In a word: Train your eyes on this "chew-chew" station.
The specs: #00909
1441 Regent St., 53711
Details at Yelp,
Official web site
Latest Hong Kong Station news and reviews at del.icio.us
JM ate the honey walnut shrimp with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the house special rice noodle soup with shrimp ball, mushroom, and vegetables with an iced coffee.
We split the crab rangoon.
The bill was $32, or $16/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Hong Kong Station an A- (see our grading rubric).
Hong Kong Station seems to have come from central casting as a diner, but somehow serves really interesting Chinese food instead. Given that the place was nearly full and featured only two other occidental faces other than ours, this is a good sign.
Those diner qualities, though, create an almost Roxbury Tavern level of cognitive dissonance. The place is super clean and larded with Muzak, so far, not that weird. But the decor was all vintage Coke signs and 50s sex symbols (including several Betty Boop examples) and signs proclaiming the benefits of coffee and beer. To top it all off someone has framed a laserdisc copy of the Hunt for Red October. On the wall of this Chinese restaurant. Is this real life?
Of course, once the food arrived, we had little time to notice anything else strange. Our crab rangoon was a fair way down the onion axis, much more savory than sweet. It had a thick, fresh-tasting wrapper and was laden with much crab.
The soup was soup-erb. The server had helped Nichole pick her soup ingredients - steering her away from the omasun (sic) with a simple "Americans don't like it," then encouraging her to skip the whole, unpeeled shrimp in favor of the tidier shrimp balls. (Later we observed someone who appeared to be the paterfamilias at the next table grab the same server's pad, write his group's order down, and hand the pad back without a word.) The dish was just fantastic, with a deep brown, richly flavored broth. The noodles were tender and the substantial mushrooms (shiitake-like, but we're not sure) were the best part. The bok choy (vegetable), shrimp balls, and onion all contributed to a delicious whole.
JM's honey walnut shrimp didn't taste much of walnut. The honied mayo dressing on the shrimp was somewhere between secret sauce and honey Dijonnaise. Though the batter was light and really good, cooked in a very light fry medium. While he didn't take them up on the offered rice, it is important to note that it doesn't just come with every meal.
To top it all off was a coffee-flavored gumball or two for Nichole, which may be why the coffee signs proliferate on the walls. Give them a try, though, since food this good and at this price (don't worry, you get what you pay for) may be a hard sell this close to campus.