LTH Home

Hoanh Long--worthy Vietnamese!

Hoanh Long--worthy Vietnamese!
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 2
  • Hoanh Long--worthy Vietnamese!

    Post #1 - February 22nd, 2007, 6:38 pm
    Post #1 - February 22nd, 2007, 6:38 pm Post #1 - February 22nd, 2007, 6:38 pm
    Monica Eng recently awarded four forks (out of four) to Hoanh Long. [Registration required at the Trib site]. We were intrigued by her rating, her review (worth reading, as is most stuff she writes), and the fact that we’d never heard of this place. Remarkably (to us), it’s never been mentioned on LTH. So, yesterday afternoon, the Lovely Dining Companion and I dropped by to pick up a bunch of food to shlep home. As Eng so aptly notes, there is nothing in the décor or ambiance to give any hint of “the freshness in the food and talent in the kitchen, which is headed up by a former sous chef at the upscale Vietnamese eatery Pasteur, Hieu Tran.”

    We ordered two appetizers: spring rolls with jicama, lop cheong (Chinese sausage), and egg and bo tai chanh, a lemon beef salad. The former was not to my taste but LDC really enjoyed it. The lemon beef salad was too hot for LDC but a big hit with me. Lots of beef, sweet and hot peppers, carrots, bean sprouts, celery, mushrooms, and other stuff (:?). Much less lemony than I had expected but slightly sour and a wonderful layering of flavors, really delicious. Entrees: LDC had an unexpectedly spicy chicken salad (goi ga)(it’s actually offered as an appetizer, not an entree). I chose catfish in a clay pot ca kho to. LDC’s dish was excellent, if a little too hot for her. Very generous portion with lots of chicken. Though Eng recommended it and called it "spicy-sweet," it was not marked as spicy on the menu; indeed, nothing on the menu is noted as being spicy (or not). My catfish was the only disappointment. Not a very large serving and extremely salty. I finished it because I was hungry, but if I had been in the restaurant I would have complained.

    As recommended, I had an avocado smoothie, notable for its fairly low level of sugar. It was the perfect complement to the meal and very enjoyable. Our only surprise, other than the disappointing catfish, was the price. Since LDC’s “entrée” was really an appetizer, we didn't expect a $40 bill. The reason: none of the apps are inexpensive. Only five out of twenty are under $6 and many are $10.95. Entrees are generally $7-13, with the sole exception of hot pots which are more and can run as high as $23.

    We enjoyed the food and are surprised that it’s never been noticed on the board. We’ll go back and though we may exercise a bit more caution in ordering, we were both quite impressed and grateful for excellent food, even if the surroundings seem much like every other Vietnamese restaurant.

    Hoanh Long
    6144 N. Lincoln Ave.
    (773) 583-7770
    Noon-10 p.m. Mon.; 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Tues.-Sun.
    Delivery: Yes
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #2 - February 23rd, 2007, 6:38 am
    Post #2 - February 23rd, 2007, 6:38 am Post #2 - February 23rd, 2007, 6:38 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:We enjoyed the food and are surprised that it’s never been noticed on the board.

    If you'd have waited one more day.......;)

    I too read Monica Eng's Cheap Eats review of Hoanh Long and was surprised on a couple of counts, a four fork rating, which is rare, and the fact it was located on a stretch of Lincoln Ave on which I regularly drive. It seems I had become so used to ignoring the former mediocre Hunan restaurant I didn't notice the change, about four months ago.

    The ever interesting Steve Z and I had a very nice lunch of three Vietnamese standards and one Chinese American. We started with a nicely crisp Vietnamese 'pancake', Banh Xeo, filled with fresh shrimp, slightly fatty pork and sprouts.

    Banh Xeo
    Image

    Moved on to a worthy rendition of Goi Cuon, which came with a well flavored dipping sauce.

    Goi Cuon
    Image

    And rounded out the Vietnamese portion of lunch with a lovely clean flavored pho. Lots of bits and pieces in the #21, Pho Dae Biet Hoanh Long. While the Pho broth was tasty, the noodles were a cut above. Chef Tran said they used fresh rice noodles.

    Pho Dae Biet Hoanh Long
    Image

    Mi Xao Tom, stir fried egg noodle w/shrimp, turned out to be an American Chinese dish, crisp basket of noodles w/fresh shrimp, canned baby corn, the usual veggie suspects with a soy corn starch gravy. Surprisingly we both enjoyed the dish, though mainly for the terrific noodles. Hoanh Long has a nice touch with noodles.

