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Sichuan Jin RIver (巴山蜀水, was Sichuan Pavilion), Hungerford Drive in Rockville


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I have not been here yet, but I know there are spicy food-, especially Szechuan food-lovers on this board. So I wanted to bring attention to a new opening of another Szechuan-style cooking in Rockville. Around the corner from the nail tech and nearby Bob's 66 is this new place, with a recent review in the Duowei Times, suggesting to try the "Twice Cooked Pork" because of its twist. Apparently the head chef used to head the kitchen at Joe's Noodle House and is also from Szechuan. If you go, the recommended dessert is the "Taro red date with glutinous rice." The sub-heading relates to the restaurant's Chinese translation. Sounds like a good TMB Rockville or TDT opportunity.

巴山蜀水

Sichuan Pavilion

410 Hungerford Drive

Rockville, MD

240-403-7251

M-Thurs: 11:00am-10:00pm

F: 11:00am-10:30pm

S: 11:30am-10:30pm

Sun: 11:30am-10:00pm

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I have been a long time lurker on these boards, finally stepping up to the plate to write about Sichuan Jin River and give it a more recent review. The boy and I rented a car for a little road trip

We were 9 for a stunning dinner at Sichuan Jin River. We ordered 6 small plates and 6 large. I am in pretty much of a food coma so I might not remember all 12, but here goes: Husband & Wife s

Stopping by to finalize arrangements, I enjoyed lunch. The XLB was a little doughy as far as the skins were concerneddd, and Bob right down the block would ahve been a better choice for delicate skins

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Oh my gosh what a find! Thanks Good (or should that be great?) Eats!

Went today for a 1pm lunch to find a sparkly place all bright in yellow and whites. There are two menus given out. the American Chinese menu and the Authentic Chinese Menu. The paper take home menu is filled with items from the Authentic menu. I feasted today:

#21 under small plates: Crispy Fungus & Pickled Peppers Salad. I have had this dish at Hong Kong Palace, Joe's and here int he past few weeks. The clear winner is this version. The wood ears are crispy as advertised and actually have flavor. The pickled peppers are nicely hot without a lot of burn and well vinagered. There is just enough garlic & ginger for flavor interest without too much. Great dish! The dish was noticably hot & spicy.

I ordered #28 small plates (each section is numbered starting at #1) Sichuan Mixed Pickled Vegetables but I think I got Sweet & Sour Spicy Cabbage Salad which is #25. Again, this was a home run! Where most version of this dish emphasize the sweet, here the sweet and sour are in perfect balance with spicy casting the tie breaking vote. WOW! There was a goodly kick of spice.

For an entree I ordered Pork #21: Bacon. sausage and dried bean curd with green peppers. This was a plate to behold: green chiles and green peppercorn, leegs, slivered pieced of pressed dry tofu, very fattty house smoked (at least it tasted like house smoked) bacon, what looked like smoked tongue slices and little sweet and tangy sausages all in a stir fry with just an oily residue at the bottom of the plate. All the flavorings were cook into the ingredients. Oh, lest I forget the final touch, loads of slices of garlic cooked to that perfect point where hot turns to sweet and yet its neither. This is a dish that harkens back to Brandy Ho's and Henry's Hunan of San Francisco at their best and stands tall. The waitress was concerned that it was spicy enough for me so she brought the hot chile flakes in oil that are part of htis dish for extra heat, which I partook of half way thru.

By now, I was pleasantly full but I thought what about my report of this meal? How could I not have a ma la dish to speak of? So strictly in the interest of science and journalistic completeness, I ordered Dan Dan noodles. What I got was a small dish of pretty plain boiled noodles topped with a bit of stir fried pork in a dark mode. The noodles needed white pepper & salt. Then I added a drop or two of white vinegar and mixed the noodles with the oil at the bottom of the bowl. The second bight went from the monochromatic ringtone on a cheap cell phone playing the Ride of the Valkyries to this. My self sacrifice, not to mention full tummy, are a small price to play for the delight offered by this $3.95 dish! Layers of flavor from a full dose of sichuan peppercorns, the porkyness of the bits of mystery meat, the mashed garlic & ginger in the sauce and thr fire added by either Mime the God of Fire or by a healthy slash of chile flakes fried in oil. The burn is now a pleasant glow nearly an hour after eating. When the bowl was empty, the bowl was characteristic of properly made Sichuan: nothing identifiable as a sauce, just a slick of oil because all the sauce like elements were cook into the ingredients allowing the oil to separate and run off.

