Verdict: RUN, don’t walk. And. Get. There. NOW!!!
Chinese Elvis. Better than the King himself. He provides live entertainment nightly.
Family friends invited us to the grand opening on July 3rd. But I was in Sanibel at the time. Talks of real, authentic Cantonese cooking circulated and wouldn’t die down — with the chef coming from the Guangdong province and apparently a brilliant one to boot, including lengthy stints in Hong Kong under his belt. But then I got a hold of the menu. And felt deflated. Disappointed. With the location being right-smack in the middle of suburbia, I kind of expected it could not sustain a menu worthy of Buford Highway clientele. And the menu was testament to that: all Americanized dishes. Yeah, I’m talking Panda Express Americanized. The only thing I hoped for was that there was a good chance they had a Chinese menu. You know, the one reserved for the lucky Chinese people. Written in Chinese. Well, what do you know… they don’t.
Can you read (computerized) Chinese? These are part of what we ordered.
But we still gave it a chance, banking on familiarity with Cantonese cuisine; we knew we can make the chef make dishes we liked to eat in Hong Kong. And boy, did he surprise us. Forget Bo Bo Garden and Wan Lai. This is real Cantonese food. Exceptional is even an understatement. Every single thing we ate was just beyond perfection. Do note, however, that there are no names to these dishes. We basically asked what is fresh that visit, what they had in the kitchen, and gave very loose guidelines as to how they should be prepared.
The Pig’s Ears cold dish is a great appetizer. The ears are sliced thinly but big enough to constitute two bites. Tender yet still gelatinous with the requisite chew. The cucumber slices and cilantro provide texture and added background flavor with the soy sauce and sesame seed oil serving as the main yet subtle tastes in the foreground.
Quite possibly the best dish of the night. And my favorite: Giant Clam. Served in its shell. The meat was sliced into tender pieces then stir-fried in XO Sauce. I wouldn’t be surprised if the chef made his sauce from scratch. I’ll remember to ask next time. The Chinese chives provide a tiny hint of sweet that offsets the savory flavor of the sauce. Brilliant. (Tip: mix the accompanying cilantro with the dish for added oomph.)’
Soft slices of taro are underneath the duck.
The Duck+Taro was another stellar dish. First, the duck is steamed and then braised. The result is tender pieces of duck with bones crunchy enough to eat. The sauce is infused in every bite. Delicious.
The Steamed Flounder is just absolutely divine. The fish was so fresh, buttery, and just melted in the mouth. The ginger-scallion sauce was amazing. In Chinese restaurants, always opt for salt-water fish. They go better with Chinese cooking. For future reference. That’s all.
Other items that were attacked either before I could take pictures or pictures that weren’t as good because it was unbelievably dark in there include a “two-way fish” — a deep-fried Tilapia dish (freshly fished from a tank). The head is used for tofu soup and served along side the crispy fish. It will blow you away. A delicious black bean sauce is used to top the fish. Seriously delicious.
The stir-fried Sea Cucumbers were so tender yet still have a slight chew. Bite-sized pieces are laid on top of steamed baby bok choy. The sauce is light and thin. I like this version a lot because this is what I was used to eating.
Fresh Manila Clams in dry XO sauce is an excellent finger food. The clams are salty-sweet. You can taste the ocean!
The Dry-fried Beef Chow Fun has that addicting smokiness.
The Chinese Fried Chicken is crispier and doesn’t have that cloying five-spice after-taste. The stir-fried Shrimp with Oyster Mushrooms is refreshingly light. The Seafood Hot Pot puts all hot pots to shame. And the Yeung Chow fried rice (a staple in every Cantonese meal) uses sweet barbecue pork. Everything. Is. Fantastic.
Additional notes:The chef has been with the family for decades and used to cook in their old joint in Buford Highway.
Located on the corner of State Bridge Road and 141/Peachtree Pkwy/Medlock Bridge. Inside the plaza where Regal Medlock cinema is. In a free-standing building that used to be a Greek diner that used to be a Mexican place.
All servers speak English. Use this post as your guide as dishes have no names and are not on the menu.
Hong Kong House
5710 State Bridge Rd.,
Johns Creek, GA
Sunday-Thursday: 11AM-10PMFriday-Saturday: 11AM-11:30PM
More pictures here.
Technorati Tags: Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Cantonese, Chinese