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Like a relic from a different age, still located (like it could move by itself?) under the “El” on Liberty Avenue in the midst of a neighborhood that has changed all around it. “Ho Wan” Chinese restaurant has defied the ages and stood it’s ground regally. Since 1970, Ho Wan Restaurant has been serving the southern Queens section of New York City of South Richmond Hill steadfastly for over 45 years. I had the pleasure of lunching here with my friend Mee Ette.
Ho Wan has been touted by Mee Gonzi Biao for almost as long as The Chinese Quest has been in existence. He grew up in the area, and Ho Wan was his go to Chinese restaurant since he was a wee young Jew. I considered this a scouting mission to see if Ho Wan was Quest-worthy.
Ho Wan reminded me a lot of “Hoi Ming” in West Sayville, less the crowds. While it would be like comparing apples and oranges, since we had dinner at Hoi Ming, and lunch at Ho Wan. Be that as it may, here my take on Ho Wan.
Ho Wan is located at 111-05 Liberty Avenue, South Richmond Hill (Queens), New York. When we walked in Mee Ette was greeted by Steve, our Waiter to be, like an old friend. Nay, like family! Steve may have been around since Ho Wan opened, and all the patrons who followed us in were greeted by name as well. Ho Wan definitely has a loyal following of local residents. While he waited to wait on us, Steve busied himself by wrapping dumplings at the table in the corner. I wish I could have taken a video.
The menu was out of the 1970’s as well. Family Dinner specials, where you choose from Group A and Group B depending on how many are in your party. And updated now to include Lunch Specials, which are available Monday to Friday, from which we chose.
Whilest perusing the menu, and soaking in the atmosphere (Ho Wan expanded somewhere along the line taking over the store next to it, where there’s a second even larger dining area, which included large circular tables to accommodate large families or parties, with the requisite Lazy Susan’s on them), I was delighted to find the most excellent Chow Mein Noodles for us to munch on along with the delicious duck sauce and mustard to dip them in. Mee Ette said that on weekends, they serve the wide chow mein noodles. I actually prefer the ones that we had today.
Gonzi Biao told us that the ribs were to die for, so was there a doubt that I was going to order the BBQ spareribs? We were also told that their lobster was most excellent. As you saw by the entrance, a sign touting their “Everyday House Special Any Style Lobster specials (for the now reduced price of $17.95 (formerly $23.95), dine-in only.
We both ordered Wonton Soup. Apparently now served in newer bowls, the broth was nice and hot, which was perfect for the cold cold and windy day. Along with the hot tea, this was a good start to our meal. Excepting for the fact that the soup was quite salty. Throw in enough Chow Mein Noodles, I say, and you won’t even notice the saltiness! Still I managed to finish it all and was eagerly awaiting our entrees.
Mee Ette ordered the Szechuan Shrimp, which came with a choice of White, or Pork Fried Rice. She opted for the former. I had the latter with my entree. I must say, her dish was most delish. The shrimp were large, plentiful, succulent, and well seasoned. The vegetables, green and red bell peppers, water chestnuts, etc. were equally as tasty as the shrimp.
My order of BBQ Spareribs and Pork Fried Rice was almost spot on, but fell short on two counts. The ribs were too much. Too much BBQ sauce, and too much cooking. The sauce was overly sweet, spoken by someone who loves their BBQ sauce on the sweet side. The ribs were way too dry. Mee Ette said I could have ordered the ribs to be cooked as I likes them. Next time I will have them prepared to my liking.
A nice touch was the ice cream that came included with our lunch specials. Fortune cookies came with the bill. The bill was extremely reasonable, and the good service of Steve was well rewarded.
Would the Quest come back for dinner one night? The menu did offer a nice selection of Cantonese and Szechuan dishes. However the bent was on pretty Americanized Chinese food.
The cashier area, in and of itself, was quite a sight to behold. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many cats in one place before! And, if you liked the tea, you could buy some to make at home!
You are right!! Good catch. I didn’t answer the question as to whether The Chinese Quest should formally review Wo Han. What do you think we should do?
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)