Joe's, Hong Kong Palace are both very fine and I have been happy investigating their wondersful menus. But here is a new comer to the scene (open two weeks) that merits further research!

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Anyone intrested in checking this out this week?

Is this place related to the restaurant of the same name at 18th & K downtown? I have lots of experience there (including several banquets in their private room), and think it's good, but never thought it specialized in heat.

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Is this place related to the restaurant of the same name at 18th & K downtown? I have lots of experience there (including several banquets in their private room), and think it's good, but never thought it specialized in heat.

There is no mention of another location on the paper menu I took from them. Although I am no expert, the chinese characters in their names seem different. Also, the menus seem really different in layout, content and pricing.

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Taking advantage of another day off to enjoy another lunch at SP. Saw a Morgan parked out front of the restaruant meaning Eroica38 was most likely inside. And he was. we joined forces and enjoyed the folowing:

Pork and sizzling rice cakes in sweet & sour sauce: very nicely done. Great sizzling rice cakes, not oily as they can be and very crispy with a nice stir fry of pork in a vinegar laced sauce with lots of ginger, garlic slices and a little heat of chile. Really good dish and a very generous portion.

Crispy fungus - as good as yesterday

Broad bean with garlic & scallion sauce - fava bean-like beans, very tasty in a good sauce. Refreshing but then again, I love beans.

Ma Po Tofu - a huge portion heavy on the ma la elements. Very alrge bowl filled to the brim. I maybe ate 1/3 of it total. Teh sauce on the rice was superb. Very hot and ma la. Wonderful!

This place is gooooooood!

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Dinner Last night with Goodeats and GE Baby

First impressions: The space is nice but sort of tucked away. We did get confirmation that this was the former "Taste of Saigon" spot. There are tables setup in two places with a middle area containing the take out counter, cold apt counter and the register. My overall impression was a bit sterile. Please remember that this is only like their second week in business. The staff was very friendly and I believe the owner also came by and greeted us. They were also helpful picking out dishes.

We started out with a soup off the special board. The soup had shredded pork, pickled vegetables, vermicelli and a nice rich broth. Definitely the start of some comfort food, that seemed to be the theme of the night. Next we had the Small plate 12, Home Made Sichuan Sausage (5.95). This was a wonder of pork, fat and a hint of Sichuan pepper. The pork hits you first and then the slight numbness of the pepper hits the back of your throat. The dish had been slightly microwave to heat it up.

Pork (15) Double cooked pork with crispy bread was the highlight of the evening for me. Sliced pork stirred fried with onions, and several types of peppers. The crispy bread was a fried piece of triangular shaped dough the while crispy, soaked up a lot of flavors from the peppers and juices. Finally we had Tofu 10, Soft Tofu with Chinese Greens, This was also an amazing dish, pure comfort food, soft pillows of tofu with greens in a slight broth. We had to eat this as a soup, but it was thick and yummy. All good to great dishes and a menu that needs a lot more exploring. I have scanned the take out menu for everyone to see, but I think there may be more dishes on the actual table menu and their are daily dishes in Chinese on a white board.

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There are quite a few items on the menu that are unspecified "fish." This is becoming ubiquitous in Asian restaurants. I presume it means farm-grown tilapia, but who knows? Can you imagine another menu that is no more specific than "meat"?

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There are quite a few items on the menu that are unspecified "fish." This is becoming ubiquitous in Asian restaurants.

