Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

I feel as though Hong Kong Restaurant has watched fashionable spots and hip joints come and go as the Hillcrest scene has developed. After all, drunken scenesters are the number one candidates for late night Chinese food on the quick. Years of sitting there in semi-squalid pallor, neon signs glowing like the opening scenes of Blade Runner, have paid off and given Hong Kong a reputation as a go-to spot.

Sure, maybe the dim glow of the ancient lights make the dining room look a little...dystopian. After dark, It's almost as if the sun has never shown on the inside of the restaurant; as though generations of dreams have died in the kitchens, burned away over a smoking hot wok.

None

Looks aren't everything though and that run-down, shabby, hole-in-the-wall look is charming once you get inside and cozy up to a pot of hot tea, reading your fortunes in the zodiac placemats. Of course, the waiters are friendly, happy too help, and ruthlessly efficient as they bustle about the dining room and speak in clipped Chinese. The food that comes out of the kitchen's recesses steams and promises satisfaction.

In a rush, I ordered takeout instead of lingering. Some other day, perhaps, I'll occupy a booth and sit forever drinking hot tea late into the night.

The menu contained enough options that I could have sat and contemplated without an end in sight. I chose a simple "that looks good" approach that served me well in the long run.

Steamed buns ($2.95) were filled with sweet and salty nondescript meat that was probably pork but tasted of Hoisin sauce. Fried chicken wings ($6.95) were covered in garlic and scallions. The breading was thick and salty, concealing fatty, rich chicken that required serious efforts to chew from the bone, but not in a bad way, more in a "rise to the challenge" way.

None

None

On the menu, Yu Hsiang pork ($9.95) bore the little chili-pepper icon emblematic of a spicy dish and, though it brought forth zesty overtones of Szichuan pepper, it's spiciness was ultimately restrained. Most people would find it easy to eat. The kung pao triple crown--featuring shrimp, beef, and pork for $12.95--could have been smothered in the sweeter cousin to the Yu Hsiang sauce. Both dishes were amply portioned, enough for two meals, and contained oceanic volumes of spicy oil. It was a light oil, so the effect wasn't overwhelmingly greasy, and it carried all the salty, spicy, umami flavor that I expected out of the dishes.

None

There was little to distinguish the two dishes, and I predict that most of Hong Kong's food follows the same pattern: huge portions of meat, smothered in flavorful sauces, served piping hot and very, very quickly. I would say that the price was only somewhat justified, as dinner for two cost nearly $40, so that's the major hang-up. Getting at least a meal-and-a-half is only partial compensation because, while re-heated Chinese food is pretty amazing, there's no denying that leftovers lack charm.

But, hey, when it's late and you've had a few drinks, Hong Kong starts to look better and better until, wooed by the its divey charms, the wings, barbecued pork, noodles, and chop suey work their magic.

3871 4th Avenue
619-291-9449
Sun-Thu 11AM-2:30AM
Fri & Sat noon-3AM

More like this:

Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close