A recent trip took my companions and myself to Gainesville, Florida. Not being familiar with the restaurant scene in this Sunshine State city, we first consulted Google Maps to see what choices we might have close to our hotel. I narrowed down a few dining options and read reviews penned by past diners. This can often be a tricky situation as it seems many people seem to base their reviews on whether or not they are having a good or bad day. But when you run across an establishment with a few good reviews to one rant that has nothing to do with food or service, then you can feel a little secure in the fact that the restaurant is probably a good one.
So after reading a few positive reviews, I clicked over to Mr. Han’s Restaurant and Nightclub website to review the menu.
The home page of this Gainesville, Florida Chinese restaurant boasts that they have won numerous awards from local publications and local diners. They also boast a few celebrity patrons including George Burns, Robin Williams, Rodney Dangerfield, Bob Hope and Billy Crystal. We later discovered that Mister Han’s is in close proximity to a comedy club.
The menu looked good. The prices were reasonable. The promise of exotic drinks and cocktails was intriguing. The location was within walking distance. We decided to give it a shot.
The atmosphere when we entered Mister Han’s was nice. The dining area was open but the light-level was dark enough to give the space a more intimate feel. There was a nice-sized crowd for a Sunday evening but even with a crowded room the volume level was low enough for us to speak at normal conversation levels.
The service was fast, responsive and attentive all evening. In fact, our waiter, who also happened to be an owner, spent time with us after we finished eating and chatted about China and the tours he directs to Beijing, China and beyond. It was a nice way to wrap up a meal.
The cocktail list was quite extensive and you could choose from three different strength-levels for your drinks. I went went with one of the strongest cocktails – the “Suffering Bastard” I believe it was called – and after two was glad we only had to walk across the street to return to our hotel.
The food did not disappoint. We each tried a different entree and each of us went away full and happy. While I can not recall what my traveling partners chose from the menu. I will never forget my meal. If you try Mister Han’s Chinese restaurant and enjoy beef, then I highly-recommend you try the “Prime Steak, Chinese Style.”
Here is the description from the menu. “Prime New York sirloin, cooked as you like it and served with a dark and delightful soy-based sauce. Some say that this dish is just perfect, others claim it is a religious experience, but most customers just say, “Bring on the steak.” No Chinese restaurant has ever had anything like it. Try it, and you’ll see what we mean.”
I would not say it was a religious experience but I would say I have never had any steak dinner as good at any Chinese restaurant. The cubes of beef were so tender that they melted in my mouth like butter. The sauce was a perfect match. It did not overwhelm or underwhelm the steak.
The total experience that evening at Mister Han’s Restaurant and Nightclub in Gainesville Florida was a very rewarding one. The atmosphere was inviting. The food was delicious. The service was perfect. The discussion and historical education about China, its people and its history was a wonderful bonus.
The next time you are on a golf vacation, family getaway, business trip or any other reason you find yourself in Gainesville, Florida; make sure to take the time to enjoy a meal at Mister Han’s.