629 W. Prien Lake Rd. • Lake Charles • 337-602-6699
During election time, when I was doing my best to ignore the ridiculous behavior on social media, I happened across a post about a new Japanese/Chinese restaurant that opened in the old Hong Kong on Prien Lake Rd. The poster went on and on about how great this restaurant’s spicy tuna is. Chelsea and I have been on an absolute spicy tuna mission, as of late, so we decided to use a date night to check it out.
The old Hong Kong location is one of the spots in Lake Charles everyone associates with the previous tenants — Inn on the Bayou will always be the old Bennigans, and La Star will always be Piccadilly.
When we pulled up, the first thing Chelsea said was that she noticed the building had gotten a much-needed fresh coat of paint, and some brand new Koi in the ponds. When we walked in, it was definitely a different place than I remembered — and I used to destroy that buffet with my brother, Marco, and my good buddies James “JT” Talbert and Brian Goodwill, when we were younger, so I have a clear memory of it. This wasn’t it, anymore.
The new place has a very fresh feel, and the layout really opens it up. It feels much bigger without that huge buffet set-up.
We got a booth near the sushi bar, which gave me a clear view of the room, so I could check out what everyone else was getting. I tell you, I got excited walking into the room, because the food looked great, and the entire place was full of several amazing aromas.
My one and only knock on the place was the menus. There were hard menus and iPad menus, and the menu I took home with me didn’t list some of the dishes we had there, but we got our food figured out relatively quickly.
We started out with a Salt and Pepper Calamari and the Nagoya Ceviche. This is one of the items I’m unable to find on my menu, or on their website. The calamari was fried, and then sautéed with a carrot, onion and pepper blend, and served with a duck sauce. Now, anyone that knows me knows I love dipping things, and so does my boy. But the calamari was so full of flavor that I only dipped once, and proceeded to blow through this dish.
The ceviche was a combination of tuna, salmon and a third fish (I’m not sure what it was), green peppers, red onions and tomatoes, tossed with a ginger-flavored sauce and sesame seeds. Damn! is all I need to say — that, and that you must try it.
For our entrée, we ordered a Red Dragon Roll, and the Dragon and Phoenix, which, in hindsight, seems to be a dragon overload.
The tuna was fresh-tasting, and it just dissolved in my mouth. I just ate the roll, and never even put any soy sauce on it, which almost never happens. The second time I visited this place, I went in for lunch, and I ordered the same roll. This one was different, as it didn’t have any avocado, but the roll was great, so I am not sure if it was a completely different roll, but I enjoyed both.
The Dragon and Phoenix is simply a stir-fry shrimp and General Tso Chicken — a simple choice, but a very good meal. We took nothing home with us, because there was nothing left.
I went to lunch with Garret Broussard and Donovan Dupuis. I had to order the calamari again, and I am sure I ate almost 75 percent of it myself. I got a miso soup, and maybe the Red Dragon Roll. Again, everything I got was great.
Donovan got a Mongolian Beef Bento Box. For what they charge, you got a ton of food. I don’t think he made it through the entire box. He said he loved everything. Garrett went with the Sesame Chicken lunch special, which came with an egg drop soup, egg roll, and fried rice. Again, it was a great-sized lunch special for a more than reasonable price.
This is a great place to eat, and the place has a really relaxing feel to it. The staff has been more than friendly both my times in there. It’s nice to have a really good, new option for some bad ass Asian food. Go check this place out; I’m sure you will be more than pleased with your experience.
COMING SOON: THE VILLA
I know a lot of you have heard that Mike Sperandeo, formerly of The Italian Villa, is opening a new spot simply known as The Villa, with the help of Rick and Donna Richard.
I’d like to point out that both Rick and Donna have really put their money into this downtown area. They continue to find great talent in the culinary world, and they help these people realize their dreams. They should be commended for their efforts.
We will be sitting down with Mike and his chef, and we will be sampling some of his creations so that I can get you as excited as I am to get some good Italian food in Lake Charles. Stay tuned.