    Mi Xao Tom
    Image

    I thought the service quite good, price reasonable for what we ordered and the place was spotless. I'm looking forward to exploring the menu further, first up will be your recommended lemon beef salad and spicy chicken salad (goi ga).

    Truth be told, it was kind of nice to be surprised by Monica Eng, though this was not the first time by any means. Back a number of years she wrote both Dumpling Zone and World Eats for the Tribune. Over the years I culled some terrific recommendations from M Eng and have a great deal of respect for her culinary chops, be they lamb, pork, veal or goat.

    One minor correction to both your post and M Eng's Tribune review, Hoanh Long is closed on Mondays.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #3 - February 23rd, 2007, 9:37 am
    Post #3 - February 23rd, 2007, 9:37 am Post #3 - February 23rd, 2007, 9:37 am
    Interesting to learn about this place, as it is not far from home for us and certainly much more convenient than Argyle. Worth a shot, though I can't imagine any place ever replacing Tank in our hearts. Do either of you remember if banh mi were on the menu? I'm so addicted to those sandwiches that it would be almost scary to have a source closer to home!
  • Post #4 - February 23rd, 2007, 9:48 am
    Post #4 - February 23rd, 2007, 9:48 am Post #4 - February 23rd, 2007, 9:48 am
    I don't recall for certain (the menu is at home). However, my recollection is fairly strong that, as extensive as the menu is, banh mi is not on it. Still, well worth a visit; if we were in their delivery area, I know we'd be sampling more, more often. With Argyle a five-minute walk from the house, it's not likely. But I have no doubt we will return in person.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #5 - February 23rd, 2007, 9:54 am
    Post #5 - February 23rd, 2007, 9:54 am Post #5 - February 23rd, 2007, 9:54 am
    JimTheBeerGuy wrote:Do either of you remember if banh mi were on the menu?

    Jim,

    No banh mi on Hoanh Long's menu and they don't make them, I asked. One nice thing is they deliver and, luckily, I'm in range.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - February 23rd, 2007, 10:46 am
    Post #6 - February 23rd, 2007, 10:46 am Post #6 - February 23rd, 2007, 10:46 am
    JimTheBeerGuy wrote:I'm so addicted to those sandwiches that it would be almost scary to have a source closer to home!


    Have you tried Nhu Lan? Serviceable banh mi near Lawrence and Rockwell.
  • Post #7 - February 23rd, 2007, 10:48 am
    Post #7 - February 23rd, 2007, 10:48 am Post #7 - February 23rd, 2007, 10:48 am
    I haven't tried them yet. Thanks for posting the link to that thread; somehow, I had missed it. Sounds worth a try!
  • Post #8 - February 23rd, 2007, 10:02 pm
    Post #8 - February 23rd, 2007, 10:02 pm Post #8 - February 23rd, 2007, 10:02 pm
    As I view the great pictures, I'm reminded of the great Vietnamese restaurant called The Noodle in Chinatown. I searched on this site and saw that it has not been mentioned. So let me just say that their Pho will shoot your socks off. I've been going to The Noodle for about 3 years now. Every time my friends and I enter the waitresses just yell out, "The usual," and we nod yes.
    The words gotten around and the crowd have gotten bigger. They participate in The Taste of Chicago, yet in the taste they are wise to not serve the Pho in hot weather, but I feel it is their strength.
    I would really advise Pho lovers to try it out; they provide a good hefty portion. When we go we rarely get appetizers, we go straight in to the Pho, chances are you will not finish. Also try what's called the Yada Yada Pina Colada- Great.
    What we usually do is ask for a Double Zero (00. Pho without meat) mostly because one of my friends is a vegetarian. Then we use the hot sauce with the green cap (Sariachi I think) then we ask for extra limes that we put in the Pho. The combination is phenomenal. Though what is deterring to some of my friends is the onions, they are powerful in this Pho.
    The Noodle is located 2336 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago IL. A few Blocks off the Chinatown RedLine.
  • Post #9 - February 24th, 2007, 3:09 pm
    Post #9 - February 24th, 2007, 3:09 pm Post #9 - February 24th, 2007, 3:09 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote: Entrees are generally $7-13, with the sole exception of hot pots which are more and can run as high as $23.


