Hsu's Hunan Yu Chinese Restaurant

In many ways Hsu's Hunan Yu is a perfect cliché, an idealized version of every Chinese restaurant you've ever been in. (Close your eyes and picture a small, family-owned ethnic eatery. Got it?) The Hunan Yu is a tiny hole in the wall, a storefront tucked into an old shopping strip that contains a bar that calls itself a lounge (and looks to have time-traveled to our present age), a consignment clothing shop and, just for variety, a baby consignment shop. To say seating is at a premium would be an understatement; the roughly half-dozen tables would have trouble holding a Little League team, should one ever decide to drop by for brilliant Chinese in lieu of pizza and watery snow cones. A bulletin board near the entrance is covered with photos of the various high school students who've worked here over the years, many of them clad in graduation regalia. The walls are covered in novelty money and newspaper clippings and a thousand other bits of random memorabilia. Two of the owners' daughters work or have worked waiting tables and answering the phone. All of which is to convey that this isn't a restaurant so much as a second home. The owner, Mrs. Hsu herself, is behind the counter 99 out of 100 times you walk in the door; Mr. Hsu is nearly always in the kitchen. No fancy fusion cuisine here; no Korean-barbecue-burrito-yuppie-food-truck fare. Just every Sino-American delicacy that's served up at any carryout Chinese place restaurant worth its soy sauce. Every takeout order, regardless of the content, is given the same time estimate: fifteen minutes. (Shrimp lo mein? Fifteen minutes. A single plum floating in perfume served in a man's hat? Fifteen minutes. Whole pig wrapped in banana leaves and pit smoked? Fifteen minutes.) It isn't the menu that makes Hunan Yu special; it's the execution. Every dish is a flawless rendition, the Platonic ideal. The special fried rice is the best in town, the sesame chicken as dark and glossy and intense as a fine imperial stout. There are no surprises here, unless you count the unexpected joy of familiar perfection. If only all clichés were as rewarding.

Restaurant Details

Map

Nearby

  • or

Newsletters

Join Riverfront Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Don Draper’s Dream Home Is For Sale in Kirkwood [PHOTOS]

Located on a huge lot across from Kirkwood Park, this architect-designed home looks like it’s right out of Dwell magazine. The five…

By Jaime Lees

MONROE
37 slides

Crowds Turned Out for STL Fest at the Big Top at Grand Center [PHOTOS]

Due to rain, the sold out STL Fest was moved from Saturday, May 21, to Sunday, May 22, which seemed just fine…

By Jaime Lees

Crowds Turned Out for STL Fest at the Big Top at Grand Center [PHOTOS]
49 slides

Live the California Dream in This Shrewsbury House [PHOTOS]

This modern, open house looks like it was picked up on the west coast and just dropped down in Shrewsbury. The three…

By Jaime Lees, Riverfront Times

Live the California Dream in Shrewsbury [PHOTOS]
27 slides

We Saw So Many Fancy Doggos at STL Groom Fest [PHOTOS]

The 6th Annual STL Groom Fest took place in Wentzville over the weekend, drawing in local groomers, fur sculpting enthusiasts, and competitors…

By Jaime Lees

We Saw So Many Fancy Doggos at STL Groom Fest [PHOTOS]
142 slides