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  1. The somewhat, erm, "unkempt" Happy Family closed, and the space is now a sparkling clean Silk Road - a somewhat more interesting pillbox of a restaurant. Make sure to look under "Chef's Specialties" if you visit their website. I thought sure I wrote about Happy Family once, but I can't find it anywhere. Silk Road is directly across Route 29 from Ramen Factory 42.
  2. City Taste Asian Cuisine opens today at 930 Wayne Ave., in Downtown Silver Spring, featuring up to 50 percent off sushi rolls: https://www.sourceofthespring.com/city-taste-restaurant-opening-today/
  3. "She (the dumpling stand owner) also opened a restaurant nearby in a small mall on Kissena several years ago and I can't remember the name, but the dumplings there were lighter and better prepared (& somewhat costlier). I think its still there, but I haven't been since the opening". Well, I made myself curious and decided to check in on this place. First of all, it turns out that Dumpling Galaxy is on Main not Kissena, several blocks past Golden Mall, where her original dumpling stand in the basement remains &, second of all, it appears that a lot has been written about her. Seems that Helen You is now quite a celebrity, with a new cookbook and lots of fans (some of whom I know well & respect). At any rate, here's some reading material on a now famous dumpling maker: Nov 11, 2014 - "Dumpling Galaxy in Queens" by Pete Wells on nytimes.com "The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook" by Helen You and Max Falkowitz on amazon.com Jun 14, 2017 - "Watch the Story of Dumpling Galaxy's Helen You" by Joe DiStefano on chopsticksandmarrow.com I'm guessing that I may have to go back.
  4. When planning our recent NYC jaunt, we remembered reading that the Hong Kong dim sum mini chain, Tim Ho Wan, recently opened a NYC outpost. We'd been to Hong Kong last fall and went twice to one of their outposts there and fell in love with it. So, knowing all of this, we HAD TO GO if we were going to NYC. We tried to get there the first morning we were there. They open at 10AM and we got there at 10:15 and discovered that there was a one to two hour wait. We gave up (trying to get to the nearby Artichoke Basille's Pizza, but there had been a fire there just the night before - there were a bunch of firefighters there getting instructions from the fire marshal to help figure out the source - so sad, we love that place). Rebuffed, we ended up going straight to Die Neue Gallerie and had a wonderful lunch at their Germanic restaurant on site (but that is another post!). So the NEXT day, we got smart and got to Tim Ho Wan by 9:25. We were 9th and 10th in line. Yes, yes, I HATE to wait. But they open at 10:00 and we both really, really wanted to go here so the 35 minute wait was what we had to suffer through to get our fix. Be forewarned, if you want to get in the first seating of the day, you'll probably have to get there early or suffer much longer waits later in the day. We ate our way through the menu, but we ordered two of the baked BBQ pork buns. These are SO MUCH BETTER than steaming them. The NYC version was quite, quite good, though not quiiiiiiite as amazing as those in Hong Kong. Their Deep fried eggplant with shrimp were fine, but I would not bother ordering them again. I wanted the eggplant to have far more crispiness. Their various dumplings are all worth consideration and trying out - we tried many and they were wonderful. I really enjoyed their steamed rice rolls - difficult to eat but very, very good. Their steamed rice with minced beef and pan fried egg was EXCEPTIONAL. The congee, which Hong Kong made me a fan of, with preserved egg was kind of flat. They did not have adequate toppings to doctor up your congee like I expected. I'd certainly go back here. If you can go with a group, you get to try more. And remember, this is the order off the menu on to little sheets of paper place, not the rolling trolley kind of dim some place. It's some seriously good dim sum. Photos
