Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lunch #12: House of Hong

House of Hong Wow! It's lunch number twelve and our first Dim Sum restaurant, House of Hong. To really enjoy Dim Sum you need to good size group and we got one. There were eight of us today and all were excited as we headed into the big house.

Today also forced us to add a new feature to our review format. Since Dim Sum is served family style (everyone shares), we have listed all of the dishes in their own section and not associated with each luncher. The cost shown for each luncher represents their share of the total. The CPAs out there may notice that the two lists don't add up. Our meal today cost $80, but the items below add up to $60. This is either because we have forgotten some items, the prices we got off of the HoH web site are out of date, or we were overcharged.

House of Hong, Seattle
Address: 409 8th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Cuisine: Chinese: Dim Sum
Average rating: 3 chopsticks
Lunch date: 12/12/2007 @ 12:15:00
Time taken to be seated: 0 minutes
Time to take order: 0 minutes
Time for food to arrive: 2 minutes
Total lengh of meal: 49 minutes
Chopstix quality: Nice plastic
Do they use MSG?: Yes
Where is the owner/chef from?: Hong Kong
Number of tables: 45
Number of occupied tables: 31 (68%)
Number of business lunch tables: 6 (19%)
Number of "local" tables: 15 (48%)
Healthcode Score: 15
Links: Yelp!, Urbanspoon
House of Hong

Family Style Dishes

  • Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce - $4.35
  • Egg Tart - $2.30
  • Honey Walnut Prawns - $6.50
  • 2 x Meat Ball (Siu Mai) - $2.85 ($5.70)
  • Nira/Shrimp Dumpling - $3.15
  • Seafood Foon Gor - $3.15
  • Sesame Ball (Gin Duey) - $2.30
  • 3 x Shrimp Ball (Ha Gow) - $2.85 ($8.55)
  • 2 x Shrimp Ball Salad - $2.85 ($5.70)
  • Shrimp Toast - $2.85
  • Spareribs in Garlic Sauce - $2.85
  • 2 x Steamed BBQ Hum Bow (Pork Buns) - $2.30 ($4.60)
  • 2 x Sticky Rice (No Mai Bowl) - $3.70 ($7.40)

Luncher: Adam

Lunch: Family style - $10.00
Fortune: The current year will bring you much happiness.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Adam's Review

If I were to come up with the traditional American restaurant equivalent to House of Hong Dim Sum, it would Old Country Buffet. This place is huge, and the amount of conversation at other tables is low... everyone appears to be very busy eating.

Normally, if we wanted to go to Dim Sum, we would head to Jade Garden (not reviewed yet). I actually kind of felt like I was cheating on JG, especially as our group walked past it on our back from House of Hong.

What was good at the International House of Hong? well, I really thought their pork spare ribs were above average. Greasy, but they put a blackbean sauce on them that was very good. This spare ribs also seemed to have more meat (and less bone) than other dim sum restaurants provide on the spare ribs (vegatarians, please don't tell me that pigs don't have any ribs to spare). I also liked the shrimp toast. You may be asking what shrimp toast is, and I'll enlighten you: shrimp, toasted bread, and butter. These were heavy on the butter, and therefore delicious.

What didn't I like? In general, I just like food... so its hard to figure this out. Although, the Sesame Bun that we got wasn't quite up-to-snuff.

More expensive than other places. Extra-pushy Dim Sum dealers. Nice atmosphere. Decent Dim Sum.

Luncher: Emmett

Lunch: Family style - $10.00
Fortune: You will have a change of heart.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Emmett's Review

This place is freaking awesome. It's like that place in that scene in Kill Bill Vol 1 -- I kept waiting for ninjas to bust in and do some breakdance fighting. It didn't happen. The interior of the space is vast, multi-leveled, with different areas for different styles of people. There are booths, the large tables in the middle, and then there's an area with a big mural of pandas and a disco ball.

