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Hai Di Lao? WTF is this? Paging Chandavkl, TonyC

  • n

"Hai Di Lao, which translates to "fishing in the bottom of the sea" in Mandarin, is a tech-savvy, customer service driven enterprise, sort of like the Benihana of hot pot. Abroad, patrons waiting for tables can play board games, use the internet, eat free snacks, or even get a manicure and shoeshine.

Customers order via iPads and the restaurant offers a "cyber" dining room equipped with flat screen tvs and a service that enables businessmen to conduct video chat meetings while dining. The room costs $65 per hour.

Hai Di Lao owner Zhang Yong trains "noodle masters" for about four to six months in the art of stretching balls of dough into noodles by "whipping the center out like a jump rope and rippling and swirling it through the air like the ribbons." (The old Philippe on Melrose offered a less grand performance like this.) Eventually those noodles are dropped into diners' broths."

I'm so confused by this restaurant.



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  1. overly extravagant mainland hotpot?

    1. Sounds like TonyC is the only one who has actually been there. There have been some anticipatory discussions, on this board I believe, involving ClarissaW and JThur01

      1. OMG. HaiDiLao was my favorite hot pot place in China. The service was amazing. They also had this refrigerator so you can see the freshness of the produce and meat they were using that day. I cannot wait for the official opening.

        1. http://www.haidilao.com/index.html

          HDL 海底捞火锅 operates 24 hours, and across major cities in China

          Some other Chinese websites and their takes


          1. More pics you can view by entering 海底捞火锅 in google image search.

            1. Not so confusing.

              ips says it's his most highly anticipated restaurant in LA: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9023...

              Eater update here: http://la.eater.com/archives/2013/09/...

              Saw the soup base price of $5/pp and walked the F back out seeing there were no free pedicures. HDL was exposed for using "bone glue" ( http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing... ) back in '11, kinda like how Top Pot Bakery is getting F'd right now, with 小S apologizing for no good reason.

              Real journo types can go interview Mr. Yong + the cherub American interior designer but my $40/pp++ (avg ticket since soft opening) meals will be at Papilles. This place, much like SN1, will never get a dime from mi familia. It's great LA is getting all that EB-5 money though.

              5 Replies
              1. re: TonyC

                Well put as always, speaking of which I still need to check out Papilles.

                1. re: Johnny L

                  Hate Papilles. The owners/waiters are rude and sloppy. My friends and I booked 2 tables of 6 a long while back when they offered a 50% off Blackboard Eats code. One table had members that ran 45 mins late due to the crazy Friday evening traffic. At first, they let the first table begin ordering. Rather than to let the first table finish and leave timely, they decided to keep the first table waiting for dessert until they were able to serve both tables dessert at once (guess as a courtesy so that we can all leave together?).... but after all that was said and done, as we left, I was pulled aside and told that I can no longer book tables of 6 because I prevented them from being able to turn over our tables for a 2nd seating and cost them profit.

                  That was rude, and I thought it was not my fault since they allowed parties of 6 to be booked through Urbanspoon and that it was their decision to hold up one table and not mine.

                  Later, I booked a table for 1 at 7pm for their 1st Anniversary special ($17 3-course dinner) but got a call a a day before my reservation that they cannot seat me because there was a glitch with Urbanspoon and that I should not have been able to make that reservation. So, I agree to cancel it.

                  Then minutes later, after thinking that this all sounded fishy, I tried to book a table for 1 for 5:30pm instead, and it was available. So took it. But after having second thoughts about the way I was treated by them in the past, I decided to cancel the next morning.

                  Soon thereafter, I get a call that they're upset that I canceled the reservation because they did me a favor by honoring my 5:30 pm reservation after feeling bad about forcing me to cancel my 7pm reservation. Then, they pretty much old me to please don't ever dine at Papilles again... WTH?

                  1. re: TripleAxel

                    " Then, they pretty much old me to please don't ever dine at Papilles again... "
                    I hate this kind of atittude among business establishments. This is just very poor PR. How many potential customers will they lose?

                2. re: TonyC

                  Damn, I need a translator to translate what you just stated here.

                  1. re: kevin

                    it's like thomas pynchon or a godard film, kevin. you're not supposed to understand it, you're just supposed to say you read it(or saw it) at parties or in bars.

                3. Does anyone use pagers anymore ?

                  Why don't you just call them up ? :)

                  1. Maybe this could become the Chinese equivalent of Medieval Times.

                    1. Finally made it out here. This is the real deal. Blows any hotpot in the SGV totally out of the water. Unparalleled level of service (approaching the annoying). The downside is the cost. This was more expensive than Hakkasan, which I didn't think was possible. If any semblance of value is important to you, this is not the place. If it's only about the food, this is the place. Meanwhile I have to defer my retirement for a year after eating here and Hakkasan in consecutive weeks.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        Any more details on the food here at Hai Di Lo ???

                        Thanks man.

                        1. re: kevin

                          "Any more details on the food here at Hai Di Lo ???"

                          Is this a Cab Calloway production?

                          1. re: Servorg

                            I think I mis=spelled the above name of the restaurant.

                          2. re: kevin

                            I had the tomato broth (they have five total to choose from). It was rich and flavorful Pick your ingredients off an iPad. Pricey at $10 plus or minus per choice, though you have a half order option. Clearly high quality ingredients, nice selection of sauces. Spicy beef and sesame were my favorites. Dinner may be reservations only, but lunch crowd was sparse. I'm not coming back unless somebody else is paying.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              I went a few weeks ago. got the seafood base. It was pretty good tbh

                              all the ingredients seemed to be on the high end in terms of quality, with prices to match. The performance(s) made the night a bit more special, just a little gimmicky.

                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                I see $10 for a bowl of soup as opposed to Hakkahasan's now infamous $288 duck.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  Obviously depends what you order. Representative lunch at Hakkasan was $55 p/p. Paid $65 at Hai Di Lao.

                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                        The neighborhood was already long gone.

                                      2. re: Chandavkl

                                        "Representative lunch at Hakkasan was $55 p/p. Paid $65 at Hai Di Lao."

                                        Yikes. and chandavkl, you're a light eater right? (i remember you said you don't eat that much so you can try more chinese restaurants :>

                                        i can see what TonyC is saying about this place. if it cost you $65 per person to eat Chinese hot pot, i think it might cost average eaters even more (even $65 pp is crazy). did they offer you White Truffles or 24k Gold Flakes? LOL. i'm with Tony, I'm not eating here.

                                        1. re: chowseeker1999

                                          Well, I did pig out at both places since they were good and I knew I wouldn't be back. That having been said, I didn't not have anything fancy at Hai Di Lao (e.g., no angus beef) having just fish, meat balls, konjac, glass noodles and a few tofu products.

                                2. re: Chandavkl

                                  I'm saddened by the fact you haven't issued the memo to your kids about sponsoring your retirement.

                                  ... when I was young...