  5. What can I say? I love dumplings. We went up to NYC for four days of dumplings and dumplings and general walking around. We had some excellent dumplings and some tragic ones. On the excellent side: Sheng jian bao: So far, I have not found any in the states better than the ones at 456 Shanghai at 69 Mott Street. The reality is that sheng jian bao are best from a standalone shop that is making 50 of these at once, and as far as I can tell I'm only going to get that in shanghai. but in the meantime... I can make it to 456 in nyc when I have a craving. Xiao long bao: for convenience and reliability, Shanghai Cafe at 100 Mott is pretty much my gold standard. Cash only. We did find a better xiao long bao... but it was a big trek. You have to balance your craving against the effort. Diverse Dim Sum, in the New York Food Court in Flushing, has much better XLB. But they only have disposable plastic spoons and forks. So if you trek out to Flushing, I'd advise bringing your own spoon and chopsticks and chili in oil (for the wonton below). Wonton in chili oil: White Bear, 135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing. (the shop entrance is actually around the corner on Prince St.) Cash only. Three tables. There is a long menu but you want the #6. The wonton are pillowy and subtle. The chili is flavour, not heat-- if you go in expecting spicy, you will be disappointed. Although, there is usually some spicy chili on one of the tables, if you must. Or bring your own. We started and ended our Flushing trip here. Delicious. Pan-fried pork and vegetable dumpling: Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles, 1 Doyers St. Cash-only. The dumpling were fabulous. So were the pan-fried knife peeled noodles, as were the hand-pulled noodles. No air conditioning, tiny, cramped, delicious. (Not a Dumpling): Roast pork sesame pancake sandwich, Milk tea boba: Vanessas Dumpling House, 118 Eldridge. They also had tasty pan-fried pork dumplings and wonton in chili oil, but while very good they were not as excellent as the examples above. ---- Calories I ate so you do not have to: Nan Xiang XLB in Flushing. Maybe it was a bad day. If so, it was a bad day for everything we ordered here. the XLB were inedible (meat was... stale.) The scallion pancake was fried well but I think may have started life as cardboard. And the sheng jian bao were essentially just taiwanese bao that had been soaked in oil and given a very little pan fry at the wrong heat. no soup, too doughy and oily. edible- but no reason to actually eat them. Lao jia, or old street dimsum in queens crossing mall, flushing. The sheng jian bao were utterly tragic. They had been sitting under a heat lamp, they hadn't been fried enough, and the meat was not good. The guo tie otoh had just come off the stove and were pretty good, but not sure why you would otherwise find yourself in queens crossing mall. --- The New York Food Court and the New World Mall were both hopping shanghai-style food court malls, with tons of great smells. If I hadn't been on a dumpling mission, I know I would have found a lot more to inhale. There are also a couple of cute asian bakeries around town. I can definitely make the case for taking the 7 train out to flushing, starting at white bear, and then just eating your way through those two food courts before stumbling home.. possibly with a final stop at white bear before you go. Also the bathrooms at New World are some of the best public bathrooms I've been in. --- other note: Yes, we went to Joe's on our previous trip. Huge tourist trap, long waits, and the XLB were... fine? I like 100 mott better, and it's cheaper, and much less crazy. Joe's did have the best scallion pancake I'd had in years, though, so I might try to figure out how to just get one to go? Maybe.
