When I was walking back from lunch on Saturday, another storefront caught my eye. The exposed Edison bulb chandeliers and dark wood surfaces made me think this was going to be a hip coffee place on the rejuvenated Main street in Alhambra, but it was actually Honey Badger — yes, the same Honey Badger as the popular coffee, tea, and study spot just a few blocks down on the same street.
Honey Badger Restaurant, unlike Honey Badger Cafe, has more of a focus on food. Their specialty is their house-made noodles, and you know how much I like noodles. So much that I returned to the same area for dinner just so I could try out the restaurant, even though it was in their soft-opening* phase.
From the limited menu, Will and I ordered the Honey Badger wings, roulette peppers, garlic noodles, and eggplant noodles.
The roulette peppers are fried shishito peppers tossed with a savory, slightly tangy sauce. None of the ones I had were all that spicy.
The Honey Badger wings was my favorite dish of the night. The sauce was garlicky, salty, with a slight tang that made it hard to resist licking my fingers after the wings were done.
The man who took our ordered recommended the garlic noodles only if we were garlic lovers, and boy, was right about that. The bouncy, chewy noodles were doused in a lot of garlic. So much so that it was almost too garlicky for me, and I do love a bit of garlic.
The eggplant noodles were a little more muted in comparison. I liked the slightly sweet taste of the eggplant noodles. While the noodles were of a great texture, even slightly stretchy, the slight sauce on the noodles made them a bit too sticky for me.
To drink with our meal, Will ordered an iced chrysanthemum herbal tea, light on the sugar. It was shaken with crushed ice and was a wonderful refreshing drink to have with the meal. I went with the classic almond milk tea (also light on sugar) and it definitely hit the spot. If the mug looks large in the picture, it’s because it is very large.
It’s nice to have a new, different spot to dine at in the neighborhood and I’m curious to see what their more established menu will bring.
Honey Badger Restaurant
555 W Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801
(free parking in a lot right next to the restaurant)
* Here’s my gripe about soft openings: I understand that they’re useful for restaurants that want to try out their menu and staff, or still have a few kinks to iron out, but if that were the case, then the restaurant shouldn’t be charging full price. If you want diners to help you test out your restaurant, then give them a discount, or make it free. If that’s not financially feasible, then open it to only friends and family at a discount. It seems like restaurants use the ‘soft opening’ term so that people are less critical about their dishes. I think it’s only fair that if a restaurant is charging full price, then it should be critiqued under the same standards as fully-opened restaurants. It’s not a criticism of Honey Badger specifically — just restaurants who hide under the ‘soft opening’ term.