Hong Kong Cafe
In a word: Great, actually.
JM ate the barbecue pork with snow peas and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the Emperor's chicken and jasmine tea.
We split an order of cream cheese puffs (crab rangoon).
The bill was $26, or $13/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave a Hong Kong Cafe an A- (see our grading rubric).
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Hong Kong Cafe serves up some of the better, fresher Chinese food in Madison. We chose the downtown location because it was most convenient for us, but it was also fun to watch the traffic roll by right outside the dining room windows.
The menu has quite a few more authentic dishes than the average Chinese-American place. In a refreshing touch of truth in advertising, the crab rangoon are called "cream cheese puffs" but we'll just call them good. The wonton wrappers were a bit tough, but the filling was hot and semi-sweet, with a fresh twist of onion.
JM's BBQ pork with peapods suffered a bit from sameness, especially with regards to the sweet and salty meat. He may just have picked the wrong dish. Even so, the vegetables were so crisp and yummy, even he ate them all. Each peapod tasted like the cleanest, balmiest spring day the moment you put it in your mouth. And once you actually bit down, the firm snap was very pleasing.
Nichole's "Emperor's chicken" was our server's recommendation off the house specials menu. It came in a brown sauce and featured shrimp, imitation crab, scallions, and more exquisitely fresh vegetables. Our dishes were very similar in appearance, but different in flavor - though it would have been nice to pick things that complemented each other a bit more.
In all, our high expectations for Hong Kong Cafe were met.