Beef tartar with black horseradish cream was fresh and balanced, with just enough
horseradish to tickle the sinuses. The beef, however, could have been served a bit colder and finely diced.
Salt and pepper seafood is a classic take on a Chinese classic. In this case shrimp was deep fried, tossed in a salt and mixture and topped with a bit of housemade sweet chili sauce and diced scallion. The kitchen could've gone a little heavier on the salt and pepper and left off the jalapeno slices.
The crispy chicken with chili sauce is one of the most labor intensive items on the menu, and a holdover from its former self. Whole chickens are boiled and then hung, allowing a layer of fat to develop between the skin and the meat. The chicken is then deep fried and served with housemade sweet chili sauce.
Hickory smoked salmon is one of Jarryd's dishes that emerges from the kitchen covered in an upside down champagne flute filled with hickory smoke. A poof and the smoke clears, revealing a blini topped with smoked salmon and wasabi 'caviar.' This dish was the biggest miss for us. The smoke was unnecessary showmanship, the blini too thick, dense and cold and the wasabi caviar, gelled to imitate flying fish roe, provided none of wasabi's trademark punch.
Garlic snow pea tips made up for it, however. The leaf tips are simply stirfried in a mixture of neutral oil and pungent garlic, a perfect foil for the tender greens. We're happy this one made it through.
It's hard to try to pin down exactly what Hop Won, which means "cheers" in Chinese, has become. We imagine there will be those who love it, and those who hate it. Nonetheless the Stelters have put it all on the line, including $75,000 to refurbish the place. Some people talk about seizing an opportunity, others do it.
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