Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Full Ho

Even though this restaurant isn't one to write home about, it is worthy enough to blog about because it is a great value. Full Ho, which used to be Ho Ho Ho, is located in the crappy shopping center off Jones and the 95. There used to be a Smith's there, but now Full Ho is amongst the few remaining businesses (perhaps this is why they also sell ice - 10 lbs. for $1.85). The ambiance is drab, but you can learn a lot about yourself by reading the Chinese Zodiac place mats. I found out that as someone born in the year of the Boar, I am prone to marital strife, so I was at least pleased to see that Ian, the creative yet timid Sheep, is one of my best love matches.

All the food is prepared by one woman, whose sweet and competent daughter serves the food. Ian and I were mildly impressed by the food for a few reasons. First, it is one of the only places that serves Chinese lunch specials where we didn't have to doctor the soups that are included with the meal. Normally, we have to add soy sauce to the egg drop soup to give it some flavor, but here is came out well-seasoned and piping hot. Ian opted to upgrade to the hot and sour soup for $1 more, which was more impressive the last time we went. This time, although flavorful, you could see the excessive amount of pepper coat the spoon. Even Ian, who always asks for a level ten heat in Thai restaurants, thought she went overboard on the pepper and couldn't finish the small bowl. We found this strange because the Chinese are not big on heat.

Ian ordered the Grandfather's Chicken ($5.95) and I ordered the Shrimp with Vegetables ($5.95). The Kung Pao Chicken he got last time was only $4.95, so you really can't beat the lunch prices here. I asked him to describe in three short statements what he thought of his dish and his response was: 1) The chicken is over-fried, 2) Nothing in nature could produce the color of this gelatinous sauce, and 3) It's like eating a boot. I was more positive about my Shrimp with Vegetables. So positive, in fact, that I forgot to take a good picture before I had eaten most of it. The dish was loaded with fresh and perfectly cooked broccoli (which you won't see in the picture because it was gone by the time I remembered), baby bok choy, carrots, snow peas, and celery. I really appreciated that the chef didn't overdo it with the typical vegetables like baby corn and water chestnuts. I really hate when you order vegetable dishes at quick Chinese restaurants and 50% of it comes out of a can, as these staples always do. The sauce in the dish was flavorful and light, and the portion of shrimp was pretty hefty for $5.95. I think I counted 7. I would certainly order it again. The meals each came with a side of mediocre fried rice (we much prefer the fried rice from our local China Joe's, a take-out/delivery restaurant) and what appeared to be a crab rangoon without crab. The fried cream cheese puff with no seasonings would be better left off completely, as it was clearly an afterthought intended to enhance the perceived value of the dish on the menu.

I suppose this review won't likely inspire you to go to Full Ho, however, if you are on a budget and pick the right thing on the menu, I don't think you'll be dissatisfied. Even Ian said he would go back despite his chicken comments, but I'll let you know if he changes his mind.

Today's food rating: 5.5 (would have been a 6-6.5 if Ian hadn't ordered anything)
Ambiance: 5

Tip: Don't go on Monday. They're closed.

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