The MSG150 crew headed out into the cold, sunny winter's day for Mike's Noodle House. A few of us had been before a couple of years ago, and we knew it was small, but we thought that maybe we'd have luck finding room for our large group on this holiday Monday. We showed up with ten hungry lunchers at about 12:15 and there were already two other parties waiting, so it was on to plan two, Ga Ga Loc. We will circle back to Mike's the next trip out.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Szechuan Beef - $4.25
Fortune: You will hear from an old friend.
My first trip to Ga Ga Loc was over six months ago. After a long night at Seattle's Best Karaoke, we found ourselves craving some late night deep fried chinese. It was about 3:30 AM and we headed to our usual crappy Chinese spot - Purple Dot. Though the sign clearly indicated that they were 'open', we were refused service. An argument ensued. How could they refuse us service when we were so chipper and rational at that hour? Anyhow, they kindly directed us to Honey Court. Honey Court was clearly closing, but they redirected us to Ga Ga Loc. It was surprisingly crowded. I can't remember the food. The service was poor. Hell it may not have even been Ga Ga Loc. Or Seattle for that matter.
I walked in biased. This was the place all right. But where were the people? Maybe they do 90%+ of their business between 2 and 4 am. We were seated quickly; the table was clean and the menus had nice new covers. They have great bargains for lunch where everything seems to be less than $5.
I ordered the Szechuan Beef. The soup was average, the tea was good, and the beef wasn't bad. It was hot and fresh, had a nice flavor, and filled me up. It wasn't the best Szechuan Beef I've ever had, but it certainly wasn't bad. For $5, I get soup, a lunch, and some tea. This must be one of the better bargains in the international district.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Chicken with Assorted Vegetables - $4.25
Fortune: You have an active mind and a keen imagination
Ga Ga Loc (no relation to Tone) is a fairly typical looking small ID Chinese Restaurant. They have a large menu with a fancy faux suede cover that includes the standard
crappy American-Chinese lunch dishes. Being bound by rule #2, I scanned the lunch menu and went with what I figured was least likely to suck, the Chicken with Assorted Vegetables. Our waitress was very friendly and took our order in a timely manner and didn't seem too put off by our occasional indecisiveness or custom requests.
The $4.25 lunch special comes with only one soup option (no luck for the egg flower people) and our waitress brought out a large serving bowl and ladled out theH&SS right on our lazy susan. Nice show, but the soup sucked. I mean it sucked more than any H&SS has ever sucked before. No tang. No spice. Funky after taste. It could only be up hill from here. We'll maybe, but at an almost imperceptible grade. The lunch special came with white rice (no fried rice), which was probably lucky, since it didn't suck, and I'm pretty sure the fried rice would have. The gooey chicken-like lunch special with soggy veggies was not quite horrible. In fact, I'd call it just mediocre. Unfortunately, the sucky soup brings down the whole experience to a solid two chopstics.
Luncher: AdamLunch: General Tsao's Chicken - $4.25
Fortune: You luck has been completely chanted today.
Geary, Al and I had been to Ga Ga Loc before, and... lets just say that I wasn't excited to come back here.
I ordered a standard chinese dish: General Tsao's. It was disappointing. The chicken was over breaded. The sauce was bland. The rice was difficult to eat with chopsticks. My Hot & Sour Soup was neither hot nor sour. The soup was watery and the contents were mostly flavorless.
Don't feel bad about walking by this place on your way to something deliciouser
Luncher: AlLunch: General Tsao's Chicken - $4.25
Fortune: You will be invited to a social gathering.
Food was only o.k., but price was excellent.
Luncher: JeffLunch: Szechuan Beef - $4.25
Fortune: You will be invited to a social gathering.
Ga Ga Loc is a big loss of real estate for the ID community. As an Asian food provider I rank it only slightly above China Express that I can get at Safeway. I am glad that it appears to be a family run business rather than some chain. And, the restaurant itself was clean, comfortable, well maintained and capable of accommodating quite a crowd. Now, if only I could find as much good to say about the food… Not bad – just not memorable.
To be fair – the food is fresh and edible. It’s also a good value for a $5 lunch. At that price I had tea, soup and a meat / rice dish which I didn’t finish. The flavor simply lacks any inspiration or individuality. My dish was exactly as you’d expect for mainstream Chinese food in the US. The ingredients were fresh enough. The meat quality was fine. The rice was good. It just didn’t do anything other than meet the bar. In middle America, this place may be “great” ethnic cuisine. In the ID… it just doesn’t stand against the rest of the neighborhood.
Luncher: RobLunch: Kung Pao Tofu - $4.25
Fortune: Look in the right places, you can find some good offerings.
Ah yes, the unfortunately named Ga Ga Loc. I hadn't been here before, but the decor was so standard that I kind of felt like I had. I decided to try the tofu-cation thing again and ordered the Kung Pao Tofu, to which the waitress happily obliged. It's been years since I've had a Kung Pao dish, and I was actually looking forward to it. The hot and sour soup arrived, and it was really bad. You tilt the cup of soup and you can watch it unevenly ooze to the new level. Ugh. I was only able to choke it down by adding some hot sauce, and because everyone else seemed to be finishing theirs -- peer pressure made me eat it. The initial pot of tea was tepid. At this point I was thinking this was the worst Chinese restaurant I've been to in a long time, but then the Kung Pao arrived, and it wasn't terrible. It was a bit bland, and it was missing all those little red peppers I'm used to seeing in Kung Pao, but it wasn't terrible. I was able to eat most of it by adding some hot sauce, but the overly large baby corns tasted a little off, and the full pieces of bok choy were a little hard to manage. The main dish made me think about giving Ga Ga Loc a three, but then I remembered that I gave KC Kitchen a two. The main dishes were fairly similar in quality, and KC Kitchen's hot and sour soup was much better. So there you go. It was too bad that our original destination, Mike's Noodle House, was way too full when the MSG150 mob came a-calling.
Luncher: JoeyLunch: Broccoli Beef - $4.25
Fortune: You will visit a faraway land that has been in your thoughts.
Luncher: MichaelLunch: General Tsao's Chicken - $4.25
Fortune: Your life will be happy and peaceful.
Luncher: WayneLunch: Mongolian Beef - $4.25
Fortune: You will be successful in love.
VIP Luncher: Erin from Harborview Medical CenterLunch: Mongolian Beef - $4.25
Fortune: A career change may be in your future.
When we walked in and found the restaurant half empty, I knew this was not a good sign. They had an array of standard Chinese-American lunch specials, a dish with rice and soup for $4.25. I had the Mongonlian Beef, and since is was a day off of school for my kids, I ordered Sweet & Sour Pork and Chicken to take home for Max and Jake. The beef dish was standard stirfried beef with onions and green onions, in a brown sauce. The soup was a hot and sour soup, which had too much corn starch in it, so it was sort of stiff. The beef was fine, but nothing special, and I have had it prepared more interestingly elsewhere. the Sweet and Sour Chicken and Pork (two dishes) was pronounce "lame" by the boys. I think that better prepared and better tasting lunch specials can be had elsewhere, even at that price.
Since I start a new job this week, I thought my fortune was pretty funny.
Ga Ga Loc PhotosGa Ga Loc
Ga Ga Loc
Lunch Menu in Window
General Tsao's Chicken
Kung Pao Tofu
Chicken-like meat with Assorted Vegetables