  6. "Red Sorghum" is one of the more challenging novels I've ever read. This was 2012 Nobel Laureate Mo Yan's first novel, and remains his most famous - it was made into a film, also called "Red Sorghum," in 1987. As with so many other great works of literature, I'm saying to myself right now, 'There's no way this could be made into a film without losing much of its "guts"' - there's just too much that goes on inside of peoples' heads for it to be conveyed on the big screen. Oh, the story can be told, but not in anything remotely resembling the strange and mysterious narrative penned by Yan. It doesn't even matter if I tell you what the book is about: "Red Sorghum" is narrated by a descendant of a family of sorghum winemakers, and he jumps back-and-forth through time (the duration of the story is about fifty years, from the early 1920s until the 1970s, passing through the Great Leap Forward (perhaps the deadliest event in human history), and ending with the Cultural Revolution), telling the strange and fascinating history of his family, and the hard times and misery they endure, with the red sorghum itself being the only thing (other than the narrator) which links together the tale. Also, don't assume you'll pick up any snippets of real-life history by reading this; you won't. So, even though I just told you what the novel is about, it doesn't make one iota of difference - it's the type of book you *must* read to understand, and it is extremely difficult to get through. It isn't the language that's difficult; it's keeping up with the numerous characters, and adapting to sudden shifts in time (without being told you've shifted in time). I've read tougher books in my life, but probably less than a dozen (and I've read some pretty darned tough books). I highly recommend "Red Sorghum," but it sure isn't for everybody - you have to *want* this novel, and steel yourself for some very complicated and confusing literature. I got to the point where, for the final two-thirds of the book, I was taking notes on the pages - titling every single page with the gist of what happened on it; otherwise, it would have been impossible for me to refer back and find something I needed to find. Is this Nobel-worthy literature? Yes. I understand the Nobel is a lifetime-achievement award, but this is a worthy component of Yan's oeuvre that contributes fully to him winning the Nobel. Writing long-form literature this complex is a skill that I could never possess, so it's difficult for me to even comprehend how someone could write something such as this - it must have taken him forever-and-a-day, and I suspect the reason this was Yan's first novel (at age 31) was that he had spent the past decade thinking about it. My guess is that it's very unlikely that any of our members have read this, but if anyone is out there (even just lurking) who has, I would love to discuss aspects of this novel with you - I read it without any help, and as I post this, I have still yet to read any reviews or critiques of "Red Sorghum." I look forward to doing so, so that I can figure out exactly what in the hell I've spent the past six months reading. Also, don't do what I did (pick the book up only occasionally) - this is a novel that needs to be read continuously; not sporadically. I am *so glad* I decided to take notes (I even bought a second book several months ago, so I could have a new one once I was finished defacing the one I read).
  7. I was out in Fairfax so I finally stopped in Nanjing Bistro (in the same shopping center as Chuy's). It's supposed to be authentic Nanjing cuisine. The menu I received has lots of pictures, so if you didn't get an authentic looking Chinese menu with pictures, you should request it. I had a cold spicy chicken dish (the sauce is surprisingly sweet with a hint of fishiness, probably from some kind of fish sauce), a bean paste fish filet, and some stirred fried veggies. None of them knocked my socks off but the food is pretty good.
  8. "At Mas', Jonathan Gold Finds Hearty, Spicy Food Just Like Your Chinese Islamic Mother Used To Make" by Jonathan Gold on latimes.com --- For our Washington, DC contingent: It's coincidental that Jonathan Gold chose to review Mas' this week, because I was just moments away from reporting on a Halal Chinese restaurant on our side of the country: Kabab King, which is on Columbia Pike in Falls Church, directly across the highway from Meaza. Kabab King also serves what they call "Desi Chinese," Desi being an Indian term that means something close to "From Us." I walked into Kabab King, and it seems more Eastern Indian than Chinese, but more than anything else, it seems to be Bangladeshi (don't forget, Bangladesh used to be "East Pakistan" until 1971, when it became an independent nation). They have a lunch buffet, and I'm not going to necessarily recommend the restaurant from what I saw, but it does exist.
  9. Liu Chaosheng - who dat, you might ask. Well, he's the guy who opened Hong Kong Palace and Uncle Liu's Hot Pot, and he's now opened Asian Origin, in the old Panache space on Pinnacle Drive as noted in this McLean Patch article. When I first received a menu, I noted its Sichuan dishes and instantly decided to compare it to HKP (not knowing at the time they're sister restaurants). The beef, tendon, and tripe dish is $9 at HKP and $12 at AO. Spicy wontons are $6 at HKP and $8 at AO. Dan Dan Noodles are $7 at HKP and $8 at AO. So the prices are higher at AO, presumably reflecting a higher rent as well as fancier décor. Now I have to decide whether to drive a little farther to HKP or stay in McLean.