    Note, however, that the hot pots serve 4.
  • Post #10 - February 24th, 2007, 4:41 pm
    Post #10 - February 24th, 2007, 4:41 pm Post #10 - February 24th, 2007, 4:41 pm
    Carlitos wrote:As I view the great pictures, I'm reminded of the great Vietnamese restaurant called The Noodle in Chinatown. The Noodle is located 2336 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago IL. A few Blocks off the Chinatown RedLine.

    That is the Pho Hoa, Chinatown location.
  • Post #11 - February 24th, 2007, 7:28 pm
    Post #11 - February 24th, 2007, 7:28 pm Post #11 - February 24th, 2007, 7:28 pm
    Just a couple of pics and observations to toss up on Hoanh Long which is, indeed, an excellent new find, kudos to The Divine Ms. Eng.

    Image

    I wasn't wild about these ones with the sausage in them but they photographed well.

    Image

    I was wild about the lemon beef salad, this was really terrific, had a TAC Quick-like combination of beefiness, fish sauce pungency and bite, and perfection of contrast between the two. Also enjoyed the chicken and cabbage salad (even as Steve Z suggested some spot on Argyle as having a superior one; I liked this just fine anyway), the bahn xeo (right in the middle of pretty good), and a spicy-sweet shrimp dish which was like the platonic ideal toward which all those coconut shrimp at places like Bennigan's aspire (but never come within a million miles of). The beef and the shrimp would both qualify for Best Thing You've Eaten Lately in my book, and make me eager to check out more of Hoanh Long's menu and admirable hand at preparing clean, fresh-tasting, first-class Vietnamese food.

    As we snapped photos another patron came up to us and asked if we were from LTHForum... it was a new poster named Globetrotter. Just as much as we liked the food, we were happy to see that others were running, not walking, to check it out too.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #12 - February 24th, 2007, 8:25 pm
    Post #12 - February 24th, 2007, 8:25 pm Post #12 - February 24th, 2007, 8:25 pm
    Mike G wrote:Image

    I wasn't wild about these ones with the sausage in them but they photographed well.

    This dish is called Bò Bía .
    http://www.noodlepie.com/2005/11/like_a_rolling_.html
  • Post #13 - February 25th, 2007, 7:13 am
    Post #13 - February 25th, 2007, 7:13 am Post #13 - February 25th, 2007, 7:13 am
    Mike G wrote:Also enjoyed the chicken and cabbage salad (even as Steve Z suggested some spot on Argyle as having a superior one; I liked this just fine anyway),

    Mike,

    I believe Steve was referring to Cafe Hoang's stellar Goi Ga (Asian chicken), which, coincidentally, was recommended by Monica Eng in a World Eats column (Chicago Tribune) 5-6 years ago.

    Cafe Hoang Goi Ga
    Image

    I agree with Steve, Cafe Hoang's version of Goi Ga wins on points, though it should be noted it's a few bucks more than Hoanh Long's

    Hoanh Long Goi Ga
    Image

    I'd also like to third Mike and Gypsy Boy's recommendation of Hoanh Long's Bo Tai Chanh (Lemon beef salad), complex, spicy, though not overpowering heat.

    Hoanh Long Bo Tai Chanh
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Cafe Hoang
    1010 W. Argyle
    Chicago, IL 60640
    773-878-9943
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - March 3rd, 2007, 10:51 pm
    Post #14 - March 3rd, 2007, 10:51 pm Post #14 - March 3rd, 2007, 10:51 pm
    We went tonight, and at about 8:00 there were only a couple of tables not occupied. I figured that they were probably busier than usual due to the Tribune article, so I expected a little bit of a wait for the food and that maybe the servers would be a little harried. There was less of a wait than I thought and service was actually quite good.

    I had the Goi Cuon (shrimp spring rolls) and Pho Ga (noodle soup with chicken). The soup had lots of good, white meat chicken. My husband had the Banh Xeo (shrimp and pork pancake) and some kind of orange chicken (Ga Xao Cam) that I didn't try. I also ordered the avocado smoothie. If I worked in that area, I'd probably just have one of those for lunch on summer days--it was very filling. My husband had the lychee smoothie which was much lighter and also good. Our bill was a reasonable $38 with take home leftovers.

    There are a lot of intriguing drinks on the menu (I need to try the "fresh salty lemonade" and "home made soy bean drink" at some point). They don't serve any alchohol but I noticed another table brought wine.

