with maybe a bit of rat or lizard the dog brought in. But I have a new winner.
I decided the time had come to try Wo Hop. I couldn't claim to know about Chinatown without trying the most famous restaurant there. So down the staircase I went. Five o'clock and every seat was taken. I waited on line. The waiters seated me at the first table that came free, a four-top, even though there was a party of four behind me. A rare kindness. I should add that service was excellent. Though overworked, they found time to bring me water and whatever else I asked for immediately. The ambiance was really cool. I wanted to love this place, and I was hoping for excellent renditions of American Chinese classics.
I ordered squid in black bean sauce, which I love. And out it came, squid floating in lake of brown glop, like flotsam on the muddy banks of a fetid bayou. The taste was indescribably foul. I thought the squid had putrefied. It's hard to tell but I'm pretty sure it was the sauce. It took so much will power to eat each bite.
They have photos on the wall, head shots of people I've never seen before. Maybe if you finish every bit of your food, they let you put your photo on the wall. I will never know if this is true, because I didn't qualify.
17 Mott Street (downstairs)
see also my post http://www.chowhound.com/topics/302791 -- the first paragraph of which was written about Wo Hop.
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I've been eating regularly in Chinatown for about 35 years, and yes, Wo Hop has become an armpit. I stopped going there years ago,, even when out-of-town visitors asked about it. Sad to say, but I believe that the overall level of dining in Chinatown has fallen. So many places are just plain bad that it's almost a relief to get a mediocre meal served without rudeness. Last Sunday at HSF I sat, waiting for a glass of water, or tea, or the TsingToa beer I ordered when I was seated... for ten minutes. The carts came by, and I waited... and waited. Finally, one of the floor managers came over and said that the tables are for people who are here to eat, not just to sit and order nothing. So, I reminded him that I asked him to have a waiter bring me a TsingToa... where was it? Did he see it on my table? Where is a glass of cold water for a man on a hot day? Where is my tea, if this is, indeed, a tea meal? "Bring me what I asked for, and give me a moment to have a sip of my drink, and then I'll order. I will not be rushed, especially in a restaurant that's not even half full." Bah! Who needs that kind of rudeness?
Brian, I always enjoy your restaurant reviews and appreciate your recommendations. But I must say, the link you provided at the bottom here is my favorite part of this post -- that was one of the most entertaining threads I have read in a while. I missed it the first time around (I was an occasional newbie then, and never posted, myself). Thanks- I think it should be nominated for the current "classic Chowhound threads" topic thats been popular lately.
heh...yeah, i have a vague drunken memory of my last foul meal there about 7 years ago...(and some more pleasant but equally drunken remembrances from before then)...thanks for the cautionary tale and i hope recall it if i'm ever tempted in the inebriated future...
However, i do have a fond Wo Hop memory: my dementia once led me to get takeout salt baked squid and carry it all the way to eat at the Marz Bar at 3am w/ some Jameson's...foul meats foul and celebrates...