  10. I was on a trip to NYC with 100+ high schoolers this past weekend. Since we had a huge group and were spending our trip money on Lincoln Center and Broadway shows, this was not a trip for dining experiences. However, we were on our own for an hour for a meal in the Times Square vicinity pre-show, and I looked up quick eats and found Xi'an Famous Foods, where I went with several other of the adults on the trip (menu). There are multiple other locations besides the one we went to. It's a tiny place with very little seating, but they strongly suggest eating in because the noodles won't keep well: "Food tastes best when fresh from the kitchen. When hot noodles cool down, they get bloated, mushy, and oily. If you must take your noodles to go, please at least try the noodles in the store or right out of the to-go containers when it's handed to you, so you can get the best possible Xi'an Famous Foods experience." We got there right at noon and were able to get a few seats. I wasn't sure what to order, so I pulled up this list of recommendations from thrilllist. The hand-pulled noodles were terrific. I had Pork "Zha-Jiang" Hand-Pulled Noodles, and the man behind the counter asked if I wanted them spicy or not (maybe because I'm white, as a nonwhite companion was not asked that, but maybe because he heard me saying that I wasn't going to order the noodles that were specifically listed as spicy, which this wasn't.) I said not too spicy, and that's how he seasoned it - hotter than I usually order, as I stick to mild normally, but not fiery. The noodles were a great texture, and the sauce was absolutely delicious, with bits of ground pork throughout, and slivers of cucumber (which were a nice cooling contrast), chives, and celery. One of the other folks in our party had the Spicy Cumin Lamb Hand-Ripped Noodles, and said it was one of the top 10 noodle dishes he's had. Another person had rice cake with honey and loved it - sticky rice with dates and (I think) sweet beans, wrapped in bamboo (or lotus?) leaves, drizzled with honey, but not outrageously sweet, he said.
  11. As a Hong Kong native, I'm pleased to report that dinner at Tiger Fork was a satisfying taste of home for me. The combination of technique and ingredient quality accounts for much of the positive experience. Cantonese food in East Asia (and, for that matter, in Vancouver, Toronto, SF, and NYC) is represented across the full price spectrum. In the DC area, I feel that most Chinese cooking available to us is clustered around a relatively low price point. The Source comes to mind as an exception, but I've always found their interpretations to be too muted in flavor. In interviews, the team behind Tiger Fork talk about research trips to Hong Kong and the menu reads like a collection of their favorite finds. Nothing wrong with that. There's a focus on dai pai dong (street-side food stalls) classics, with some dim sum and HK BBQ thrown in. They really did their homework; I think the flavors and textures are pretty spot-on. Cheung Fun with Shrimp and Flowering Chives and the "Kowloon Buns" showed expert dough technique: chewy but not tough. The cauliflower part of the Chinese Cauliflower dish was unremarkable, but the star was copious stir fried flowering chives which were crisp and fragrant and just the right amount of oily. The BBQ Plate of pork belly, char siu (why do so many restaurants, including this one, spell it "char sui" on their menus?), and soya chicken showed textbook preparation, but was elevated by use of high quality cuts. Minor nit: the char siu marinade tastes exactly like the jar of Lee Kum Kee I have in my fridge right now. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they happened to have perfectly reverse-engineered it for their house-made version! We didn't try any of the (heavily hyped) baijiu cocktails, but the Hong Kong Milk Tea was good: properly strong and not too sweet. We wanted to try the Coconut Rice Cakes for dessert, but they were already sold out at 7pm. The HK Style Egg Tart is, according to the Washingtonian piece on the restaurant, out-sourced to Maria's of Rockville. It's not a great egg tart. (Tiger Fork: if you're reading this, please in-house the next version. I suggest studying the Portuguese egg tart from Fat Rice in Chicago.) Front of house was run perfectly--there were no signs that it was opening week. By the time we left, the bar and dining room were packed. This is a great addition to the local scene and I'm looking forward to trying more of the menu (especially the announced dim sum brunch expansion).
