It seems like it’s a requirement these days to visit Bridgeport newcomer Han 202 and then write about it on the internet. What does everyone have to say?
Chicagoist: “In a neighborhood dominated by carryout joints that specialize in breaded steak sandwiches, having a place like HAN 202 open can be downright frightening, if not a foreign concept. But if ever a neighborhood needed a restaurant that actually gave a damn about something besides “gravy bread” and “red sauce,” it’s Bridgeport. The service, interior and price also makes a great primer for budding gourmands on a budget. If it stays BYOB, HAN 202 should be a can’t miss.”
Sky Full of Bacon: “The simplest, but in many ways the one that impressed me the most precisely because it did so much so delicately with so little, was this creme brulee-soft tofu speared— oh, sign me up for that job— with tiny sprouts … I’m happy to have a Chinese restaurant run by people who seem aware of things happening in the broader food scene and ambitious enough to try to offer a fine dining-like experience at barely above cheeseburger prices.”
NewCity Resto: “While pan-Asian fusion usually connotes confused middling dishes that misrepresent their origins, most everything at Han 202 is better than what you’d find at most Chinese-, Japanese- and Thai-only restaurants … After eating such good food, the professional-food-critic devil on my shoulder is still grasping for some kind of construct to explain this place. How could a spot that breaks so many rules, honors far too many taboos and indulges in a fair bit of surface cliché be such a good experience?”
Yelp: “The food presentation was elegant though a little awkward at times, but I’m a clumsy eater … what can I say? For example, the seared scallop appetizer was served in a bowl and we only had a fork, no knife – this made it difficult to cut into the food without sloshing the soy-based dressing everywhere. I gave up, stabbed it with my fork and ate it, not so elegantly … Service was good, but will need some work. It’s expected in any new place that they need to work out kinks, but our servers were friendly and attentive.”
Chicago Reader: “Like any self-respecting chef, Guan Chen winces at the term fusion. But his judgment is too sound and his touch too deft for any of the excesses that dated label conjures …To say Chen makes things look easy, though, would ignore his facility with sea creatures, like a special of baby scallops, luscious, perfectly cooked, and served in spicy miso broth, or the just-over-wobbly scallops and shrimp he pairs with firm vegetables in a red seafood curry.”
LTHForum: “My girlfriend reports that the sashimi box lunch special is an outstanding value. The fish was very fresh, reasonably priced, and generously portioned. The lunch special even includes miso soup and house salad. At 20 percent off, it’s a pretty remarkable value. No idea re: the non-sushi lunch options, which appear to be sanitized pan-Asian (maybe I’m wrong about this). The prix fixe dinner, which I have had, is also a bargain. Some courses made more of an impression than others, but I would go back. Particularly strong: Miso soup, apple salad, lemongrass beef, lamb chops.”
[Photo via Sky Full of Bacon]