The Dim Sum were good and satisfying, but fall short of greatness. The Siu Mai were a bit larger than what we usually get at Jade Garden, and it seemed like they had less meat and more filler. They were a bit bland as well, and the hot sauce they supply was a peppery but not as sweet as I like. The spareribs were quite good, and the shrimp toast was interesting. The service was attentive and quick.

I like this place a lot -- better than Purple Dot dim sum, but not quite as good as Jade Garden.

Luncher: Geary

Lunch: Family style - $10.00
Fortune: Control your temper is an imperative for many at present.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Geary's Review

House of Hong is furnished exactly like the Chinese Restaurant ride as Disney Land might be, big chandelier, large paintings, and various gaudy Chinese declarations. My expectation for good food is always inversely proportional to the gaudiness of the decor. It's also huge, with close to 45 tables, which made it seem like their lunch business was slow even though there were over 30 large tables of people.

The first rule of Dim Sum is that there must be enough people at the restaurant so that the carts can maintain a good selection of fresh offerings. In that respect HoH makes the bar. Everything we selected was hot and the selection was ample. My favorites were the Sui Mai and Gin Duey (Seafood Balls). Most of the other stuff was fine, but in most cases I have had better. The service was fast, but the servers were a bit pushy and seemed put off when we asked to cut a few items in half.

Luncher: Erin

Lunch: Family style - $10.00
Fortune: Control your temper is an imperative for many at present.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Erin's Review

House of Hong is a classic dim sum restaurant in a gigantic Hong Kong way. They have a huge room with lots of large tables. The place was mostly full, with a mix of Asians and non-Asians. The food cart is rushed to your table as soon as you are sitting, and the cart ladies do not take “no more” for an answer. The dim sum itself is a very general and well known collection of bite size yummies. I tried the shumai, shrimp won tons, shrimp toast, sticky rice, a fancy fried ball we called “Party Balls” (they looked like they had streamers on them), sesame ball with pork & shrimp, and of course an egg tart. For the most part everything was very tasty. It’s fairly classic dim sum, and it’s not highly flavored, but there’s soy sauce and chili sauce for that. Mostly everything has shrimp and pork in it; the only other variety at the table was the spare ribs and stir fried Chinese broccoli. The items that fell short for me were the shrimp toast (too greasy), the sesame ball (too chewy), and the egg tart had an off flavor in the crust. This is a place that I’ve been to before and I’ll go again because you get exactly what you expect from an old style American dim sum spot.

Luncher: Michael

Lunch: Family style - $10.00
Fortune: Your senior years will be happy and successful.
Rating: 2 Chopsticks

Michael's Review

Expectations. That's what it's all about as we march down the MSG path towards our ultimate goal of triple bypass goodness.

House of Hong looks great. It's big, clean and open. Seating for hundreds. Paintings of panda bears and Tsingtao lanterns. Visual clues that try to tell me that this place is going to be better than that other place we usually eat at. I was hungry and my expectations where high.

As is so often the case my expectations got trampled on by big bad greasy reality of bad shrimp toast. Overall the food was average at best. I can't think of a single item we tried that would ever tempt me back to the House of Hong. Most of the items were not fresh and tended towards the greasy.

The shrimp toast looked so good. It seemed like such a perfect combination. Shrimp *and* Toast. Expectations just keep getting in the way don't they? The toast had as much nasty cold grease as something you might find under a heat lamp in an Idaho truck stop.

You know that mediocre food the hotel serves you at the convention banquet hall? It certainly looks good, and you are hungry enough to eat it, but in the end it just kind of sucks? House of Hong serves up the dim sum version of that food. I won't be going back.

Luncher: Matt

Lunch: Family style - $10.00
Fortune: The happiest circumstances are close to home.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Luncher: Al

Lunch: Family style - $10.00
Fortune: You have an ability to sense and know higher truth.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Luncher: Erica

Lunch: Family style - $10.00
Fortune: Control your temper is an imperative for many at present.
Rating: 4 Chopsticks

Erica's Review

House of Hong Photos

House of Hong
House of Hong

Door of Hong
Door of Hong


Dim Sum
Dim Sum

Dim Sum
Dim Sum


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