  12. I'm sure this will be a smashing success just like Eataly was back in 2010, when Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich opened their first store in New York, but a small voice inside me keeps asking "which part of Chinese cuisine has omakase sushi?" "China Live: A Food Emporium of Epic Proportions in San Francisco's Chinatown" by Jonathan Kauffman on sfchronicle.com
  13. Update on the Bethesda Fine Dining Location, which reports a May opening (credit--Bethesda Magazine)
  14. You know, I just don't love cold, steamed, Chinese chicken, no matter what the prep is. I like it, but I don't love it, and it's one of the few things I actively avoid - maybe because it's often served at refrigerator temperature rather than "slightly warm," and the fat (whatever's not strained) seems to stay slightly congealed and I'm not a big Chicken Fat guy.
  15. Surprised no one has written up Da Hong Pao. Went for dim sum Saturday in short time we had between kid holiday season activities. Arrived right at 11:00 and there were about 8 tables open. Within about 20 minutes, every table seemed to be full ad 40 minutes, there was a sizable number of people waiting, though not as long as the lines at Oriental East in Silver Spring. The strength of Da Hong Pao is the variety. They have a lot of different things, rivaling some places in Chicago Chinatown, but not as many as the more extensive NYC Chinatown places. Definitely more than any place else I have been to in DMV. Had our usuals of siu mai, ha gao, yu choi, shrimp cheong fun, lo bak go, and stuffed tofu. The steamed dumplings were all well done. The lo bak go was disappointing in that it was stone cold. By the time it came, we had requested it, we were pretty full anyway, so we ate half and packed the rest to go, figuring we can microwave later. Stuffed tofu was interesting in that it was fried like Japanese agedashi tofu, with a crispy corn starch style crust. We also got fried shrimp balls which I enjoyed, but since the kids surprisingly did not like, I ate two and a half which get pretty heavy. Highlight for me was that they had the crispy roast pig. Got my week's animal fat intake, and am very happy for it. Finished with egg custard tarts for dessert which are nice and light and come as three small ones rather than two larger ones as most places seem to do. Service is generally pretty good and they are responsive with keeping tea filled. Carts that come around have mostly the steamed items, and the rest, you request using the pictures on the menus. My son liked the pictures so much he wanted to take it home. They were gracious enough to give him a clean one. This is definitely above average for DC dim sum, and head and shoulders above the rest for variety.
  16. I was walking past the old Sorriso space in Cleveland Park and saw that it was open for business. I popped my head in to see what was up - Dolan Uyghur Restaurant Things looked to be bare bones with no decor. I saw several plates of fat noodles with stir fried stuff on top going by. If I hadn't just picked up a bunch of Thai food I would have stuck around and ordered something to go. But the menu looked pretty extensive so I'll have to return with some neighbors to order a bunch of stuff. i've never had Uyghur food before but looking forward to trying it out.
  17. I've been meaning to try 101 Noodle Express for a while, since it specializes in some of my favorites items in Chinese cuisine - noodles and dumplings. I had passed it over in favor of trying other places because the flagship item, the Shangdong-style beef roll, isn't my favorite. BIG MISTAKE. Turns out I didn't like them as much at other places simply because they weren't as good. Here, they are the highest expression of the snack, consistent and omnipresent at every table for a reason. The crepe-like bing is thin, flaky, and rich, but not oily. The beef is high-quality and sliced uniformly thin. There is just enough cilantro, scallions, and salty-sweet bean sauce to bring balanced flavors and textures. In case you aren't familiar with the beef roll (I think A&J recently put a version on the menu, but I never tasted it there), here's a nice description. The balance and uniform thinness of the layers, as well as tight wrapping, is key. We ate most of our roll at lunch and promptly ordered another to go (they travel really well!). We also got some dan dan noodles, which had a tiny kick but weren't particularly spicy (which we were expecting, since this is decidedly not a Szechuan place) and the hand-torn noodles were pleasingly chewy. We didn't have room for dumplings, but the many plates of pan-fried dumplings we saw scattered about the room were plump and had golden, crunchy-looking bottoms. We were at the Alhambra location, which is a casual strip-mall spot serving budget-friendly, simple, snacky food until late night (1 AM). They have a few other locations in Arcadia, Culver City, and Irvine. I learned one thing about their operations from their website that I find very promising for visiting other locations: 101 Noodle Express boasts a central, factory-like kitchen to secure quality control of its franchises.
