A recent trip took me and my companions to Gainesville, Florida. Not being familiar with the restaurant scene in this Sunshine State town, we first checked Google Maps to see what options we might have near our hotel. I narrowed down some dining options and read reviews written by previous diners. This can often be a tricky situation, as it seems that many people base their comments on whether they are having a good day or a bad day. But when you come across an establishment with a few good reviews and a tirade that has nothing to do with food or service, then you can feel a bit sure that the restaurant is probably good.
So, after reading some positive reviews, I clicked on Mr. Han’s restaurant and nightclub website to check out the menu.
The home page of this Gainesville, Florida Chinese restaurant boasts of having won numerous awards from local publications and local diners. They also feature some famous bosses, including George Burns, Robin Williams, Rodney Dangerfield, Bob Hope, and Billy Crystal. We later found out that Mister Han’s is very close 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 try.
The atmosphere when we entered Mister Han’s was nice. The dining room was open but the light level was dark enough to give the space a more intimate feel. There was a good-sized crowd for a Sunday night, but even with a packed room, the volume level was low enough that we could talk at normal conversation levels.
The service was prompt, responsive and attentive all night. In fact, our waiter, who also happened to be the owner, spent time with us after we finished eating and chatted about China and the tours he leads to Beijing, China, and beyond. It was a nice way to end a meal.
The cocktail list was quite extensive and you could choose from three different levels of strength for your drinks. I went with one of the stronger cocktails, Suffering Bastard, I think it was called, and after two o’clock I was glad we only had to cross the street to get back to our hotel.
The food did not disappoint. We each tried a different dish and each of us left full and happy. While I can’t remember what my fellow travelers think of the menu. I will never forget my food. If you try Mr. Han’s Chinese restaurant and enjoy beef, I recommend you try “Prime Steak, Chinese Style”.
Here is the description of the menu. “First New York strip steak, cooked to your liking and served with a delicious dark soy sauce. Some say this dish is just perfect, others say it’s a religious experience, but most customers simply say: “Bring the steak. No Chinese restaurant has ever had anything like it. Try it, and you’ll see what we mean.”
I wouldn’t say it was a religious experience, but I would say I have never had such a good steak dinner at any Chinese restaurant. The meat cubes were so tender that they melted in my mouth like butter. The sauce was a perfect match. It did not overwhelm or disappoint the steak.
The total experience that night at Mister Han’s restaurant and nightclub in Gainesville, Florida was very rewarding. The atmosphere was cozy. 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’re on a golf vacation, family getaway, business trip, or any other reason you’re in Gainesville, Florida; be sure to take the time to enjoy a meal at Mister Han’s.