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Feb 18, 2012 05:44 PM

Won-Ton Hut: Good food spoiled by stubborn owner!

Hong Kong style won-ton noodle soup is one of my favourite comfort food. With Big Joy and V2 both gone out of business, places offering 'relatively authentic' won-ton noodles is becoming far and few in the GTA. One such survivor is Won-Ton Hut in Markham ( Hwy7 and Warden ).

In the mood for some shrimp won-ton and Braised beef and tendon ( Lo Mien ) noodles, I head over there after work. The 'Lo Mien' menu offers patrons the choice of one single topping or a combo of 2 or 3 'pick and choose' toppings, including won-ton, beef brisket, fish or beef balls, octopus balls, hand cut sliced fatty beef, penny hot sauce...etc.

Wanting more beef brisket and tendons to go with my noodles, I asked for a combo of 2 toppings: brisket + brisket. A plate of noodles with extra brisket toppings! No big deal! Right?! Wrong!!! When the server came back to tell me the owner refused this combination and declined my order!! I was shocked! The reason given being that my request is not the norm and unlike won-ton or fish balls whose quantity can be counted, brisket quantity is hard to judge?!!! Are you kidding me!!! A restaurant refusing to allow me to 'double-size' my meal!!! Anyways, I settled for a single topping option and called it a day.

I'm still surprise to find, in this day and age, owner/management can be so stubborn and non-accommodating!!

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  1. What if you'd ordered the single item option with beef brisket and tendon, but asked them to add more for an extra dollar or two? Do you think they would have refused that as well? I think restaurants should always honour requests that aren't total culinary blasphemy (and even honour those too sometimes, in the name of good customer relations). A surcharge for odd requests shouldn't be an unreasonable compromise.

    1 Reply
    1. re: 1sweetpea

      That's exactly what I did!!
      However, owner still told me its 'impossible' for the cook, dishing out the brisket, to determine the' proper value' of the meat to put on top! So, NO CAN DO!!!!!!
      Didn't realize one needs a degree in Mathematics to work as a cook!!
      1 noodle + 5 pieces of brisket = $5. Give me a couple of large pieces and charge me $2! Whats the big deal??!!

    2. Your experience indicates to me that the beef brisket topping is likely the most costly to the restaurant (not surprisingly) of the available topping choices...certainly much more costly than wontons or fish balls. For LoMein they charge $5. for single topping, $6 for 2 and $7 for 3 toppings. So your request to double the single portion of brisket for a buck more was not something the owner was willing to do. Your request was a reasonable one, but his response is understandable too....if his rationale is based on maintaining an acceptable profit margin and to stay in business. He should probably spell out this exception in the menu, but maybe he doesn't get this request very often. A plate of brisket (and veggies) could be had for $7....it would be interesting to know how the quantity of brisket here compares to the single topping. Bottomline his menu, his rules. I usually go for the noodles in soup with 2 toppings - wontons and brisket for $5. Now I suspect it is also good value!

      6 Replies
      1. re: T Long

        Okay, but what if they had charged Charles $8, instead of $5? Couldn't they have justified the expense?

        1. re: T Long

          I understand also. I have many customers ask to order a regular "sushi combo" but ask for all tuna...

          1. re: T Long

            @ T Long. Your explanation seemed entirely logical. However, I still cannot get over the action by the owner who declined to take in extra revenue even if though the customers are willing to pay?!
            BTW, your mentioning of the $7 brisket + Veggie plate also made a good reference point! If a pile of brisket and a few strands of veggies on the side costs $7. Assuming $1 for the veggie and $6 for the meat. My request for $2 extra meat amounts to 1/3 of the brisket platter. Now, that's not too hard to dish out? Right?!
            Anyways, bottom line is that owner totally lacked business savvy, IMO!!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              Could the relationship between # of toppings and the quantity of topping be non-linear? For example if you wanted a single topping of wontons, you might get 4 wontons, but if you asked for 2 toppings of wontons and fish balls, you might get 3 wonton dumplings and 3 fish balls. That is, the extra charge for multiple toppings is as much for getting the variety as for getting a bit more quantity.....just a thought, but that might explain part of the owner's dilemma here. Btw, I would have given you 1/3 of the normal brisket plate for your 2 bucks.

              1. re: T Long

                The other thing that bugs me was that the owner knew me as a regular!!! Since I was there 3 times in the past 10 days!!

          2. No one has mentioned the quality and flavour of the food. I gather it's very good and worth the drive from downtown?

            5 Replies
            1. re: Tatai

              Check out this thread.... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719830 . I find the Wonton Hut one of the better options for wonton noodles. Would I come from downtown for it?....probably not.

              1. re: T Long

                i tried wonton hut based on the recommendations here once . Service was good. But I found the noodle to have too much of the 'bleach' taste. Maybe just an off day.
                But the rest of the food was good and so was service. Just that the won ton noodle mein smelled very strong on the day that I went. So I went back to V2. Unfortunately V2 is no longer around. So when I feel like wonton noodle, I go to the one next to Golden Court on Highway 7.

                1. re: caitlink

                  Weird. In my experience it's V2 that has the stronger alkaline taste in their noodles and not Wonton Hut. I've been to both a fair bit so maybe it was just an off day for them.

              2. re: Tatai

                Together with the ' Chicken and Noodle' restaurant ( aka Jun Jun ) in Scarborough, these two places are a rare breed that offer ultra-fine al-dente noodles, broth made with roasted tiled fish and dred shrimp eggs and condiments that include yellowing chives...... the main ingredients for a good bowl of 'authentic Hong Kong style Won-Ton noodles". IMO, apart from Swatow that comes relatively close to these two up-town places, I am not aware of any places downtown that offer such a product?!
                However, whether its worth the drive uptown just to give them a try?! It all depends whether you are in the mood or have the time?!

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  I wouldn't drive from downtown just for Wonton Hut or JunJun, Swatow is a good substitute. If you're planning to do an all afternoon eating trip hitting up various spots, then it's worth a stop. Finish off w/ shopping at Foodymart or something.

                  I still mourn the loss of Big Joy, most lamented loss of the last 5 yrs for me. Wonjo a close 2nd.

                  The owner should've just charged you $3 for more brisket, he's not being very Chinese on this one. Easy sell!

              3. Next time you're there, leave them a tip. "Buy a weigh scale."

                1. Sounds a lot like the "Soup Nazi" character on Seinfeld.