Hwa Yuan was a well known Szechuan restaurant in Chinatown back in the day. They had been closed for quite some time and recently reopened with a nice facade and amazing renovation inside. The restaurant is huge. The atmosphere is classy. The plates and cups are nice looking.
The service is very good. They try to be helpful. However, don't assume the tea comes with the meal and don't assume it's a slight charge. A pot of black tea costs $10, but the waiter doesn't even hint that it's not free. I've seen $5 or $6 at times for tea, but $10 for run of the mill black tea is pretty absurd.
We only had three dishes, so it's hard to generalize about the entire menu. However, we ordered the Crispy Beef appetizer and it was burnt and had little flavor. We ordered the mappo tofu which lacked heat, flavor and depth. The tofu itself was too soft of a consistency as well. The final dish was dry sautéed string beans with meat. A dish that is amazingly delicious at Guan Fu and at Kung Fu. At Hwa Yuan, the string beans were tasteless. They were not dry, they were undercooked, possibly frozen, and were not even close to what the dish should be.
Hwa Yuan sounds like " Wha(t) Yu Wan(t)" , In my opinion it should be called Not Hwa Yuan.
I find it hard to believe Pete Wells gave this place a good review
( photos attached)
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