Ho Ho Chinese BBQ open
With the opening of Ho Ho Chinese BBQ, there are now three--count 'em--Chinese BBQ places in (north) Austin! How will this all play out?!
Ho Ho has a menu similar to Din Ho, including live seafood (crab, geoduck clams, lobster, oysters, king prawns). Ho Ho seems to have a longer menu, but Din Ho usually has off-menu specials.
The exterior is essentially unchanged from the original Village Inn. Inside, more extensive renovation creates a very typically modern Chinese aesthetic, although keeping the booths along two walls still evoke the coffee-shop structure of the previous tenant. There are some nice touches, such as plastic chopsticks instead of throwaway wooden ones. Presentation is a little fancier than Din Ho or First Chinese BBQ. Fish fillet with corn sauce, for example, was served on a large plate bordered by cucumber fans and thin orange slices. The fish (grouper?) had a nice "bite" to it, like scallops.
It's only been open for two weeks, so they're still working things out. So far, it's looking good.
We split the pork and duck bbq plate and Singapore noodles for lunch today.
The duck was not roasted to the point where the skin had any crispiness to it, and it didn't have much pronounced flavor. The pork was better, and it was nicely carmelized on the outside.
The Singapore noodles were great - both shrimp and choppeed up pieces of the bbq pork were tossed with the slightly curried noodles, scallions, other vegetables, and an egg. I use Singapore noodles as a "go to" dish for comparison, and Ho Hos version was very good.
I'll have to say that the staff is very friendly and courteous. A man that looked like he might be an owner stopped by to ask us if we were enjoying things. There is about a billion things on the menu - he said that the menu will be online soon.
I probably won't get the duck again soon, partly because there are so many items to try (I'm just addicted to the duck at Wok and Roll). Maybe someone else could report with better Ho Ho experiences.
I went to Ho Ho for lunch today. The service was good. The owner and hostess and wait staff were really friendly even though I had my two small messy kids with me. Our party ordered pan fried seafood noodle, Chinese greens stir fried with deep fried tofu (not on the menu), and 1/2 BBQ duck.
I really liked the place, though I must say Firsty Chinese has better duck. The duck tasted great and had good juice, but it was not crispy. It was better than Din Ho the last time I had Din Ho though, but Din Ho's duck can be inconsistent.
The pan fried seafood noodle was with a white sauce, it was slightly undersalted but good.
The veggies and tofu were excellent.
Over all I would say theplace was okay but First is better. I would go back to try other things for sure, and recommend the place to others, though.
Had lunch here today (Sunday), and have generally good things to say about this. Contrary to previous reports, I thought the duck today had quite a nice crispy skin to it. Two of us had the 1/2 portion of "Beijing Duck" (shouldn't this dish still be called Peking Duck?) and we liked it a lot.
Staff was friendly and attentive.
One thing I've noticed, and not just here, is that a lot of Chinese restaurants serve pretty tasteless white rice. I realize that you are getting sauces with the dishes, but good white rice can make a dish a lot more special.
Well, I don't mind place names changing to better reflect the local name (for example, my wife comes from the city of Goteborg, which in English we call Gothenberg, which is confusing; just call it what the locals do), but changes in place names don't have to be reflected in other proper names. Volgograd is the new name, but we still refer to the Battle for Stalingrad, or it would get hugely confusing.
I was back at Ho Ho's for dinner last night, and our initial pleasant impression was reinforced. This time we had friends with us, and Chinese dinners simply are more enjoyable with more people so you can order more food and try more things. The food was as good as we expected and the service was pleasant.
One thing to take note of is that dishes similar to what you might get at Asia Cafe (ie. the Szechuan Bass), is less oily at Ho Ho's and a touch less hot, without becoming generic American strip mall Chinese food. This means that if I eat a little too much, my internals aren't quite as badly affected.
I hesitate to reply conclusively to this because I haven't had Peking Duck for so long before this week, so my judgement may well be off. I will say that we did have it a second time, and all four of us liked it. Have to go on a Peking Duck comparison tour next week. What are the contenders? First Chinese, Din Ho and Ho Ho's? I like the duck at Wok & Roll, but they don't serve it as Peking Duck (with the Hoisin sauce and all).
Oh, I was just saying that the roasted duck at Ho Ho was just okay when I had it.......it seemed like your two experiences were good, so that would encourage me to go back sooner rather than later. So that's a good thing.
The Wok & Roll duck comes with a sauce if you ask the guy for it. But of course, it's still different.
I have only tried Ho Ho during lunch but I would say they are a very good option.
The standard Cantonese lunch fare are in very good portions and tasty. I've had the duck won ton noodle soup and the roast pork rice plate at $6 and $6.50 respectively.
The Roast pork plate is a nice filling portion of roast pork with pickled vegetables and rice. The pork skin was all crispy with a layer of fat underneath, then meat. The meat could stand to be a bit more tender but the skin was almost 100% crispy which is rare.
Will go back some time later and try out some of their more exotic seafood selections such as spot prawns (sweet shrimp/amaebi) and geoduck clams.
For the winter, a nice choice is Shandong noodle soup ($9), a generous bowl containing
sea scallop coins, whole shrimp, sliced squid, sliced beef, sliced chicken,
shiitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms,
bean sprouts, napa cabbage,
white onions, green onions, carrot (?), ginger, and jalapeno slices
in a savory, spicy broth. Now that's a hearty lunch!