After a long day and a late start for dinner, we decided on the second location of Han Dynasty, extremely close to campus. This new place is huge, quite red, and newly renovated. I liked the casual, relaxing ambiance. The servers were extremely slow and inattentive, though. It took forever to get one of them to place our order, then to bring the check and take the credit card. There was not that many tables in the large restaurant and many of them were simply standing around. After being open for two months, I expect way better and speedy service.
We started with Garlic Sauce Pork, which was surprisingly not sweet and garlicky at all. It was mostly just salty and spicy. I think I prefer the more generic garlic sauce, although this was not bad; it was probably more authentic anyways. The shredded pork was extremely tender and succulent. The bamboo shoots were lovely, as were the scarce black wood ear. The portion was not too small but it was nowhere near big either. The sauce was very flavourful, and there was plenty to coat the meat and vegetables.
Next came the Bok Choy w/ Black Mushrooms, which I insisted upon since I needed some vegetables. The arrangement was nice and circular. The bok choy halves were crunchy and retained their moisture. It only had flavour on the outside, where the sauce was coated. It was just a regular, thickened savoury soy sauce-based type of sauce. The flavour was simple but went nicely with the vegetables. The shiitake mushrooms were plump and tasty as well. Coated with sauce, they were quite bouncy, which I liked.
Finally, the Cumin Lamb was not what we were used to. The lamb meat was so succulent, tender, and perfectly cooked. However, they were covered in cumin spices that it became almost a thin batter. The spice was just too much, even if it was not exactly too spicy. When there is too much cumin, the flavour becomes monotonic. I enjoyed the onions, though, as they were sweet and nicely spiced. The portion was again quite small for the price.
I think Han Dynasty is good if you want something a little more authentic and higher quality than a generic restaurant like Sang Kee Noodle House. It is certainly pricier with perhaps even smaller portions. However, the flavours are definitely more complex and authentic. I could have used so much more chilis and spiciness, but the dishes still had a decent kick. There is something to be said about limited menu choices after all.