after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Han’s Dynasty Continues

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t says:  Han Dynasty is one of our favorite places to eat, especially because it’s far more forgiving on the wallet than the restaurants we typically visit.  On one hand, it’s just Chinese food … but on the other, it’s no ordinary General Tso’s chicken.  At the suggestion of smn, I threw together a Sunday night dinner with some peeps.  In the end, it turned out that all of the attendees were adsz cast members: smn, dz, k, cm, n, g and me.  a and v also dropped by a little later on (they picked up some food for takeout) – so it was quite an adsz extravaganza!

November 2011, Sunday Dinner, Party of 7.  After taking our seats (no waiting!  yay!), we were faced with our first decision of the evening: EtOH or no?  In the good ‘ol days, this would be a stupid question, as Han Dynasty was BYO.  But long gone is the era of carefree wine consumption as Han has started enforcing a $10 wine corkage fee ($1 per beer, $2 per large format beer).  Boooo!  Although $10 is incredibly reasonable, I guess the thought of a few extra dollars dissuaded us.  Fortunately, cm, k, g, and I had a glass of wine before dinner, so we were content, and I think that the majority were anticipating a spicy meal which would be dangerous if wine was the primary liquid used to attempt to cleanse the palate.  n gets a special shout-out for thinking of bringing a bottle of white to share – but she got to take it home to save for next time!

The next big challenge was figuring out what to eat.  We initially contemplated the $20 “tasting” that we had done in the past.  Basically, you pay a certain amount per head, and food just keeps coming out of the kitchen until you cry uncle.  It’s a superb deal.  That said, we had a vegetarian and a pescapoultritarian at the table, and the last time we did the tasting, very few veggie-friendly dishes came out despite our request.  cm then decided to put himself in my hands, trusting that as the token Asian person at the table (or at least – “the Asian closest to China”), I’d be able to pick out the “good dishes”.  That was a lot of pressure – so I called in a consult – our actually-Chinese friend who has had many-a-Han dinners in the past.  Armed with his recommendations, I placed our order and let the food fly.

Beginners: Dan Dan Noodles, Cold Sesame Noodles, Spicy Crispy Cucumber, Dumplings in Chili Oil
Meats:  Black Bean Sauce Fish, Double Cooked Chicken, Cumin Lamb, Tofu in Garlic Sauce (no, not really a “meat” – but close!)
Veggies: Eggplant in Garlic Sauce, Bok Choy and Mushrooms

Here are the highs and the lows:

Victory!:  Dan Dan Noodles (of PW fame), Cold Sesame Noodles (smn said they were “the best sesame noodles she’s ever had”), the Eggplant in Garlic Sauce (k, who doesn’t even like eggplant that much still liked these!), and the Black Bean Style Fish (my pick for the best protein of the evening!).  Special recognition should be given to the Spicy Crispy Cucumber appetizer – it tasted exactly like spicy, crispy, cucumbers (surprised?).  k, who normally doesn’t do spice, found that she “couldn’t help herself with the spicy cucumbers – they were too spicy for her, but so good she wanted to eat more and more”.

Defeat!:  Cumin Lamb (WAY too many chiles, and the lamb was sparse and overcooked and really tasted like nothing more than cumin).

Alrightie-then.  So there was a lot of delicious food and really only one regret.  And even though now there’s a corkage fee, I think we’re still happy to have Han Dynasty be the adsz pick for best cheap eats; our dinner was $20pp INCLUDING tax and tip!  And if you want some wine, just bring in some magnums or something (it’s just one bottle, right?) – problem solved!

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

17 November 2011 at 9:53pm

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