Many fish dishes can use any number of fish so Chinese restaurants don't specify the type of fish. I wouldn't say it's necessarily tilapia when it's not specified. The chinese names don't specify the fish either.

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Great vegetarian meal last night late.

Scallion pancakes, not greasy-many light layers-great for soaking up sauces on other dishes. Crispy Fungus & Pickled Peppers Salad was fantastic...you could taste the variety of heat. Soft tofu with greens- huge bowl of silky soft tofu with greens in a white sauce, kind of bland-but soothing after the mushrooms (fungus). Eggplant with garlic sauce- not too sweet, had a kick....a little greasy, but very good. Next time will try the crispy eggplant dishes.

No beer yet, really could have used it. English is tough, wanted to try desserts- but menu was only in Chinese and nobody was able to help. Looking at the carryout menu-it is translated so we could have used that.

Can't wait to go back with some meat eaters.

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Another great meal tonight. We started off with Wontons in Hot Sauce. Similar to the Joe's dish (several of the cooks have worked at JNH), these were in a more complex sauce, had a bit more fillings and the dough was a bit lighter, great dish! We also had the "dan dan" noodles that Dean has already described. We continued with a small plate of "Broad Beans" that looked like large lima beans with scallions that had a wonderful slightly smoky flavor. We also enjoyed a small plate of the sweet and sour and spicy cabbage salad. This is also a great dish, nicely balanced with sweet, sour, spice and salt. Our mains were Mapo tofu, which was just pure heaven, spicy and the salty crispy eggplant, thick slices of eggplant, battered and deep fried with just the right amount of salt. We finished the dinner with sticky rice covered with crushed peanuts. The peanut sugar mix on top was nice, but the sticky rice was like gluten and not that great. The surprise of the night was being given a "frequent customer" card, (word for word like Joes) that is filled out every time you pay cash over 20 dollars. The place was full, but no waiting line. There is a Chinese and an American menu.

There are over 220 dishes on the menu, plus daily specials

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First impressions: The space is nice but sort of tucked away. We did get confirmation that this was the former "Taste of Saigon" spot.

I'm generally familiar with the area, but hadn't gotten to Taste of Saigon more than a few times over the years. Midweek I was in the vicinity, but too early for lunch. Definitely will try to make it back during meal service.

Here are some rainy day navigational photos of the street frontage, rear entrance and a view facing towards Rt 355 [pedestrians from the Rockville Metro Station should turn at the CVS and walk in behind the firestation]:

post-226-124984099173_thumb.jpg post-226-124984103278_thumb.jpg post-226-12498410118_thumb.jpg

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7 of us ate there last night and it was overall pretty damned good. Thee were a couple of dishes that hit odd noted, but even there there was some disagreement amongst us so it was as much as style thing as anything

The starters:

Scallion pancakes were good to mop up sauces but nothing special.

Beef Jerky very similar in style to Hong Kong Palace but not as hot. shreds of beef, thick pasty sauce of hot chiles and garlic, scallion & ginger.

Beef tendon & trip in hot sauce - fantastic- Nice level of heat, good sauce

Bean Jelly in hot sauce marked with tho peppers. Maybe we got the one pepper version but the dish was quite good none the less. The bean jelly is cold cubes of white jello and the sauce vinegar, hot chilies in oil, garlic, scallions & ginger. Refreshing and light

Crispy Fungus with pickled peppers - a great dish

Bigger dishes included:

Tilapia in spicy sauce with bean jelly & pickled peppers was superb even if I am not usually a fan of Tilapia. THis one was ot the typical variety of Tilapia and had mmore flavor and color. The topping was good, the star of the dish witht he fish providing a sauce delivery system more than being a major player.

Ma Po Tofu was good but not as good as on my last visit. Tasted like they needed to drain the tofu a little more before final cooking

Twice Cooked Pork with fried bread- perfectly spectacular. Large slices of belly, leek greens, loads of garlic, layering of heat elements and wedges of the bread. Truly great.