    As we were finishing, the owner came over to see how we liked the food. He apologized for any wait we had (which was not necessary) and wanted to know if we had been there before. When we said no, he asked if we saw the review in the paper. I said that the restaurant had also been reviewed on LTHforum, which he had never heard of so I wrote down the site. He then came back with a clipping of the review for us to read. He was very proud to point out that he got 4 forks. There was a little bit of a language barrier but I believe he said that the restaurant was not doing so well before the review. Anyway, we told him that we would definitely be back and he held the door for us when we left. What a nice man.
  • Post #15 - March 3rd, 2007, 11:02 pm
    Post #15 - March 3rd, 2007, 11:02 pm Post #15 - March 3rd, 2007, 11:02 pm
    Mike G wrote:As we snapped photos another patron came up to us and asked if we were from LTHForum... it was a new poster named Globetrotter. Just as much as we liked the food, we were happy to see that others were running, not walking, to check it out too.


    I enjoyed this food a great deal. I was very happy to get pointed in this direction.
  • Post #16 - March 4th, 2007, 7:17 am
    Post #16 - March 4th, 2007, 7:17 am Post #16 - March 4th, 2007, 7:17 am
    G Wiv wrote:I agree with Steve, Cafe Hoang's version of Goi Ga wins on points, though it should be noted it's a few bucks more than Hoanh Long's


    It should also be noted that Cafe Hoang's portion is twice the size.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #17 - March 10th, 2007, 2:51 pm
    Post #17 - March 10th, 2007, 2:51 pm Post #17 - March 10th, 2007, 2:51 pm
    Two things stood out for me from a nice big dinner last night at Hoanh Long:

    --The "lemon beef salad" that Gypsy Boy mentioned above, is a terrific dish, tangy and spicy with a lot of freshness and tender beef.

    --The banh xeo, pictured above by G Wiv, is terrific: Crispy, flavorful, light, and fresh.

    Besides those standouts, there was a lot more that pleased me about HL: the noodles, terrific grilled shrimp, the vast menu, and the friendly service.

    Hoanh Long is a heck of a nice little place and I'm pleased to have a worthy Vietnamese option within a short drive of my home. I'll be back soon to try the pho.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #18 - March 15th, 2008, 5:08 pm
    Post #18 - March 15th, 2008, 5:08 pm Post #18 - March 15th, 2008, 5:08 pm
    Based on this thread, we went today. Not a short drive (far northwest suburbs) but definitely worth it!! We will make the drive over and over, the food was wonderful, especially the Pho - incredible depth. We played it safe with the Pho, spring rolls and grilled pork with rice and egg. Can't wait to go back and play some more.
  • Post #19 - January 1st, 2009, 12:18 pm
    Post #19 - January 1st, 2009, 12:18 pm Post #19 - January 1st, 2009, 12:18 pm
    The 'rents were up for trying to Vietnamese for the first time, and, looking for a midway point between the North Shore and Downtown, we settled on HL, whose Sauganash stomping grounds bemused my mother.

    Notes:

    -The lemon beef salad, as noted above, is a must-order dish
    -I happened to like the goi ga here better than the one at Cafe Hoang; sprightlier, this.
    -The pho here is excellent, with nice hits of of cinnamon and star anise
    -I had a nice, and presumably Chinese-influenced, fried smelt dish from the specials list that was in the vein of the chicken crack at LSC: slivers of smelt, ginger, onions, and peppers, all tossed with some chili oil and fish sauce. Especially brilliant this morning, when all of the flavors had completely mashed up.
    -The folks did what you'd expect them to do: charcoal beef with accoutrements and the Mi Xao Tom noted above, which was bland but certainly not unpleasant. They also ordered fried rice, which was bland and unpleasant.

    If you're coming from the North and want to avoid a few minutes of traffic and parking headaches, HL is a worthy substitute for the Argyle standbys; not sure if it is a travel-out-of-your-way destination, however--I'll be sticking with Pho Xua for a little while longer myself.
  • Post #20 - January 3rd, 2009, 10:53 pm
    Post #20 - January 3rd, 2009, 10:53 pm Post #20 - January 3rd, 2009, 10:53 pm
    Thank you all for the recommendation. We had a great dinner there, after reading the other thread that mentioned Tank Noodle was going to be closed.

