The place we saw on tv came to NYC?!! 2 hour wait?? Sure! Free beer while waiting inside the tiny entryway? Very nice!
Low prices, big portions, super fast service (once you finally get seated) and a percentage of each meal goes to charity? 5 stars!
As for the food... different stars for each dish.
The pickled vegetables- small bowl at $4 - not too spicy and very good pickled flavor with a super tasty dressing. 4 stars
Salted cod fried rice- this was the tastiest fried rice I've ever had, although I don't eat it often. 4-5 stars for great flavor and the texture/consistency of the rice was actually fluffy...Really different... Only problem it was super salty. (should have assumed that...salted cod..duh). This however, was not spicy.
Now I am not sure what made my boyfriend order the thrice cooked bacon, but he did. And whoa- this was the weirdest/spiciest/saltiest dish I have ever tasted. It left some weird tingling/numbing sensation in our mouths...really like nothing ever experienced before. It was bizarre. A combo of the spices and the way-too-salty thick bacon - not quite sure what numbed my tongue for 15 minutes. The rice saved us once it came out.
Turns out the peppercorns they use cause a tingling, numbing sensation. (If you google it, the type of peppercorns actually cause a neurological distortion!). The most bizarre meal experience ever, and really I thought the dish was quite awful.
Menu items sure are unique. I guess I'm not as adventurous as I thought.
Mapo Tofu bowl next to us looked awesome, but our neighbors said it was way too spicy to finish. Unfortunately, dishes that are too spicy for the average diner to finish is probably the norm here.
Probably the loudest, most tightly packed restaurant I have ever been in.
Wouldn't return for that ambience, only for take out. Maybe in a year when the place cools off. I do think this chef knows FLAVOR and I would return for take out of another couple of his dishes. After all, strong flavor is my favorite thing. Just can't deal with the overly salty (MSG maybe?) puffy hangover the next day.