  18. My parents sold their home of 40 years this past spring, exchanging the hassle of maintaining a 2,000 sf house for the simple life of a 2 br rental at Leisure World. Over the decades, they had not done a good job of curating their possessions, consequently, they were overwhelmed by the decision of what to do with their mountain of stuff. I helped them figure out what to keep (my 8th grade report on the Mayas, with a picture I drew showing how they formed a baby’s head into a point) and what to donate (3 flour sifters). Of course, the final home for the majority of stuff was the MoCo dump on 355. Over the many trips there, I had time to contemplate “Big Wang Cuisine” on the east side of the road, just south of the dump. I speculated a restaurant with a name that, in English, is quite amusing, would be hardcore. The majority of contributors to Yelp confirmed this. Young SB and I went there last week. The restaurant specializes in dry hotpot, which, from what I can tell, is a Szechuan stir-fry. You select what you want from four categories; the categories are priced from $2-$5. We chose beef, pork belly, dried bean curd, bok choy, wide vermicelli, and Tribute vegetable (a hollow-stemmed vegetable that had been dried) and asked for extra spicy. We also got House Special Beef Noodle Soup, a lamb skewer, and a beef skewer. All the dishes were excellent. The hotpot, served with rice, had a lot of chili peppers, Szechwan peppercorns, and oil. The items were cooked well and there was a nice contrast of textures. There was plenty for two. The skewers were juicy; both were spiced with hot pepper and cumin. The lamb was quite fatty and gamy. The soup had a very nice flavor. The restaurant is clean, bright and the service was fine. They give a 5% discount for cash. I’ll go back for the hot pot. Some other diners had ordered the fried pig feet dish and that looked tasty.
  19. Is it possible that there's anything approaching Jin River out near Reston?
  20. Fistcakes

    I'm reading a book right now which takes place in a Shandong village, and one food item mentioned that I've never heard of is referred to as "Fistcakes." These are flatbreads, stuffed with eggs and green onions, then rolled up and eaten with both fists - hence, the name "Fistcakes." I don't even know if these are real food items, since the book is a work of fiction, but still, they sound wonderful. gnatharobed, or anyone else familiar with regional Chinese peasant cuisine, do you have any familiarity with these?
  21. With my wife and older boy out seeing the Astros take on the Rangers, I turned to take out for dinner tonight, and ordered from the Montrose location of Mala Sichuan Bistro. I went with my standard szechuan restaurant benchmark order of ma po tofu, cucumber with chili oil, and a noodle of some sort (typically dan dan mien, but I went with cold "funky noodles" from Mala). I am pleased to report that Mala is, as the kids say, legit. The ma po was spicy and numbing, but not overwhelmingly so. The funk of the broad bean paste was there, without the overwhelming saltiness I've experienced at other places. I stayed vegetarian tonight, but they do offer it with ground beef. The cucumbers were fresh and crisp, topped with a nice balance of chili oil and crumbled szechuan peppercorns. I think next time I'll try the version in garlic oil to add some variation to the flavors. The cold noodles were similar to Chengdu cold noodles, and a great version of them at that. The noodles were nicely cooked, with a good bit of residual bite, and nicely coated with the sauce as opposed to sitting undressed on a ladle-ful of sauce on the bottom of the bowl. There will be plenty of time to explore the legion of amazing holes in the wall in Chinatown, but for now, I'm glad to have found a more-than-solid joint close by.
