Tag Archives: Library Mall

Hibachi Hut

I’ve finally caved to that delicious smell
Location: Library Mall
By: Stephanie

If you only had 24 hours to spend in Madison, what would you do? After making a recent move to Chicago, I was faced with exactly that question. I made a quick 24 hour stop in Madison before the holiday weekend and I had two items on my must-do list: beers at the terrace and lunch at a food cart. I also had a 5 month golden retriever pup to look after in the morning, so juggling the equivalent of a toddler in dog form was going to make my must-do list a little harder to complete, especially considering said pup seriously tried to eat EVERYTHING she found on the ground. Wrappers, grass, old Kleenex, leaves, sticks, cigarette butts, mulch, ROCKS (who tries to eat rocks?)…she saw it, she ate it. I digress.

Trixie, my lunch companion

Trixie, my lunch companion

As lunch approached, I headed to Library Mall. I was a little disappointed at the lack of carts—perhaps it was due to the approaching holiday weekend, but the pickings were slim. I saw the Banzo cart and immediately wanted to try it due to Kailey’s rave review, but I also want to stay active on our blog so I chose a new spot that we hadn’t covered: Hibachi Hut.

Hibachi Hut cart

Hibachi Hut cart: the pimpest of all Madison food carts

After maintaining this blog for two summers, how had we not reviewed Hibachi Hut? Better yet, how had I never eaten there? Every time I walk through Library Mall, the smells of Hibachi Hut overwhelm me and their bright orange metal covered cart screams EAT HERE. The combination of soy sauce, garlic, and other magic ingredients seem to mask any other scents coming from carts, yet that always kept me away because I somehow rationed with myself that I already knew what to expect from a hibachi cart. I guess I wanted to give the other guys a chance…until today.

Steak hibachi

Steak hibachi with two egg rolls

I stepped up to the cart and knew I had to go with the steak hibachi. There were probably 8 or 10 options on the menu, and for an extra $1.25 you could make your order a “meal” by adding 2 eggrolls and a drink (which I chose to do). In total, I paid $8.50 and got a healthy size portion for lunch. The steak was juicy, not dry, and the veggies weren’t soggy either. They prepare the hibachi while you wait, so it was comforting to know that the food hadn’t been sitting around all morning waiting to be served. The eggrolls were delicious too—the perfect size to accompany my meal. All in all, this lunch was very satisfying. I even had leftovers! Hibachi Hut is one of a kind in the Madison food cart scene–there is plenty of Asian fare, but none prepared on a hibachi grill while you wait. If anything, this cart is definitely one I’ll consider an “old faithful” if I’m in a pinch and can’t decide which food cart to go to.

Deliciousness: 4/5 plates
Price: 4/5 plates
Speed: 3/5 plates
Authenticity/Originality: 4/5 plates
OVERALL: 4/5 plates

Other Hibachi Hut reviews:
What Eating in Madison A to Z said
What Isthmus said

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Luangprabang Thai Food

Attack of the Giant Spring Roll
Location: Library Mall
By: Megan Finley, Guest Streeteater

Editor’s Note: Megan is new to the Madison foodcart scene and offered to do some streeteating for us. Enjoy her post on the Thai Food Cart Luangprabang and check out her Twitter page or her witty blog for more about our amazing guest Streeteater! -Kailey

On a windy Wednesday in Madison the scents of delectable food cart goodness were wafting through the air drawing my nose and tummy toward the Library Mall.

Ok, that’s not really true. I was about a mile away and quite frankly I lack superhuman smelling abilities. But because I DO have superhuman cravings I was already daydreaming when my next meal would come and what it would be.  Though the 15-minute walk from work seemed a daunting task for my growing hunger, my ambition to find a great lunch prevailed and on this particular day I was in the mood for Pad Thai.  I found said Pad Thai at the Luangprabang food cart.

The beautifully painted Luangprabang Thai Food cart

The cart itself was intricately designed (appearing to be painted by hand) with quite the oriental look and feel and definitely gave me the authentic vibe. The menu only included a handful of entrees and a few sides, all of which were reasonably priced. A couple of the options included Squash Curry ($6.50) and Mango Salad with BBQ Chicken ($7.00), but as appetizing as they sounded, I was firm in my hunt for some great Pad Thai ($5.00).  For an additional $2.50 I had the cart owner throw in a spring roll.

I noticed upon paying that I only had a $50 bill, which thankfully wasn’t a problem and there was change for my $7.50 meal.  The line took about 5 minutes, and I waited an additional minute or so for my food after I ordered. Not too bad when you consider it was just past noon.

The spring roll surprised me a bit.  When I ordered, I pictured dainty finger food that would be a satisfying warm up to my Pad Thai. What I received could only be described as a spring roll/burrito mutant heavyweight monster. I exaggerate a lot, but I’m only being mildly sarcastic when I say I’m surprised the weight of that roll didn’t pop the wheels of the food cart. I was really hoping that mega poundage would correlate to mega tastiness. It did not. The spring roll was only fine, and I could barely make a dent in its enormity.

Giant spring roll and soggy Pad Thai

Similarly, the Pad Thai fell flat.

I have a recently formulated food cart theory about choosing foods that hold up well when stored for extended periods of time. It appears I can add rice noodles to the list of “avoid”. The noodles all mushed together in a giant heap in my Styrofoam box. Surprisingly, though the noodle mush was a let down, the flavor of the Pad Thai was unexpectedly good. I ordered it spicy per the server’s recommendation, and was even awarded a dollop of hot chili paste to satisfy my fiery palette.  And though I felt slightly deceived, I kept thinking over and over to myself, “this doesn’t taste like Pad Thai…but it is pretty good”.

Deliciousness: 2/5 plates

Price: 4/5 plates

Speed: 4/5 plates

Authenticity/Originality: 2/5 plates

Overall: 3/5 plates

Editor’s Note: We reviewed the Thai Riffic cart last year with a similar Pad Thai meal. It also received 3/5 plates as a score. Where’s the delicious foodcart Pad Thai in town?!

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Filed under Thai