Pork on sizling rice cake with sweet & sour sauce - again, spectacular. the ricecakes are as good as any I have ever had. They remain crisp even after sitting in the sauce for a long time. They are fried to the maximum they can be without burning and become a complex flavor all on their own. This dish can be had with seafood or veggies instead of pork.

Beef in firery soup - the beef equivalent of H20 at Joe's looked spectacular but seeemed to lack a balance of flavors. Lots of heat but maybe some vinegar or somethig was left out or needed.

I am sure I am leaving out something but someone else will ahve to comment. All this, a large tip was $118 total including tip. & folk devoured it and I have a large bag of leftovers!

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At around 3am my GI Tract definitely was experiencing "ma la"

The other winner off the entrees was the crispy eggplant. There were also a dumpling dish in the app round (not sure what we ordered). ohh and cold sesame noodles.

I generally enjoyed the small plates and apps...not as thrilled with the entrees. I liked the eggplant and twice cooked pork alot, the other entrees didn't do so much for me. And I would be perfectly happy eating the dumplings, noodles, beef jerky, tendon/tripe, and fungus off the app small plate list.

Still plenty of menu left to explore! Now if they would just change the muzak sound track...eesh.

All in all another successful DR feast in Rockville!

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The menu had two versions of pork wonton, with hot sauce or with hot and sour sauce. We tried the hot and sour version, but it didn't taste much different from the normal version with hot sauce at other restaurants. In any case, they're pretty good (but not better than HKP or Peking Village, the two restaurants I frequent most often due to their proximity).

Also two versions of spicy bean jelly salad, one is translated as happy, the other is translated as sad. We got the sad version, which is supposed to be the hotter of the two. It didn't taste very spicy but it still knotted up my stomach this morning. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than burning my mouth and screwing up the poop chute.

We also ordered the Sichuan sausage. I don't eat Chinese sausage because they're fatty and sweet but others liked them.

The fish we got was called Whole Fish and Bean Jelly in Hot Sichuan sauce (the lunch version doesn't have bean jelly). I'm not a fan of bean jelly in any form (don't like jello's texture and general lack of flavor). The star of this dish is really the sauce (garlic, fermented beans and hot peppers), which shouldn't just be doused over the fish but should infuse the fish with flavor. I wish they had a bigger fish since the $15 tilapia wasn't really enough to serve a table of 7.

The eggplant was battered and deep fried. The batter is the type generally used in Cantonese restaurants to fry oysters, which are then served with a side dish of salt and pepper.

The beef is called Sliced Beef and Vegetables in Fiery Soup. The beef was super soft but not flavorful (probably as a result of too much corn starching). Incidentally, the napa cabbage did a much better job of conveying the sauce. It's a popular dish but better versions could be had at Peking Village, Jasmine Garden, HKP (to name a few, I haven't been to Joe's) - also offered as a fish or pork dish.

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I checked the place out for lunch today and brought home some take out.

Spinach and tofu soup - just what it sounds like. Light chicken broth with soft tofu and fresh spinach. The broth is somewhat lackluster but then again, I had it after some of the other dishes and my tongue was already a wee numb. I can see this working well if you have it first, especially if you're ill and in need of something comforting but not too spicy.

Beef Tripe with Spicy Sauce - a wee little too much oil for my liking but the overall flavour and texture of the tripe was outstanding. I mixed in a little rice to help absorb the oil. I can't get over how the texture was what I enjoyed the most. Not chewy at all! The peppercorns really stood out. I love this dish!

Bean Curd Salad with Chinese Greens - this was mostly pressed bean curd, edamame, and noodles. A little too delicate, considering I dove straight into the tripe first and then went to this. Lisa really liked it.

Shredded chicken with pickled cabbage - delicious!! The sour of the pickled cabbage went well with the heat of the chicken. There were ample amounts of pickled carrots in there, too, which were surprisingly refreshing. This was my favorite entree.

Shredded pork with garlic sauce - not bad. A little sweet and the sauce was a little "gloppy" but not a bad taste. I preferred the shredded chicken, though. If it were just me, I wouldn't order it again but I wouldn't turn it away if someone else got it.