  22. We ended up here after the close of the Democratic Convention Thursday because we wanted a bunch of food and drinks, and there weren't that many spots still serving those things after 1 am. We were able to roll in here with 20+ people, order drinks (cocktails are $5, and they have the extensive faux-tiki drink menu that I love at older Chinese restaurants) and a ton of food. It's not the best Chinese food I've ever had, but it was quite solid, and I'd even rate the pork dumplings and fried chicken wings higher than that. And it may have saved our lives, so I'll add another star for that. Full food menu until 3 am.
  23. Sooooooooo yesterday I decided to try my new thing of spontaneity when it comes to restos as I explained in my previous post sort of. I was going to go to Eim Khao Mun Kai which is a very interesting and nice spot that serves Thai Chicken Rice. BUT I had always wanted to try the interesting looking Chinese restaurant across the way. I made the plunge and went across the street to see the menu. It was a pretty uninteresting menu featuring basicly what you could find on any Catonesey Chinese American restaurant menu. I persisted and went in and ordered. I got the salt and pepper pork chops and some roast meats on rice like duck etc (I am a great lover of the roasted Chinese meats!!!). I felt everything was a bit boring and too fatty for my personal taste. I wasn't really wowed by this. It just was kinda boring. Now I know I ordered kinda boring but when those roast meats are good it can be a sensational dish and this just wasn't. It was slightly better then New York Noodletown perhaps but not really super dee duper better ya know. I didn't love the pork chops either and felt the flavor was diluted by the fried fatty taste of the preperatioooonnn. So was this meal like terrible not quite but neither was it great either!!! I think in LA this food is much much better generally or San Fran or Vancouver for that matter!!!
  24. Breaking News! Bethesda Magazine is reporting that Peter Chang will open a new "flagship" restaurant called "Q by Peter Chang" in Bethesda. Don will have to decide if this qualifies for it's own thread.
  25. Soooooo Little Pepper has been getting lots of press. Like literally the times did a whole article on just this restaurant. People have made pilgrimages to this place en masse it seems. It's in a very strange location compared to it's counterparts in and around the main drag in Flushing central. This is in College Point. I was a bit skeptical as places that get SOOOOO much press tend to enliven my skepticism particularly when it's been throughout a relatively long period of time. Anywho, I went and had a very nice meal. They have that balance between the sweetness, the savory, and the spicy downnnnn. Sometimes I go to Sichuan restos and they like need to prove that they are from Sichuan and they just go all out on the spice. I can handle spice but having been to the Sichuan province and having quite a lot of experience with Chinese food I've found it's besssstttt when you get a certain balance in the flavors. I got a whole spread despite it being just me based on recommendations from several of the articles I had read about the restaurant. The menu is quite large which isn't strange but it is chock full of very nice dishes some beyond the usual dan dan noodles and such (they have those tooooo and I love Dan Dan just using it to make a point!!). I got the Chongqing Chicken, the Spicy Potatos, the Cumin Lamb, and the Beef Tendons. My two faves were the chicken and the potatos. The chicken had a great flavor but be warned it is very peppery and not to be eaten if u don't really like spiceeeee. Usually dishes like this with diced meat and chili can be mixed in quality I've found. Sometimes the meat loses out to the rest of ingredients!!! Spot on here in my opinion!! The potatos however could be said to be revelatory. Imagine french fries made by a Sichuan chef and thats what its like. I don't even LOVE French Fries and I felt this was a knock out. It had the perfect flavor blend of that herby peppery mouth numbing taste along with the gloriousness of a French Fry put together. SOOOOOO I would def make the trek and go here it's well worth it!!! Maybe ya'll disagree as well perhaps it has declined from a height it was once at before the hype etc LMKKKK!!
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