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JM, Miranda, Nichole, Phil and the kids ate the hot and sour soup, moo shu egg, seven color vegetarian crepes, ma po tofu, garlic eggplant, cashew shrimp, and house special tofu, plus four smoothies and a lemonade.
The bill was $66, or $11/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave House of Mei a B- (see our grading rubric).
This was our second visit to the storefront that used to house Brewer Square Gallery Bistro. It is still a small, intimate space, but now instead of funky art, there are TVs showing Chinese spy thrillers on MUTE.
House of Mei seems to be doing a brisk take-out trade which is certainly a plus, the minus was that this meant that our six-top table (really the only one occupied for most of our meal) was left to fend for itself. Refills on beverages never quite came, and other than food delivery, everything else was so slow that this ended up being a meal just under two hours. Thank goodness for good company.
The smoothie selection was first-rate. Nearly every color of the rainbow was represented and House of Mei drops a matching colored straw into every drink. These smoothies were sweet and satifying without getting treacly or too pulpy.
The main courses were pretty standard fare. The shrimp dishes were pleasantly umami but lacked a nuanced flavor, instead acting as if they were a blunt instrument. The tofu and vegetable dishes were warm and flavorful, but really lacked a convincing zing. Most dishes were covered in sauces that were a little too overbearing.
It certainly seems like House of Mei is a step up from Chinese restaurant in a box (the smoothies alone prove this), but sadly, it may be that their best take-out in SP strategy will serve them well even if that leaves Madison visitors out in the cold.