    We were there on a Saturday night around 7 pm. Tables 80% occupied. The two of us split 3 dishes. 2 from the specials menu. One was the fried smelts mentioned above. The picture is after we ate about 1/3 of the dish before we remembered to take the photo.
    Image
    Great taste that's a little reminiscent of salt and pepper shrimp at Cantonese flavors, with some added spice from a ginger paste. We also had a beef and shrimp in rice rolls (#7 on the specials menu). We thought from the menu description it was just an ordinary vermicelli dish, but out came the whole items to make your own spring rolls. Dip the rice paper into the water to soften and then fill it with beef that's been wrapped around a sauteed shrimp.
    Image
    After one oversized one, we figured out it's better to use two wrappers to make one roll to fit all the fillings.

    Final dish was a pho that was a little more seasoned than some of the other pho places. Subtle difference, but good.

    It was worth the drive up from Wicker Park. Easy to find parking right on Lincoln and not too far off the Edens make this a good alternative to Tank Noodle on Argyle. When we arrived it was a mix of families and groups of friends eating. By the time we finished, the tables had turned more to Asian families and groups. Interesting mix of customers, and I'd definitely go back.
  • Post #21 - January 7th, 2009, 1:24 pm
    Post #21 - January 7th, 2009, 1:24 pm Post #21 - January 7th, 2009, 1:24 pm
    Just had lunch there. I could nitpick in that the Vietnamese iced coffee wasn't quite as good as Ben Tre (Lincolnwood) or Dung Gia (Des Plaines), but I'm starting to groove on the subtleties within the fare served up at different establishments. It's fantastic that this cuisine is finally making it's way off the North Side.

    I will champion one dish, however. The Lemon Grass with Spicy Chicken brought me back to the old days in the 1980's when I used to regularly lunch cheaply at the now-shuttered Saigon on the corner of Broadway & Argyle. This stuff was just...right. Lots of chili oil, cold cucumber, white & dark meat chicken, miniscule pieces of lemon grass (from experience it's only digestable that way!), in a great sauce. Vietnamese flashback! I took out a couple spring rolls and bun bo (marinated beef noodle salad) for tonight's dinner.

    It was mentioned in a previous post that Monica Eng said Hoang Long's kitchen was headed by Hieu Tran, formerly sous chef at Pasteur (which was right down the street from Saigon). Well...I know that David Tran of Dung Gia, formerly of Annam Cafe/Annam Express, used to cook at Pasteur as well. Either they're some kind of relation, or maybe I'll just figure that the Vietnamese Tran is like the American 'Smith'.
  • Post #22 - January 29th, 2009, 1:10 pm
    Post #22 - January 29th, 2009, 1:10 pm Post #22 - January 29th, 2009, 1:10 pm
    Just returned from lunch at Hoanh Long. Hadn’t had their pho, which GWiv had described in this thread as containing ‘bits & pieces’, so I fired in on their Pho Dae Biet Hoanh Long, which arrived at the table exactly like Gary’s picture with the requisite side plate of bean sprouts, mint, jalapeno & lime wedges.

    It was fragrant, steaming, with the thin pot roast-style beef, and the ‘bits & pieces’ too. As I dug in, those ‘things’ could have been stomach, lung, God-knows-what, but they were good, each segment a distinct taste & texture, a perfect offset to the flavorful broth with cinnamon & star anise aromas. Good stuff, maybe even a little better than Ben Tre’s.

    But, at the risk of culinary blasphemy, let me state that I could only eat a little more than half the huge bowl, and I was hungry, too. How can a broth so thin be so rich? ‘Course, I did have a couple of those mondo-sized seafood egg rolls, but even so, I have to say I’ve never finished a whole order of pho—I always hit the proverbial wall about two-thirds of the way through.

    I love Vietnamese food, but overall I’d put pho down my favorite dish list, behind lemon grass chicken, banh xeo & bun bo. Oh, and that addictive sweetened iced coffee!
  • Post #23 - April 9th, 2009, 12:51 pm
    Post #23 - April 9th, 2009, 12:51 pm Post #23 - April 9th, 2009, 12:51 pm
    I love this place! Has anyone had the appetizer I think its called fried shrimp and sweet poptato salad? The tails were still on the shrimp. Are you supposed to eat the tails?
  • Post #24 - November 9th, 2009, 7:08 am
    Post #24 - November 9th, 2009, 7:08 am Post #24 - November 9th, 2009, 7:08 am
    Even though Hoanh Long is more or less in my neighborhood, I don't go there as often as I should. I had a "get reacquainted" lunch there the other day and everything is still as good as ever.

