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Sifton - Wo Hop, Today's NYT

michele cindy Jul 7, 2010 04:02 AM

In today’s NYT there's a brief mention/review of Wo-Hop. The last 3 times (I gave it 3 times, I really wanted it to get better, but it never did) the food had seriously gone down hill. Seriously, down hill that I vowed never to return. Has something changed? I miss their Cantonese crabs, before they turned into a gummy brown concoction.

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Wo Hop
17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

  1. Duppie Jul 9, 2010 11:43 AM

    The food at Wo Hop has pretty much been always marginal, inebriated or not. but to relay a funny story, I was courting my first wife and after much kowtowing to Chinese family and friends, I managed to wrangle a dinner invite.
    After the tea was poured and I remarked how good and
    'Lemony" the tea was in order to ingratiate myself with the 7 family members at the table, I was greeted with a concert of hearty laughter.
    My future wife told me quite discretely that the 'lemon" I tasted was simply the residue from the washing of the tea dispensers every Friday. To this day I still think that my past inlaws get a hearty chuckle from that dinner and the fact that they broke me into the Chinatown family experience dining at a "lo fan" friendly place.

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    Wo Hop
    17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

    1. thew Jul 9, 2010 07:49 AM

      is wo hop or hop kee the one with both an upstairs and a downstairs space?

      as i recall the hot and sour soup was completely different in the 2 settings

      2 Replies
      1. re: thew
        m
        mrfinewine Jul 9, 2010 10:57 AM

        Wo Hop has an upstairs and a downstairs; Hop Kee is downstairs only.

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        Wo Hop
        17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

        Hop Kee
        21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: mrfinewine
          Asumnuthin Jul 9, 2010 11:16 AM

          I completly miss the dim sum place that occupied the above space at Hop Kee. Seems most of the waiters have ventured to chatum sq. so thats where we go now, but so many memories at the other space.

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          Hop Kee
          21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

      2. c
        Chandavkl Jul 8, 2010 02:46 PM

        That kind of cuisine never gets better.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chandavkl
          m
          mrfinewine Jul 8, 2010 03:32 PM

          It's been bad three of the four times I've eaten there over the past three years or so. Hop Kee, on the other hand, another old-school place right next door, still turns out some decent Cantonese food. It's MUCH better than Wo Hop but isn't open as late.

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          Wo Hop
          17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

          Hop Kee
          21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

        2. f
          filmbomb Jul 7, 2010 05:12 PM

          Unless its 4am and you are bombed (and your stomach and digestive tract is under 25 years old) Wo Hop is to be avoided at all costs.

          Of course if you meet the above requirements, its nirvana.

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          Wo Hop
          17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

          1 Reply
          1. re: filmbomb
            s
            snaporaz Jul 9, 2010 07:18 AM

            Couldn't agree more. I used to go to Wo Hop with my restaurant-worker friends after post-service drinks around 3-4 AM - and even then it was barely acceptable. But sober at dinner-time? Culinary suicide.

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            Wo Hop
            17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

          2. scoopG Jul 7, 2010 05:22 AM

            Since it has been churning out the same food at the original location for 72 years, I guess it deserved a mention. Like he says, "an authentic taste of an inauthentic past."

            10 Replies
            1. re: scoopG
              michele cindy Jul 7, 2010 05:58 AM

              It's the same menu, but the quality of the food wasn't the same. In light of the mention I'm game to try again to see if my last 3 visits were just flukes... If his visit was as awful as mine were I don't think he would have written the article. Right???

              1. re: michele cindy
                Bob Martinez Jul 7, 2010 06:40 AM

                Let me ask you a question. In view of the universal contempt with which Wo Hop is held on this board (and your 3 bad meals to boot) what are the odds that Sifton is right?

