Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hong Kong Restaurant : Durham

I had read a few recommendations for Hong Kong Restaurant in Durham on Chowhound. The recs were mainly for their weekend dimsum, but nonetheless we hiked out to Durham to give them a shot.

I found it kind of funny that the place looked well like a suburban house, slightly modified to look like a restaurant. I don't think that this observation can be corroborated with this photo, but here's a pic of the interior anyways.

Anyways, my parents ordered a few of their dinner specials and off the waiter went...

and we waited...

and waited...

and waited.

All in all, we waited for 45 minutes. We finished all of our dishes within 15.

We didn't even get an embarrassed "I'm sorry for the wait, food will be out shortly."

I'm not sure why the service was so bad, but so far as food, it was relatively simple, but decently done. I'm fairly sure I could have cooked a few of these dishes and with a little practice the rest, so if I lived in the area, especially minding the service, I'm not sure I would return. Here's the breakdown:

Chinese Black Musroom with Baby Green - Standardly cooked shiitake mushrooms and baby greens. (I believe with thickened mushroom sauce.)

X.O. Sauce with Shrimp & Scallop - Like the fish below, the shrimp and scallop wasn't particularly fresh, which I don't particularly fault, given Durham's distance from any decent source. But without fresh seafood and with the fairly mundane X.O. sauce, there wasn't really that much to distinguish this dish from any other okay Chinese restaurant elsewhere. This would be decent as a home-cooked meal, but not something I'd drive out to.

Steamed Sea Bass - My parents suspected that the sea bass was from a frozen fillet like those you can generally pick up in Asian supermarkets. Given Durham's distance from the ocean, the fact that the fish hadn't been cooked to particularly emphasize the freshness and the extremely long wait (defrosting the fish?), I'm guessing this might not be so far from the truth.

That being said, the fish wasn't badly cooked. As I said before, it was like a decent Chinese home-cook would have done. However, the completely uncooked scallions pieces were a particularly odd misstep, since those can be cooked in no less than 30 seconds.

Beef Tendon Clay Pot - This was the other dish that I thought could have caused the wait. Again, it wasn't bad, but I thought you could really get this dish, by putting all of the ingredients (beef, beef tendons, mushrooms, bamboo?, greens and perhaps some starter stock) into a slow-cooker and getting this dish.

I hesitate to completely blast this place mainly because the weekend dimsum is apparently recommended. But so far as dinner goes, this was a bit of a disappointment.

Hong Kong Restaurant
3003 Guess Rd Durham, NC 27705-2634 (Map)
(919) 479-8339
($Chinese, $North Carolina)

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