Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Han Dynasty 02-15-2014

Location: 90 3rd Ave.
Time: 3:30pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: Originally from Philadelphia, Han Chiang's popular Han Dynasty has been a fan favorite in East Village. At 3:30pm on a dreary, post-Valentine's Day afternoon, the place was completely packed with hungry families, kids, NYU students, and packs of bros and girls chatting about their dates from the night before (will not pass the the Bechdel test).

There are some similarities between two establishments: Han Dynasty and Mission Chinese in LES-- Both serve American friendly Sichuan cuisine and have gained cult followings outside of NYC before their big move to Manhattan. Han Dynasty is absolutely not hip in any sense, especially compared to Mission Chinese, where you will find a Twin Peaks-themed bathroom, a former Uniqlo model Chef.

Han Dynasty offers "Tasting Menus," starting at $20 per person for parties of eight plus. Also on the menu, you will see distinctly labeled (1) - (10), which are the spice levels that can be altered to your taste. Each dish is generous in portion that is perfect as family style. The most popular, dandan noodles ($7.95, spice level 8) is the highlight of the meal. This is absolutely one of the best noodle dishes in the city as well as Cold Sesame Noodles ($6.95, spice level 0). They both have fierce amount of garlic and umami. The garlic was so strong that on our way home, we stunk up the 4 train with garlic oozing out of our bodies.

Speaking of more garlic, the chef's Taiwanes influence shines through Fried Taiwanese Sausages ($7.95) with several sliced cloves of raw garlic on the side, this is truly a stinky dish. Although this isn't something you want to eat on a date, RB thought it was delicious. It had a nice bite and wonderful smokey flavor.

The Crispy Rice Style ($12.95 with tofu. sweet and sour sauce with bamboo shoots, black mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms on sizzling crispy rice) is excellent in flavors and texture. The crispy rice soaks up all the tasty sauce and becames the perfect left over meal the next day.

We will have to go back. RB will certainly try their deep fried dry pepper wings ($9.95 spice level 8) along with another bowl of addictive dandan noodles.

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