after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Han Dynasty’s Got Some Balls

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t says: I’m sorry for the crass, unsophisticated humor, but I just had to go there.  I mean, you should have seen the size of their meatballs!  Wait – what meatballs?  Ok … let’s rewind …

g planned a dessert gathering of very diverse people for an evening celebration, figuring that a few would be able to come for dinner beforehand.  A few turned into a party of 13 or so.  Yikes.  What restaurant would do a party of 13 on a Saturday night?  Well … let’s just say that are a lot of restaurants that would not do a party of 13 on a Saturday night … looking at you Melograno, GTC, Mercato, etc. (don’t worry – we still love you, even if you’ve hurt us so *sheds a single tear*).  Then a friend of ours sent out an email invite to celebrate Chinese New Year (the following weekend) at Han Dynasty … and then we got to thinking … if our guest list and his guest list didn’t overlap, then maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if maybe we borrowed his idea, right? … rriigghhtt?

Well, right or wrong, we did (g and I had been wanting to go for a long time and couldn’t make it to the Chinese New Year celebration, so we figured we owed it to ourselves to go … “for the sake of the blog!”).

1/2011, Saturday Dinner, Party of 13.  Han Dynasty does things in a very cool way for large parties.  There’s no lame, super-limited menu here.  Instead, you tell them the number of people, the price that you want to pay per head, your dietary restrictions, and then let them do the rest.  It was awesome.  We went in at $20 per person and were absolutely stuffed!

As soon as we were ready, there an unending flurry of food hit the table.  We tried to hear the descriptions of when they hit the table, but failed miserably (it’s pretty loud in there!).  As a result, there’s no way I could try to describe the dishes for you here.  There was pork (several kinds) and fish and noodles and duck and [some] veggies.  I suspect that if we kept on eating, they would have kept on bringing.  And they were all quite tasty!  I didn’t have a single thing that I wouldn’t try again – so they definitely know how to please my palate.

But there was one that stood out.  The meatballs …

They brought out this plate of humungous meatballs that were stacked on top of each other.  They stared down the other plates surrounding them.  And the weird thing was that they had an eerie Jello-esque jiggle to them (I suspect a large proportion of the mix is made of tofu).  At this point, our party of 13 had had a reasonable amount of wine (Han is BYO … another super-awesome feature when doing something with a large party), so the question was no longer whether anyone was going to make a comment, rather, who was going to make a comment – leave it to one of g’s NYC girls to step up and own it.  But you know what … peculiar jiggle aside … they, too, were actually pretty tasty!  As a matter of fact, it was the only dish I asked to be wrapped up to be taken home (I suspect their appearance may have dissuaded people from trying them, so we had leftovers).  But alas!  I left it at the restaurant!  Darn!

As far as best dish?  You know – I don’t know which one tasted the best.  There was one with duck I kept going back for, and I heard raves about a pork belly one.  I think g was very fond of the noodle dishes (she’s a noodle fan from way back in the day).  I guess we’ll just have to go back and take copious notes next time …

Han Dynasty drawbacks: Their level of spice is definitely on the higher end.  Nothing was intolerable (I kind of liked it), but for the lightweights in our party, we should have requested super-mild or something (we asked for it mild and one of the dishes still had me reaching for water).  Those comfortable with Asian spice will feel at home here; if you want to sweat while you eat (a la my grandfather), I’m sure that can be arranged.  The second downer was that the table was right next to a pole which made fitting 13 people a little hard.  Go for 12 – it’d be a bit more comfortable.

Summary: If we had another party of people to take out, I just don’t think you can beat the combo of price, BYO, taste, and casual atmosphere of Han Dynasty.  Oh, and it’s tasty enough so that even real Chinese won’t care if it’s “authentic” or not.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

23 February 2011 at 11:09pm

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