has been around for quite a while - tucked into the upper-level of West Edmonton Mall near the entrance to T&T Asian Market. It used to be a small little place, where more often than not, you were squeezed in next to strangers to enjoy your bowl of pho or vermicelli. They expanded into a much bigger restaurant a while ago, and I had only been there once since the expansion. Trevor and I were in the mall a little while ago, and we wanted to stop for a quick bite to eat, so we decided to go to Hoang Long, because we've enjoyed it in the past.
Their new space is nice, with a slick Asian-cool style. Unfortunately, I feel like they've bitten off more than they can chew with this larger restaurant. The service was absolutely terrible and I don't think the food was as good as it used to be. Sorry Hoang Long, I think we're going to have to break up...It's not me - it's you.
We ordered shortly after being seated: we both wanted the four-colour vermicelli bowl. Nothing too complicated, right? We were seated fairly close to the kitchen, so after 10 minutes or so we noticed two vermicelli bowls waiting to be picked up. Our server came and went to the window numerous times, but the bowls still sat there... 25-30 minutes had passed since the time we ordered and we saw the bowls that had been sitting on the counter all that time were heading our way. Not acceptable, in my opinion, so we sent them back, and asked for fresh, hot meals. (I very, very rarely send food back). Our new vermicelli bowls came out within minutes, nice and hot. Was that so hard?
My bowl was okay - it had charcoal grilled chicken, pork & beef and a few springrolls with a generous sprinkling of roasted peanuts. I felt like maybe the meats weren't as good as I remembered from the past, but maybe my memory was influenced by experience. The springrolls definitely weren't as good as before. Mine were soggy, which was disappointing.
This was not a good experience, which is too bad because I used to really like Hoang Long. I think for the cost and quality I would rather spend my money elsewhere for a bite to eat in the mall (or maybe on new kitchen stuff from Anthropologie).