2 Fleur
Average check per person $25-$35
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Hoshun

Uptown 1: Garden District & Environs: 1601 St Charles Ave. 504-302-9716. Map.
Casual.
AE DC DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
On Hoshun’s website, owner Steve Ho claims not to be a Chinese restaurant, but one that mingles all the most popular Asian cuisines. They are all mixed up throughout the menu, which is all right, I guess–many other restaurants do the same things with other cooking styles. So you can have pho, sushi, pad thai, and General Tso’s chicken all in one meal. And that works just fine. But I don’t see much in the way of inventiveness–this is not a fusion, but a collection. Nor do I detect a sure sense of taste in any part of the menu.

WHAT’S GOOD
The spread between the great dishes here and the not-so-great is wider than I’ve seen in awhile. The sushi bar and the Thai dishes have been the best. The Chinese food is the least interesting, although even among those are both excellent (ton-po lamb, Yu-Shang shrimp, ma-po tofu) and ghastly (pumpkin-seed and plum duck, pot stickers) dishes. In five visits, I’ve tried to puzzle out a rhyme to this, but have decided that it’s unpredictable, making me wonder whether the cooks understand what they’re cooking.

BACKSTORY
Steve and Alice Ho have managed good Chinese restaurants for decades, starting with the Jade East in the 1970s. They were partners in Five Happiness (but not since 2005). Hoshun was on the drawing board when Katrina came. That delayed the opening two years, but we were still so restaurant-deprived then that the place made a big splash.

DINING ROOM
A unique interior design changes as you move from one part of the maze-like restaurant to another. Lighting is distinctive; ocean waves appear to ripple across the floor. The central room has tables a little too close to one another for me, but this seems to foster a social scene among the many younger customers. The smallish sushi bar is in the center of this. The liquor bar, which also includes several booths for dining, is somewhat isolated. The service staff has ranged from congenial to matter-of-fact. The music mix is less than serene.

ONLINE MENU LOCATION

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
Egg drop soup
Miso soup
»Hot and sour soup
Vegetable and tofu soup
Imperial wonton soup
Japanese ginger salad
Snowcrab salad
»Seaweed salad
Squid salad
Tossed Thai beef salad
Sashimi salad
»Spice-crusted ahi tuna salad
Edamame
Chinese egg roll
Cajun egg rolls (alligator and crawfish)
Vietnamese summer rolls (shrimp and pork, cool)
Oysters tempura
Shrimp tempura
»Shrimp lettuce wrap
Crab and crawfish rangoons
Jalapeno, snow crab and crawfish poppers
Sweet barbecue pork
»Five pepper fried calamari
Pot stickers / dumplings
Baked salmon, snow crab, bbq eel sauce
Hamachi kama (yellowtail neck)
Sushi bar
Pepper tuna
»Tuna tataki
Lotus white fish
Seafood martini
»Torched Hawaii white tuna
Yellowtail jalapeño sashimi
»Yellowtail tartare
Sushi or sashimi assortment entrée
»Chirashi (sashimi over sushi rice)
Sushi and sashimi love boat for two
»Specialty sushi rolls (many kinds, or made to order)
Entrees
Boneless fried chicken and vegetables
»Sweet Thai chili chicken
»General Tso’s chicken
Kung pao chicken, shrimp or beef, Szechuan red peppers, peanuts
Moo goo gai pan
»Asparagus chicken in XO sauce
Almond crusted chicken
Pumpkin seed plum duck
Beef with broccoli
XO beef (sweet-hot brown sauce)
»Spicy Hunan beef
Mongolian beef
Butter pepper mignon
»Cracked pepper beef
Orange flavor beef
Goo lu pork
»Ma-po tofu
Hoshun pork ribs
»Ton-po lamb (braised, soy reduction, cabbage)
Rack of lamb, Asian cracked pepper
Cajun shrimp or alligator
»Crispy ginger shrimp
Shrimp with mixed vegetables
Szechuan shrimp
»Orange peel prawns
Prawns and candied pecans
»Salt and pepper shrimp
»Yu-Shang crawfish or shrimp (asparagus, garlic, balsamic vinaigrette)
»Soft shell crab, black bean sauce
XO scallops and shrimp
Whole fish, steamed with ginger or fried
Tofu and vegetables
Chinese stir-fried vegetables
Sautéed broccoli, string beans or asparagus with XO sauce
»Chinese eggplant, basil sauce
Sautéed spinach, garlic
Rice and noodles
Beef or seafood chow fan, wide noodles, peppers, onions, mushrooms
»Pad Thai
Singapore rice noodles (pork and shrimp, Malay curry)
Yaki soba or udon noodles, chicken, beef, shrimp, mixed veggies
Seafood udon soup
»Vietnamese pho, sliced tenderloin or meatball
Thai coconut curry soup, shrimp or chicken
Rice and noodles

FOR BEST RESULTS
Start with sushi, split a Thai noodle dish, then choose Chinese menu items that are neither abecedarian nor very complicated. Or slurp pho.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
When it’s good, Hoshun is quite good, but it’s inconsistent even among the parts of a single meal. Some dishes are stunning visually; others seem to have been thrown onto the plate. This keeps the place from being great.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +1
  • Consistency -2
  • Service
  • Value +1
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +1
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Romantic
  • Many private rooms
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open after midnight (until 2 a.m.)
  • Open all afternoon
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Free valet parking
  • Reservations accepted

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Aside from a dozen or so local chopsticks houses with their own personalities, two trends–both from New York City–dominate the New Orleans Chinese restaurant market these days. On one hand are small, very inexpensive Chinese places focusing on take-out and delivery business. Few of those are worth talking about, but the clientele they cater to isn’t looking for the fine points anyway. The other trend involves more substantial restaurants with ambitious menus that mix Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean dishes with the Chinese food. These appeal to a more sophisticated crowd, with stronger claims about their chefs and ingredients. (And prices noticeably higher than you may be accustomed to finding in Asian eateries, although they remain lower than those of comparable Creole, French or Italian bistros.)

Hoshun is in the latter category. It’s a good example of both what’s right and what’s wrong with the new Pan-Asian vogue.


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