Hunan Garden Restaurant
11814 N.E. 8th St.
Bellevue WA 98005
As a Long Bellevue Mainstay, Hunan Comes Up Short
By: Steve G
It seems at times, Chinese restaurants are about a dime a dozen, but hopefully as you comb through the scores and scores of restaurants, you hope to find a hidden gem. Right outside the area of Downtown Bellevue sits Hunan Garden. While they offer some good deals in terms of value, they don’t seem to deliver on anything else.
As you approach Hunan Garden, you can easily discern that its been there for awhile. The atmosphere is a little drab with the worn out whites and the worn carpet, but its kept in reasonable condition. It might not look like it from the outside, but the inside is very spacious and the large windows help create a lot of space. It would work well if there was a view, but the only thing we’re treated to is the huge Nissan of the Eastside. They should get a commission for anybody that ends up buying a car across the street after staring so long into the lot.
The lunch menu is a little scare with a couple of lunch special items and we didn’t get a chance to peruse the dinner menu, so we ended up trying out the Moo-Shu Pork and the Szechwan Chicken. Each meal came with a choice of Egg Flower or Hot and Sour Soup, which is pretty much standard in the Chinese lunch menu. Note: If you don’t get a side of soup with your meal, you’re getting a little short changed.
The Szechwan Chicken tasted like they simply switched it out with sweet and sour chicken. With the very thick batter, we thought they either gave us Empress chicken or General Tso’s Chicken. We were expecting some pungent spices but ended getting a super sweet concoction that was the exact opposite of our expectations. The chicken seemed more batter than chicken which turned us off. The rice seem a little bland and the salad that came with the meal was served with ranch sauce. Now we’ve been to a lot of Chinese restaurants and this was the first that has ever served us a salad with ranch. It didn’t come into play with our ratings but it was an interesting fact worth mentioning.
The Moo-Shu Chicken fared much better than the chicken. But the first question to ask is: how do you spell it? We’ve seen it spelled as “Mu-Shu” and “Moo-Shu” but considering that China used to consist of numerous kingdoms and provinces we won’t hunt to far into it, but I digress. Overall, the meal was well prepared with small cut pieces of chicken mixed with a variety of vegetables. It also came with two wontons and two pancakes to wrap the chicken in. The only thing to complain about was the shortage of pancakes. After creating two massive Moo-Shu rolls we still ended up with enough leftovers to make a third one. On retrospect the meal did not seem filling at first glance, but in the end one of us ended up being very full.
The service was across the board standard. They did nothing overly bad, but seemed a little disinterested. We didn’t think badly of it, since the food and the check came out extremely fast. The lunch specials can run up to about $7 and the portions are decent depending on what you order. Most Chinese restaurants price their meals at around $4-5, so it is a bit more than what you would expect.