    Shrimp Spring Rolls
    Image

    Bahn Xao
    Image

    Chicken Salad (Goi Ga)
    Image

    Pho
    Image

    I'd put Hoanh Long right up there among the best Vietnamese places in town. They seem to have developed a bit of a following, as they were moderately busy at lunch time. It must be tough for a place like this to stand out when located far from the "Argyle Zone", but it's worth checking out if you have not been.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #25 - February 14th, 2010, 9:19 pm
    Post #25 - February 14th, 2010, 9:19 pm Post #25 - February 14th, 2010, 9:19 pm
    Last night was my first visit to Hoanh Long and my friends and I had an outstanding meal, highlighted by great food and very friendly and efficient service.

    One highlight here was the beef, both in the beef sauteed with hoanh long special sauce (Bo Sate Hoanh Long) and the rice cake rolls served with Vietnamese beef (Banh Cuon Thit Bo). Both dishes featured tender and flavorful slices of beef which tasted almost as if they were cooked over charcoal, but I doubt that they were. The sauteed beef dish featured a sauce with a real nice level of heat, and the rice cake rolls was an entirely new Vietnamese dish for me, beef rolled in thick rice noode rolls, served with a sweet and sour sauce and a salad.

    The dungeness crab deep fried salted with onion & pepper (Cua Rang Muoi) was another great dish and is not to be missed. Beware that eating this crab will make eating bbq spareribs seem like being served grey poupon in a limousine . . . I can't think of a messier dish. But wow was this good. The crab was served chopped but in the shell and tasted great. The thick sauce featured slices of onion and green pepper and a fairly good dose of garlic.

    The Vietnamese crepe with shrimp, pork and salad (Banh Xeo) is a dish which I've frequently ordered at other Vietnamese restaurants in town but I found Hoanh Long's version to be the best I've had (also better than the similar version I've order many times at Spoon). Great flavor, and a crispy crepe with very little grease.

    From what I've read above, it sounds like I enjoyed the spring roll with jicama, Chinese sausages and egg (Bo Bia) more than others. On the other hand, I enjoyed the chicken salad (Goi Ga) a little less than others. Ours was too heavy on cabbage and the sauce a little light and bored me a little as a result. Still, I loved everything else and have to say that this was the single best Vietnamese meal I've enjoyed in Chicago.
  • Post #26 - March 21st, 2010, 10:15 am
    Post #26 - March 21st, 2010, 10:15 am Post #26 - March 21st, 2010, 10:15 am
    I returned to Hoanh Long last night (packed with a wait, so reservations might be advised for weekends). As I waited, I smiled when I heard a large group discussing Burt's and that you have to make sure to call ahead (anyone from LTH?).

    On to the food, the lemon beef salad (Bo Thai Canh) was really good. Tender slices of beef, nice spice and sour notes, and I really enjoyed the nice mix of crispy vegetables, particularly the celery which provided an interesting contrast in flavors. If forced to choose between beef dishes, I would tell you that I much prefer the beef with hoanh long sauce mentioned in my previous post (which we ordered again and loved).

    But what might have been my favorite dish of the evening was the stir fried egg noodles with chicken (Mi Xao Ga), although this version reminded me more of a dish I would get at Sun Wah than something I would receive at a Vietnamese restaurant. The chicken, vegetables and sauce were placed within a large nest of crispy egg noodles, such that the exterior noodles remained very crispy (we specifically ordered it crispy) but the bottom layer of noodles turned soft. It just seemed more akin to the Ameri-Chinese dishes I enjoyed growing up. That being said, the flavors were just wonderful and I loved the dish . . . probably as much as I enjoy the crispy noodles with pork and bean sprouts at Sun Wah.

    I've yet to try Hoanh Long's pho, and I can't wait . . . my next visit is probably right around the corner.
  • Post #27 - November 29th, 2010, 6:57 pm
    Post #27 - November 29th, 2010, 6:57 pm Post #27 - November 29th, 2010, 6:57 pm
    My mother, brother, and I had a great meal here on Saturday night. First off, based on my visit, I wouldn't say reservations are needed on Saturdays as BR reported above. While multiple tables were occupied the whole time we were there, the restaurant was never more than 40% full, so it would have been easy to walk in.

