By David Gisch
I had high expectations for Red Hana. Having eaten at a similar Mongol grill in Lubbock a few months ago, I felt this was going to be a treat.
Red Hana’s’ signature dish is the Mongol grill bowl. The waiters give you a small metal dish and allow you to fill it with whatever you desire from the grill bar. Patrons construct the dish their own way, allowing creativity and food preferences to determine the contents of their entree.
Patrons begin their Mongol grill bowl with a protein such as sliced or chunked beef, chicken or imitation crab. Next, you add your choice of vegetables. While the vegetable selection was quite large and supplied adequately, there were no basic spices such as salt and pepper.
To top off the dish, there are a variety of sauces and other liquids that can be mixed for additional flavor. Once a sauce is made, you can choose which bed you would like your food served on. The bedding options include fried rice, rice noodles, egg noodles and steamed rice.
While waiting for the entrée, the wait staff bring everyone a small bowl of chicken broth with light garnish and mushroom. The broth is generic and has little to offer in the way of flavor.
When I was served, I couldn’t believe how small the helping was. My meal didn’t fill half the bowl and was cooked in an obvious rush. The flavor of the entree was bland and only really became present after I ate a piece of beef. I had created my bowl to be a spicy dish and was left desiring any type of flavor.
The amount of excess oil left in the bowl after I finished eating was completely unnecessary. Because of the lack of taste and the raw vegetables, it was obvious that the cooking process for my food was fast.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is nice. It has an open dining area with well-placed decorations for a good and traditional feel. The low hum of Japanese music sets a good tone for the place. The cups and bowls are vibrant colors of blue and pink and are unique to the restaurant.
The wait staff didn’t have a clue. My waiter did not so much as ask me if my food was all right until I was on my last bite and both my bowls were empty.
I was in clear need of more napkins for the entire visit.
Those things would be semi understandable if I hadn’t been making up a third of the restaurant’s business.
Overall, Red Hana offers a low to medium quality meal for an average to expensive price. The atmosphere doesn’t make up for the lack of flavor in the food or the poor quality of the wait staff.
Look to spend $6 to $12 on a meal that has small portions for the price.
Originally published: Friday, September 16, 2011
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