Score! I did not know about this place. I think it might be a well-kept secret so it is a good thing that no one reads this blog. I'm not sure how long it has been here under the current management but the facility has clearly been around for a long time Others possibly know it as Yagger's or The Lucky Penny. Holy Chow is located on West Pender, just east of Richards. It is open daily from 11 am to midnight and we showed up kind of in the early afternoon on a Saturday.
To say it was challenging to get in is putting it mildly. Maybe we would have done better if we had known some kind of secret knock. We arrived to find a handwritten sign that said they would be back at 3:45 but 3:45 came and went, then 4:00 and by 5:00 and I was ready to give up and storm away in a huff. My wife decided to phone them and was told that they were open! Apparently, they did not know that the front door was locked and that the 3:45 sign was still on the door. Sigh. It was worth the effort.
There were quite a few vegan items on the menu including the Black Truffle-Mushroom Dumplings. These were hand made in house and had just a subtle flavour on truffle in a nicely chewy wrapper. Served with a dipping sauce, this was a somewhat inspired dish and we were off to a good start.
These vegan Vietnamese Spring Rolls were also pretty special. Crispy and veggie filled, any spring roll connoisseur would be appreciative.
Always important to get your veggies and the Asian Greens were not surprisingly, very good. A crispy topping (garlic etc.?) and an Asian sauce rounded it out.
And finally, we had a nicely hearty Dan Dan bowl. We ordered this with rice and it came with tofu, chili oil, crispy chickpeas and mustard greens. Very tasty. What we like most about the menu at HC is that there is at least one vegan choice in each category. Well, other than Korean Fried Chicken and frankly, some people are doing pretty well making plant based chicken (hint, hint).
The manager/owner came to check on us before we left (which was nice and always makes a customer feel important) and told us a little about their food and operation. It seems that Thursday to Saturday are standup comedy nights at HC with shows at 8 and 10 (I could have gotten details wrong. I would be happy if someone corrected me). That might serve to explain some of the afternoon confusion as things must get to jumping as the evening approaches. They evidently take a lot of care with their food menu, most items made in house, making food as important as comedy and beverages here. We liked that!
Food 4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options 4 out of 5
Comfort 4 out of 5 (once we actually got in!)
Service 4 1/2 out of 5
Value 4 1/2 out of 5
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