                A life long New Yorker, Sifton has a nostalgic affection for places that he's been visiting for years. He gave a star to Chin Chin and he mentioned Shun Lee Palace on his Sifty Fifty. Wo Hop fits right in. He's the King of Cantonese.

                http://events.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/dining/reviews/24rest.html

                http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                -----
                Wo Hop
                17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                Chin Chin
                216 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

                Shun Lee Palace
                155 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022

                1. re: Bob Martinez
                  michele cindy Jul 7, 2010 08:19 AM

                  I was hoping for a miracle. I really miss those crabs. My husband has that same nostalgic feeling for the place and prods me every now and then to go again.

                  1. re: michele cindy
                    Bob Martinez Jul 7, 2010 08:30 AM

                    When I worked for the city in the late 1970s we went to Wo Hop for lunch. A co-worker was touting it.

                    "You gotta have the chow fun! It's great!"

                    What my co-worker didn't say was that he had no effing palate. We finally went to Wo Hop and ordered the fabled chow fun. When the waiter brought it out I remember thinking "That looks just like a plate of greasy noodles." When I tasted it, I thought "Greasy and bland too." Meanwhile my co-worker was smacking his lips and wolfing it down. He got to eat 3/4 of mine too.

                    The won ton soup, OTOH, was delicate, fresh, and full of flavor.

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                    Wo Hop
                    17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                    1. re: michele cindy
                      Steve R Jul 9, 2010 05:13 AM

                      Michele -- I think that the only part of this that we find amusing is that you used to think highly of Wo Hop before the last 3 meals there :-) Hey, you're a long time poster with lots of good posts behind you... this wont bring your average down too much, but really. I've been going to Wo Hop (downstairs, but I havent heard that upstairs was significantly different... maybe it is??) since 1968 and, even then, the food was (as Bob M. says) a greasy mess. But, it was '68 and... well, never mind. Wo Hop was always a grease trap of a place. And the congee was thin. And the meats were... well, suspect. Hey, A-Rod & maybe even David Wright (I just say that for Bob's sake) can have a bad run and then come back... you cant come back if you've never been.

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                      Wo Hop
                      17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                      1. re: Steve R
                        michele cindy Jul 9, 2010 06:33 AM

                        I stand by my older comments :). Their crabs cantonese were great until their slide downhill to muck, when they got it right, the duck chow fun was good, and their wonton soup as well. Had you ever tried the crabs? Lot's of beer and late hours couldn't have fogged my memory that much?

                        1. re: michele cindy
                          Steve R Jul 9, 2010 07:09 AM

                          Nope, I gotta admit that I would never have trusted them enough to order anything like crabs. I'll have to believe you and Bob that the soup might have been a matter of taste and state of mind but the duck chow fun was always one of the greasiest, questionable dark meat dishes I ever ordered repeatedly (hey, I didnt say anything about inedible... especially not at 1am when I was in my teens). My friends and I moved on to Hong Ying next door for the next 10 years... great little black snails and a much better soup (wor suey kau... roughly "kitchen sink" (my translation)).

                  2. re: michele cindy
                    k
                    kathryn Jul 7, 2010 07:56 AM

                    In his Dining Brief he discusses doctoring two of the dishes with soy sauce and hot sauce (presumably to make them palatable) and eating another with a lot of white rice (which is another kind of doctoring IMO). And the duck he mentions having the "wok hay" of an "endearing hobo"? When else has he described a restaurant's food that way?

                    1. re: kathryn
                      Bob Martinez Jul 7, 2010 08:05 AM

                      "In his Dining Brief he discusses doctoring two of the dishes with soy sauce and hot sauce ..."

                      I'll bet dips his fried noodles in duck sauce too. The King of Cantonese.

                      1. re: Bob Martinez
                        Phil Ogelos Jul 7, 2010 08:16 AM

                        "I'll bet dips his fried noodles in duck sauce too."
                        Men have been seriously hurt for saying things like that aloud in Shenzhen, Bob. Watch your back next time you visit your factory there.

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