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Restaurants & Bars 3

Hana no Gyoza review (San Jose / Saratoga)

KK | Mar 26, 200601:12 PM

About 2 months ago I bumped into Takao san (head sushi chef of Sushi Tomi in Mountain View) in the complex where Mitsuwa, Tomi Sushi, and Hana were off Saratoga/280. He recommended that I should drop in and check out his new restaurant sometime. I thought this place was something similar to what Chinese food might be in Yokohama Chinatown in Japan, so shrugged off the thought until yesterday.

I'm sure there have been many other reviews on this place already, so I am going to give it a different spin/perspective.

I spent quite some time browsing the menu and was unsure of what to get for over 5 minutes. I did notice that they added some new items since they first opened, which were your typical Northern Chinese noodle soups. They did have a few other black board specials like stir fried vegetables (spinach, ong choy) to note.

I saw a very cutesy named item, called "negi mochi". The waitress told me when I asked, that this was green onion pancake! Duh.... Well I am a big fan of green onion pancake, so I figure I'd give it a shot. And also decided to try their sui gyoza with the pork, cilantro, and nappa cabbage.

Another 10 mins or so passed and my negi mochi came out. It was freshly fried, but not too oily in appearance. The slices were thin, very crispy, well layered, and salted a little on the high side. But overall it was a very nice rendition, even better than a lot of other Chinese restaurants and almost as good as Joy's verison in Foster City!

Shortly thereafter Takao-san walked in and we said hi to each other. I asked him about where his chef came from and he told me that he was hired from China, somewhere near Sichuan province.

Right at that time, the sui gyoza came out. These are water boiled dumplings, and they looked like the true authentic Northern Chinese style, and pretty much like my favorite ones at San Tung on Irving St in SF. So I am very happy to report that while this version is not as superb as San Tung's, I would say this comes in maybe 2nd or 3rd place . The pork looked pink on the inside, but was fully cooked, really tender and delicious, and even more so after dipping in soy sauce and white pepper. I was impressed. This place may seem like a Japanese style Chinese restaurant, but really is a true Chinese restaurant!

The man next to me ordered the black bean sauce noodles (ja jiang mien), and it looked really good. I will try that next visit. If the noodles are made from scratch then perhaps the noodles soups and fried noodle dishes should be nice as well.

My only suggestion for this restaurant....make Chinese/Taiwanese style beef noodle soup!!! They have chicken noodle soup, pork with mustard greens/preserved veg, but no beef/beef stew. If their noodle is that good, this is a no brainer. Next time I see the owners I will let them know. :-)

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