Is It Any Good?

Hand-made noodles in Alhambra.

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Well, this first visit kinda went South fast, but it looks like it wasn’t Honey Badger’s fault.  (BTW, they have no website or Facebook listing).

Okay, let me start off with the optimistic part of the review.

I’m in Honey Badger, a decently new noodle shop along Main St. in Alhambra. In fact, I am literally a stone’s throw from my favorite Dim Sum Place (well, one of them) Lunasia.

Seriously. I could chuck a stone right through their front door, and then maybe get signed by the Dodger’s Pitching staff.

Honey Badger was a place I saw during my latest random “go anywhere, try anything” stop in Alhambra. It’s a couple doors down from Tasty Dumpling House and acros, and…I have to admit Honey Badger tempted me when I first saw it.

Honey Badger looks like (at least on the inside) a college place. It’s modern and sleek inside, and yes dark. (It moodily light with little odd lamp hanging above the table, a trend for some reason now). It’s got these little woodblock seats all over the restaurant, and…natural cut wood plank tables in the center, suspended from both the ceiling and the floor.

Odd.

Oh, and did I mention it’s communal seating in here? At least partially. There are a few private tables here and there, but mostly it’s a bar toward the window, and two huge natural wood tables just past the door. Communal seating is another new trend that that some might find off putting, but I don’t. I saw it increases your chances of getting a seat.

Virgil's Cola served in a frosty mug at Honey Badger.

Communal Chopstick container. Communal glasses.

Yeah, this is very College. There isn’t a college anywhere nearby, right? I mean the closest one is like…Occidental, right?

So, just walk in, get your table. Order from the…unusually shaped menu you’re given, and wait.

…and wait…

…and wait…

…and wait.

There’s a story about that it’s down int the Safety Tip. It’s not as bad as I first thought.

 

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, I’m looking over the menu and I saw the words “Lamb and Cumin Noodles with Fried Egg, and…

They had me at Fried Egg

The Lamb and Cumin Noodles (with Fried Egg) at Honey Badger.

Lamb and Cumin. It’s not as painfully spicy as I feared when the bowl first landed in front of me, but I found myself hanging on for dear life all the same. The Lamb doesn’t just have a kick, it packed a punch. The Egg, and more importantly the Yolk helped quench the fire a bit. It helped, plus you know…I love eggs, so…

The Lamb was a bit oily, but only in that I noticed, not that it decorated from the flavor or the meal. What stood out were the noodles. Someone is making their noodles by hand back there. It think it was a point of pride with this restaurant. You look at their business card, they’re talking about their noodles right up front. They were so good, that even though the Lamb and the Noodles were all mixed in together, they still stood apart from the meal. It was delicious. After a long wait (See the Safety Tip) this was a welcome surprise.

I also had the Fried Kale Dumplings. This was something I haven’t had before. Little crispy nuggets of Kale. The outside remain golden brown, deep fried and crunchy good, but they kept the kale inside from being vaporized. Not bad.

The Fried Kale Dumplins at Honey Badger.

The only downside is that the Menu lists them as Pork and Kale Dumplings or something to that effect. If order up, expecting both. Don’t. Only one is coming.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Okay, couple of things. One, the restaurant looks bigger on the outside than it actually is. It’s got 30 seats, tops. We’re all comfortable, but it’s a cozy comfortable if you know what I mean.

Honey Badger personnel take their orders on a Microsoft Surface…thing. It’s a bright and shiny new technology that they’re clearly having problems with…as in they’re still learning. My waitress struggled a bit as she took my order. It would have been faster just to write it down, but…they’ve got a system. Of course, when she took up my order she accidentally erased the whole thing so…

This is typical of newly, freshly openly places. They need to work the bugs out. So try to be patient. This I think is fixable.

As I was sitting here typing all this (Mind you, I have time to type all this), I noticed the couple next to me kinda wondering where their order was. This was going to be a major red flag, until one of the staff came out quickly, admitted their kitchen made a mistake, and they were fixing it right…right now.

Okay, a major warning to a major plus. Keep acting like that, and I’ll add another star to this review.

On the other hand, when customers are making jokes amongst themselves like “Looks like you got fed” that’s not a good thing.

Right now, an entire dining room is playing Fruit Ninja on their phones, waiting for their food, and the Staff totally off the floor and away from everyone, is not a good look. Like I said, this one apparently is on the kitchen, I’ve hear the Manager say as much, but..hiding from the customers. Only offering an explanation to one of your parties, out of seven…not good. Not well handled.

I’ve drunken my Cola and no one’s exactly offered me a refill. (This eventually gets taken care of), but the fact that the kid who came in after me is getting his food, and I’m having the time to complete this review…not good.

So what happened? Apparently, the County Health Inspector was in. I was wondering what this old woman was doing taking up all of one of the tables, papers spread out, a laptop working. I thought she was doing Accounts for the restaurant. Instead she was deciding whether or not she was giving the place an “A” rating.

On my way out of the restaurant, the Owner came to me, and quietly apologized profusely. I was amount to write a scathing review, but the way she handled thing really helped. She knew it was a disaster today, but she had to help the Health Inspector constantly, so she couldn’t help in the kitchen like she’s used to. She had to help the Cook work up the recipes (and like I said, the food was pretty good), and help get food to the customers, and deal with the Inspector.

It was a tough lunch, but try not to hold it against them. I’m not.

Honey Badger in Alhambra.

PARKING: Honey Badger has a free lot sitting right next to the restaurant. It’s got a decent amount of spaces, so you should be able to get in there okay.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
Honey Badger
555 West Main St.
Alhambra, California 91801

Tel: (213) 394-6639

Hours:
Uncertain, with no Website and nothing on their business card.

Honey Badger in Alhambra.