Ho Toy Luau Restaurant – #45 on the Tour

The Bar: Ho Toy Luau Restaurant

The Address 401 Park Avenue

The Day and the TIme Wednesday at 4pm

The price 6.70

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime No, she put it in like mind reading.

What was the type of gin Well

What was the gin and tonic like It was strong. This is my first Chinese restaurant bar and I have heard that the drinks at these places can be alcohol intensive, and this made the case well. It was okay, but it felt a little like drinking aromatic lighter fluid.

The Joint I really was excited about going into this one, because I passed it for years, never seeing anyone enter or leave it. It was just this Pagoda fixture on Park Ave. So I went in and in front of me were old school red leather booths for diners, making me feel like the characters of Glen Gary Glen Ross were going to show up and start swearing in a majestically poetic manner. But my destination was to the right, the cocktail lounge. It felt like a waiting room. Kind of tight and a little shabby. There were boxes and supplies at one side (which is one of my turn-offs, please make the bar not feel like the broom closet if you don’t mind). The bar was alright, but it had a real neutral-cum-bland feel.

General Impressions This is the tough part of the tour I am on. I don’t have the time or inclination to make it to the bars at times that might be their big traffic moments. Sometimes I come at off times and no one is there, so I am left with a conundrum: should I come back when it is more like itself or should I just go in and see what an off-time is like at the joint. I still don’t have the answer to that.  With this place, I stopped in three times, during afternoons and one early evening and saw that it was empty. The first two times, I said, I want this place to be at its best and left without stepping into the bar area. But this, the third time, I stuck my head in and said, the hell with it, I know there is only one guy at the bar, but let’s get this one done and off the list.

Of course, the minute I walked in, the other guy at the bar walked out for a smoke. He was smoking his cigarette for the entirety of my stay there at Ho Toy.Leaving me alone with the bartender who was not mean or surly, but certainly not friendly, goodness no. Let us call her efficient. I watched a few minutes of Law and Order: SVU. I hate Law and Order:SVU. So the drink I had was infused with my dislike for a tv program that I was staring at.

I tried to imagine it crowded. Six o’clock on a Friday? Ten on Saturday? I don’t know. I was alone with possibilities I was not offered. I am sure those happy people would be drinking Mai Tais and Scorpion Bowls. But how much of a bar is that happy raucous time and how much is the time I was sitting in? The dead time? The too early for fun time? The where are all the good time kids and where have they gone to now time? If Purgatory is a real place, it would be like this waiting room shaped bar in an empty Chinese Restaurant at four o’clock in the middle of the week, in the middle of the State.

Amount of Time in the Joint 10 minutes

Will I come back: I don’t know, I don’t think so. Definitely not for the bar, and I have gone 15 years not eating at this restaurant, I probably can extend my streak of absenteeism.


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