A first visit to Hue Ky Mi Gia, the new Chinese noodle restaurant in the Lincoln neighborhood, found all of the things I admire about the other locations of the restaurant focused on Chinese comfort eating.
A tangle of egg noodles buried deep in a bowl with a floating raft of bok choy, scallions and a braised duck leg. Steaming chicken wings with a buttery coating. The condiments alone were worth the trip. Pickled jalapenos with a tickle of heat; a bowl of pickled carrots and daikon, too. Every visitor was greeted with a pot of tea.
If you have not yet been, here’s a quick tour of the newest Lincoln District addition, which opened Feb. 28 on South 38th Street. It’s this paper’s policy to avoid criticism of food and service during a restaurant’s first month, which is why I’m focusing on descriptions here:
Background: Hue Ky Mi Gia’s Tacoma restaurant is from Huy Tat. He opened his first Hue Ky Mi Gia in 2009 in Seattle’s International District. Another opened in 2011 at the Great Wall Mall in Kent. Tat also opened a stand inside CenturyLink in 2014 and a higher-end restaurant, Salted Sea Seafood and Raw Bar, in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood in 2015.
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Owner: Tat grew up in Bremerton and was a frequent visitor to Tacoma’s Lincoln neighborhood.
Concept: The noodle restaurant focuses on Chinese noodles done in “a Vietnamese way,” as described by Tat. The restaurant is named after the noodle cart of the same name that his Chinese-born grandfather started in Vietnam after moving there. His grandfather opened the noodle cart in 1959.
Ingredients: Extra care is taken to feature high-quality ingredients. Free-range chicken is listed on the menu; noodles are from specialty noodle makers.
Menu: Egg noodle soup ($7.50-$9); rice noodle soup ($7.50-$8.50); rice vermicelli soup ($7.50-$8.50) take up most of the menu. Each soup lists different meats/seafoods for add-ins, including braised duck, barbecue pork, pork intestines, spareribs, squid, shrimp, tofu and vegetables. Soups can also be ordered “dry style,” with broth on the side.
Ten styles of chow mein are listed ($9-$10, soft or crispy style); as well as 10 styles of chow fun ($9-$10, gravy or dry style); nine kinds of stir fried vermicelli ($9-$10) and more than 10 styles of fried rice ($8.50-$9.50). There’s also a short list of stir-fried meat and vegetable dishes ($9-$10). If you haven’t guessed already, the menu is really long, but none of it very expensive.
Those wings: On the appetizer menu, a must order is the garlic butter chicken wings ($8). Also, on a first visit, get a bowl of egg noodle soup with braised duck ($9).
Do note: The restaurant has been busy since opening. Visit during an off-peak time, or wait another week, unless you are comfortable with crowds.
Dining room: Comfortable, clean and modest, but attractive. The walls are lined with comfy booths, with an assortment of tables big and small in between. A photo of Tat’s grandfather’s Chinese noodle cart is hanging on the wall.
Hue Ky Mi Gia Tacoma
Contact: 711 S. 38th St., Tacoma; 253-272-1268; huekymigia.com.