6300 Poplar Ave
We've driven by Humdingers a hundred times. I always assumed it was a chain and nothing to get too excited about. However, when my friend Mary tried it for the first time last week and started raving about the fish tacos, I had to go. (Especially after a little internet research taught me that Humdingers is not a chain.) I looked at their menu online and was especially impressed that the kids' meals came with a choice of sides that included a number of vegetables.
Warren, the monkeys (Satchel, 7, and Jiro, 5), and I headed east on Friday night for the sole purpose of eating at Humdingers. For navigational purposes, I told Warren that it was behind Shart-fil-A where Mama Fu's used to be. (After reliving the shart experience, we then had a heated debate over whether it was Mama Fu's or Papa Pia's.)
When we walked in, the restaurant was fairly packed and there was quite a line. (It's one of those Pei Wei style order at the counter and sit down restaurants.) Warren started having second thoughts. I directed his and the monkeys' attention to the menu. When I asked Satchel if he wanted chicken or shrimp, he looked at me incredulously and said, "Chicken or shrimp? That's it? That's ALL they serve here?" I'm not sure if he thought I was lying or if he thought it was the dumbest idea ever, but he was not happy. Likewise Jiro started cranking out on me and said, "I'm not eating!"
Luckily the line was steadily progressing and soon we were next to the glass where you could see the cooks grilling the chicken, fish, shrimp and a variety of vegetables. Suddenly everyone was in a much better mood. Satchel opted for the crispy shrimp and grilled asparagus and Jiro opted for chicken tenders and a Caesar salad. (I shouldn't have mentioned chicken tenders and just gotten him the grilled chicken. I was however smart in not mentioning the seasoned fries as a side!) The kids' meals also came with a juice box and cookie for a very reasonable $3.99. Warren decided on half a chicken, hot, with broccoli and I got the taco combo which included one of each variety of taco--shrimp, fish, and chicken--and a side of grilled zuchini.
Once I had semi-committed everyone's order to memory, Warren took the boys to grab a table. (He was worried we wouldn't be able to sit down because it was so crowded.) I got two waters for me and Warren and our total bill was $28. I delivered the boys' juice boxes to the table, and hid their cookies, which were in a paper sleeve, near Warren before going to get our waters. Back at the table we busied ourselves with conversation. Warren showed us pictures from his latest dig near Nashville. Satchel had brought in a book to read and was quietly doing so. I gave Jiro my pen and notebook and he happily started drawing scenes from the next Rock-n-Romp. (I think Santa was invited.)
Our food came out about ten minutes later and it all looked great. I especially liked that it was served on real plates.
I thought the kids' plates looked a little skimpy, but the servings were actually ok. They weren't overwhelmed by a giant plate of food and were easily able to make a happy plate. With the cookie and juice they were full. Satchel especially loved his. Jiro's chicken tenders weren't anything special and he balked when it came time to eat his salad. (I happily ate it for him.)
Warren's chicken also came with rice and was a very hearty portion. He didn't think it was as spicy or flavorful as it could be and he said that the grilled flavor didn't go past the skin. I theorized that they cooked it in the oven and then threw it on the grill to finish it up. He spiced it up with some of the signature piri piri sauces on the table. Warren really liked the broccoli, especially marinade because it had sesame oil in it.
My tacos were good. There wasn't too much taste difference between the three, it was more of a texture difference, due to the heavy portion of asian slaw and the spicy sour cream mixture that dressed them. Of the three, I think the fish was the best because I could actually taste the fish through the dressing. My grilled zuchini "slivers" actually added up to a whole zuchini and were quite tasty and filling. I gave one to Warren and he was very grateful.
When we were done eating, Jiro decided to squirt ketchup all over his face, so I had an opportunity to check out the ladies' room. It was a one top with a fold down changing table on the wall. Bonus points.
We all left full and happy. I'm not sure we'll make a special trip to Humdingers again, but if we happen to be in the area around meal time, it'll certainly be a contender. I think I'll go with a fish dish next time since they seemed to cook the various kinds completely on the grill.