    Our server was very helpful and attentive (perhaps overly so), but certainly made us feel taken care of. We started out with an order of banh tom (shrimp cake with sweet potato salad). I wasn't sure what to expect but this was fantastic. We were served 5 or 6 fried patties of whole shrimp and sweet potatoes. Ok, probably more like chunks than patties. But I don't want to give you the wrong idea. These were *expertly* fried, crisp and warm throughout without a speck of grease. Moreover, they were absolutely delicious. Wrapped with the lettuce, with basil, mint, and cilantro, these were the perfect balance of crunchy and soft, hot and cold, sweet and herby. You need to get this dish to see what I'm talking about.

    We also had a serving of veggie banh xeo chay, which was fried well but was not entirely greaseless. WIth the nuoc cham and assorted plate of vegetation, this was tasty. They clearly fry things well here.

    For entrees, my brother got the pho dac biet Hoanh Long which looked and smelled delicious. His bowl included all the fixin's: not-quite rare beef, meatballs, tendon, and tripe. He enjoyed the dish so much that he just kept repeating the words pho and mmm. After sparing me a small bowl, he took down the rest of this gigantic bowlful himself. The broth was rich and flavorful. I don't know pho, but I'd certainly order this one again.

    I got the mi xao bo (stir fried egg noodles with beef) as I was looking for some pan fried noodles. What came out was exactly as BR described above, a nest of crispy noodles similar to what you'd get at a Chinese restaurant. This was deeply satisfying to me as it was what I was looking for, although I think the pho is what would bring me back.

    After some consultation, my mom ordered a stir fried seafood dish with a curry sauce. This was fine and she ate most of it.

    Overally, we really enjoyed our meal, and I would like to explore more of the menu. As stated above, it's a bit more convenient than Argyle when coming from the north, but without qualifiers, the meal was a real success.
  • Post #28 - November 30th, 2010, 1:42 am
    Post #28 - November 30th, 2010, 1:42 am Post #28 - November 30th, 2010, 1:42 am
    gastro gnome wrote:My mother, brother, and I had a great meal here on Saturday night. First off, based on my visit, I wouldn't say reservations are needed on Saturdays as BR reported above. While multiple tables were occupied the whole time we were there, the restaurant was never more than 40% full, so it would have been easy to walk in.

    If it was the Saturday just past, Thanksgiving weekend may be atypical.
  • Post #29 - December 10th, 2010, 10:17 am
    Post #29 - December 10th, 2010, 10:17 am Post #29 - December 10th, 2010, 10:17 am
    This place is located in Suburban Chicago.. One certainly gets the feeling that most of the "ethnic" restaurants in the area are playing to the Midwestern Palate.. .. Whether it be Thai, or Chinese, Vietnamese, or even Japanese to some extent, The majority of the restaurants in the area, have melded into this sort of generic menu.. Most the dishes containing heavy and starchy deep fried items that are highly sauced with this sweet crap.. Crab Ragoon for example, tends to be on every menu.. What the hell is a Crab Ragoon you ask.. Well, it's cream cheese and crab wrapped in a wonton skin and deep fried.. Hmm.. A favorite for sure in every Asian Culture..

    I started with something from the app side.. It was a crepe with shrimp.. The crepe shell was perfectly crispy and light.. It was served with a large assortment of lettuce and basil.. The crepe was expertly made.. I very much enjoyed this dish..

    I then moved on to PHO.. I believe the menu number was 21.. Which included little beef balls, rare beef, some tendon, I believe some thinly sliced liver, and some tripe. The pho was highly spiced.. Defintely differently then I have ever tasted.. Strong flavors of anise, cinnamon, and dark sugar were presented. It was sweeter than any Pho I have had.. I believe there was some nutmeg even in it.. It tasted of fall, almost closer to a pumpkin pie filling but a lot more subtle.. One could tell that this was the cook's version of pho, surely a traditional recipe.. I enjoyed it but, wish it were less sweet.. It kind of caught me off guard, though it was still delicious..

    I was dining alone and the staff was super nice..

    Will come back my next time in Chicago..
  • Post #30 - December 10th, 2010, 10:31 am
    Post #30 - December 10th, 2010, 10:31 am Post #30 - December 10th, 2010, 10:31 am
    Daniel wrote:This place is located in Suburban Chicago.


    Actually it's in the city, not the suburbs, but it is out the the areas normally visited by tourists. Glad you liked it.

    P.S. There are plenty of places that serve very authentic versions of ethnic food not dumbed down for American tastes. Next time you visit, check out the Great Neighborhood Restaurants (GNR) list. That will get you started in the right direction.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more