What the Deuce: Mr. Chu's Hong Kong Cuisine

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mr. Chu's Hong Kong Cuisine

One of the more redeeming qualities of Miami is the annual Miami Spice Festival, a time where a penniless law student can impress a member of the opposite sex, or the same sex, with a lunch or dinner at one of the finer dining establishments in Miami. Participating restaurants offer lunch and dinner tasting menus that include appetizers, a main course, and desert for $20.06 and $30.06, respectively. Over the past two years, I've had the luck of being able to dine at places, like The Red Fish Grill and Ortanique, places that would normally add another year to my loan repayment schedule.

This past weekend, the Editor and I, who now co-habitate on Miami Beach, decided to try Mr. Chu's Hong Kong
Cuisine. As an service to my 1 reader, What the Deuce is going to now offer restaurant reviews. I haven't decided on some gimmicky scale, but I'm sure I'll come up with one by the end of this post.

Mr. Chu's Hong Kong Cuisine

Cuisine Type: Chinese, if you couldn't tell.
Location: 890 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Website: www.mrchu.net

Me Love You Long Time: Although Mr. Chu's menu offers almost anything you like, I wasn't able to find the Asian Beaver. The menu is physically daunting as its presented in a book that could double as a weapon because of its weight. Even though I didn't approach the seafood (I prefer to eat land dwelling creatures) I was impressed by the offerings including flounder, abalone, and even the Shark Fin Soup for those looking to jolt their libido. The selection of fowl, pork, and vegetarian dishes is extensive, so there is something for everyone to order. Oh yeah, they have a summer menu that has Chinese classics like Kung Pao Chicken and Mongolian Beef.

Two Cent Whore: The service was terrible.

Trying the Goods:
The food was excellent. Miami isn't the ethnic outpost it claims to be - it may have people from all over Latin America, but that's the extent of it...so the food selection here mirrors that. Getting good Chinese food made me happy.

The Editor and I decided to forego the Miami Spice menu because of Mr. Chu's vast selection of dishes and we figured that we'd still come out ahead in the end. To be fair, the Miami Spice menu offers some of the more expensive dishes on the menu, so if you're looking for a deal, its not a bad way to go. After much deliberation, we decided to go with spring rolls, hot & sour soup, the chicken in black bean sauce, and Singapore Rice Noodles. To drink, she had Tiger Beer and I sipped on a Tsingtao.
Spring Rolls: Crispy, filled with veggies, and not oily. Great from Miami, but average for New York.
Hot & Sour Soup: I like my food spicy and the soup was satisfying. Thicker than most hot & sour's I've had, but excellent. Lots of egg and pork. Not enough mushrooms. So filling, it could be a meal by itself.
Chicken in Black Bean Sauce: "Delicious. Chicken was perfectly cooked. Did not enjoy unexpectedly munching on enormous chunks of ginger," says the Editor. I enjoyed the spice and black beans, although there could have been more actual beans.
Singapore Rice Noodles: For those who have had Bangkok Street Noodles, this dish is pretty much the same thing. Cooked perfectly. Editor says, "Um...yummy and I got to eat all the shrimp." I haven't had something like this since eating at the Chicago Penang a couple of years ago. I was surprised to see it on the menu, had to order it, and glad I did. Can't wait to heat up the leftovers!

So, was it good for you?:

The Editor and I had reservations for 8:30 and arrived on time only to wait for the hostess to even notice us standing for about 5 minutes, and no, the place was not that busy. An omininous foreshadowing, to say the least. We waited at least another 10 minutes to order and only did when one of the few competent servers approached us asking if we had even seen the menus as she noticed that we didn't have any (another woman had come by and taken the menus from us in hopes of clearing some room on our table).

As we waited for our appetizers, we overheard the couple next to us complaining about how they had waited for 25 minutes for their food; later, the couple on our other side complained that the servers hadn't brought out all of the entrees together as requested.

The spring roll and soup came out relatively quickly, but we waited quite some time for our the chicken and noodles. While we were eating, the server never came to check on us. After we were done eating, we promptly received dessert menus but it was at least another ten minutes before anyone came back to us...and the guy who did wasn't even our server. At this point, we were both ready to leave but it took me grabbing a hostess to even get our check. On top of that, an 18% gratuity was already tacked on!

I'm assuming Mr.Chu's hasn't been open long and management has some kinks to work out, but according to The Editor who has experience in the food service industry, the problem was an understaffed kitchen. If her assessment is true, its completely unacceptable to not schedule enough chefs on a Saturday night. The servers looked lost, like they didn't know which tables they were assigned to...basically, everyone looked overwhelmed.

Mr. Chu's is like a hot girl who's good in bed...and she knows it, so she makes you wait such a long time, you're not sure if its worth it. With Mr.Chu's, its not, so just order in and avoid dealing with an overwhelmed staff.


Anonymous kukla said...

as the matter of fact,it happened almost 2 years ago and at that time restauranr was on the beginning stage...it takes time for any restaurant to start to present itself the best way...so come back again any time and ..lets see....

9:21 PM  

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