Hulu Skewer House Credit: Photo by Deb Lindsey

My mind spins at Rockville’s Hulu Skewer House, which opened in the former Mi Rancho space on Rockville Pike on New Year’s Eve, and so does my dinner. Each of the 28 four-top tables on the restaurant’s vast 5,000-square-foot main floor has a built-in grill in the middle of it. Skewers of proteins and vegetables—say, a thin strip of pork belly, small cubes of Angus beef, a white shrimp, oyster mushrooms or corn on the cob—are lodged into the slots of an apparatus that moves them slowly back and forth over infrared heat. Seven or eight minutes later—longer, depending on the protein—the skewers are ready to be sprinkled with cumin and sesame seed-based seasoning blends and eaten. 

“The grills come from China, made especially for us,” explains general manager Jonathan Wang. “Cooking skewers at the table and enjoying the interactive experience is very popular in China right now, especially in northeast China, where barbecue is very popular.” The grill’s heating elements are on the sides of the unit; a drip pan of water at the bottom captures cooking juices to prevent them from smoking. An extensive underground exhaust system—Wang says that alone cost $200,000— sucks emissions outside.

North Potomac resident Tina Xue, 34, whose family owns a grill restaurant in China, is the owner. She assembled a group of seven close friends, including Wang, to invest in the Hulu project and named it after Huluwa (Hulu Brothers), a Chinese television animation series with, appropriately, eight main characters. 

Skewers offering about two or three bites each range in price from $2.50 to $10, with most around $3. Categories are lamb and beef (including beef tendon and Wagyu with pineapple); pork (such as intestine, belly, Taiwanese sausage); chicken (heart, gizzard, wing); seafood (white shrimp, fish cake, garlic scallop); vegetables (sweet potato, shishito peppers); and specialty items, like beef marrow, cow tongue and chicken knees. Beyond skewers, the menu features appetizers, such as spicy cucumbers, pig ear with green onion, and mango shrimp salad; noodle and rice dishes, including a hand-pulled noodle soup; and casserole dishes called tinfoil specials, one of which is made with enoki mushrooms and cabbage. 

Expect to spend around $50 (plux tax and tip) per person to be sated. Wang suggests 12 to 15 skewers per person if that’s all you’re partaking in. To make life easy, order one of the two combination dinners for two ($70 and $110), which includes appetizers, skewers, a tinfoil dish and a noodle or rice dish.

The restaurant has a full liquor license. The second floor houses a bar, a VIP room and five karaoke rooms for post-dinner belting. 


Hulu Skewer House, 1488 Rockville Pike #B, Rockville; 301-302-8989;

Restaurant Comings & Goings

Dalia’s Falafel will open a permanent location in Bethesda this spring and close the Kensington pop-up that has been featuring the Israeli specialty since August 2020.

Also in the spring, EggMania, a New Jersey-based chain specializing in Indian egg dishes, will open an outlet in the former Curry Place location in Gaithersburg. 


New York City-based taco chain Mexicue shuttered its Bethesda branch on December 30 after just six months.

In Kensington, China Gourmet ended a 35-year run in December and K-Town Bistro a 12-year one in November. The owners of the Montgomery County-based food truck Tacos Don Perez took over the K-Town space and will open their first brick-and-mortar taqueria there in late spring.

The Maryland-based fast-casual chain Nalley Fresh closed its Kentlands location in January. TaKorean, a fast-casual restaurant with two D.C. locations, will replace it this spring.