In the past 14 years since Yuki Chen emigrated to the United States from China, she met and married Ken Xie (also a native of China), the pair entered the food service work force … they had a child … and in October 2014, they opened their own Chinese restaurant.
With Mr. Hui’s 2, Chen and Xie are achieving their goal of presenting authentic Chinese food to Lincoln residents.
The pair split the restaurant’s responsibilities with Xie as chef and manager of the kitchen and Chen in charge of host and wait staff and customer service. Both had been in the Chinese restaurant business, and Chen said it was only a natural progression for them to move from employees to management/ownership.
Lincoln hosts another Mr. Hui’s restaurant in the north-central part of the city. Chen said that while there is an extended familial connection and despite the similarity in names, the two are separate restaurants.
Chen said that they like the restaurant’s 70th and Pioneers Boulevard location because of the lack of other Chinese restaurants nearby. Also, she said that there are a number of Chinese families that live in the area and patronize Mr. Hui’s 2.
Lunch customer base consists of business people and area retirees. The dinner trade is more diverse including couples, neighborhood families and Chinese families from near and from across town.
The atmosphere of Mr. Hui’s 2 is quiet and classy with an open dining area, a few private table areas and several booths.
According to Chen, she and Xie try to produce authentic Chinese dishes as well as Americanized Chinese fare. Xie’s talent for blending spices and his unique dining preparations are also cited as restaurant strengths.
Examples of traditional Chinese dishes available at Mr. Hui’s 2 are Roast Duck ($14.95), Boiled Beef in Hot Oil ($11.25) and Boiled Fish ($14.95).
The restaurant’s extensive dinner menu offers close to 140 menu items. The lunch menu is somewhat abbreviated with 40 dining choices ranging from $6.50-$7.99. Chen emphasizes the number of vegetarian dishes on the menu and the availability of gluten-free options.
Ten appetizer choices are on the dinner menu including standards like egg rolls, spring rolls and the restaurant’s popular crab rangoon. Other offerings are Fried or Steamed Dumplings ($5.25), Seaweed Salad ($4.95) and Chicken on Stick ($6.95).
Bean curd with Mixed Vegetable Soup ($4.95) and the popular Seafood Hot and Sour Soup ($6.95) are among the nine offerings under the Soup & Clay Pot category, followed by nine choices of Fried Rice ($6.25-$9.25).
Nineteen different chicken dishes range from $8.95-$9.25, with nine roast pork choices at $9.25 each and 15 beef offerings from $9.25-$14.59. Listed under the Shrimp category are 17 choices from Shrimp with Mixed Vegetable or Hunan Shrimp ($11.75) to more esoteric Sizzling Frog ($11.75) and Salted Crispy Squid ($12.95).
There are seven vegetable entrees ($7.25-$7.99), seven bean curd choices ($8.25-$8.59) and 11 listings under Noodle & Mei Fun, including Szechuan Beef Stew Noodle Soup ($8.25), Wonton Noodle Soup ($8.25) and Shrimp Lo Mein, Mei Fun or Ho Fun ($8.95).
The Chef’s Special category leans heavily on Xie’s knowledge and creativity. Twenty-seven choices highlight this group ranging from Roast Duck Half ($14.95) and Crazy Spicy Chicken ($9.59) to Dragon & Phoenix ($11.95), Sauteed Sweet Pea Leaves ($9.95), Tofu with Crispy Bean Blend ($8.59) and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce ($7.99).
Chen said that their Mongolian Beef ($9.25), Kung Pao Beef ($9.25) and Fried Crab Rangoon ($2.95/4 or $5.25/8) are among their most requested menu items.
Longtime customer John Gardner lauds the restaurant’s Crab Rangoon for the appetizer’s crust and delicious filling. He also remarks that the lunch offerings are quite bountiful – “I’m always taking leftovers with me to finish at home.”
The quality of the restaurant’s food, its presentation, its atmosphere and service, plus the authenticity of the food are cited by Chen as reasons for their success.
And accompanying the authenticity of Mr. Hui’s 2 food is Chen’s dedication to emphasizing the culture of the food they serve. “I enjoy bringing Chinese culture to our customers. I like to talk to them to let them know what goes into Chinese food and why it is authentic and why that is important.”