All this for $30! There's so much more to explore on the menu, too. The main lesson we learned today is to pay careful attention to the order that you eat the food. It makes a difference. I'm not sure if this place is better than JNH but as long as they don't dumb down the heat level, then this may become our "go to" for Sichuan lunch.

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I checked the place out for lunch today and brought home some take out.

Hmmm, I missed last night's dinner so I had lunch there by myself today. Alas I did not see you.

I had the cucumber salad - boring and taseless - followed by an absolutely sublime double cooked pork with toasted bread. The double cooked pork was unlike any I have encountered. Vegetable was basically leek flavored with garlic and ginger. It was a very tasty dish. The waitress smiled hugely when I urged her not to tone down the heat.

I will be back next week and try to partially eat my way through their menu.

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Another nice meal. Broad beans, very good indeed shredded tofu salad and one other small plate were followed by a dish of fish dumplings in a white sauce with cucumber that was addictively as good as it was pleasingly bland. The dumplings were extruded in little folded over fibbons, in a standard white sauce and the cuked were perfectly briased with their touch of bittterness a perfect touch. We ended with Zhong's dumpligs which were good but not great.

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I forgot to grab a takeout menu, so I will have to go from memory, and won't have dish numbers.

Three of us had a rather grand feast for lunch today. We consumed:

  • Baby fish with peanuts (excellent rendition of this dish, served just out of the saute pan)
  • Sichuan tendon and tripe (possibly best dish of the meal, complex and spicy spicy)
  • Wontons in hot sauce (only ok - not many layers of flavor in the chili oil, and the dumplings were underseasoned. Seems from other reviews that wontons and dumplings are a miss here)
  • Greens? (I can't remember the name of the dish, but it was essentially a lettuce-like green in peanut sauce. Plain, but a very effective foil to the spicy dishes)
  • Double-cooked Sichuan pork (On the regular menu, this is the one that comes with the fried bread, but I guess in the lunch portion it didn't, because the dish was the same otherwise. Excellent.)
  • Fish filets in spicy broth (There are like 5 dishes with almost the same name, but this one came with more hot and sichuan peppers than anything else, with sour sprout-like greens and filets of Tilapia. Fantastic dish.)

Too much food for 3 of us, though we ate it all anyway, and it was $16/person after tax and tip. We need to get a large group here for a kick-ass banquet - the manager/owner is enthused about non-Chinese ordering the good dishes, and offered to order for us the next time we come in! (He says the smoked duck is a house specialty).

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I forgot to grab a takeout menu, so I will have to go from memory, and won't have dish numbers.

Three of us had a rather grand feast for lunch today. We consumed:

  • Baby fish with peanuts (excellent rendition of this dish, served just out of the saute pan)
  • Sichuan tendon and tripe (possibly best dish of the meal, complex and spicy spicy)
  • Wontons in hot sauce (only ok - not many layers of flavor in the chili oil, and the dumplings were underseasoned. Seems from other reviews that wontons and dumplings are a miss here)
  • Greens? (I can't remember the name of the dish, but it was essentially a lettuce-like green in peanut sauce. Plain, but a very effective foil to the spicy dishes)
  • Double-cooked Sichuan pork (On the regular menu, this is the one that comes with the fried bread, but I guess in the lunch portion it didn't, because the dish was the same otherwise. Excellent.)
  • Fish filets in spicy broth (There are like 5 dishes with almost the same name, but this one came with more hot and sichuan peppers than anything else, with sour sprout-like greens and filets of Tilapia. Fantastic dish.)

Too much food for 3 of us, though we ate it all anyway, and it was $16/person after tax and tip. We need to get a large group here for a kick-ass banquet - the manager/owner is enthused about non-Chinese ordering the good dishes, and offered to order for us the next time we come in! (He says the smoked duck is a house specialty).

Just a few comments on the dishes:

I was really blown away at the baby fish dish. Having it hot and a little spicier then usual was really good.

I have now had 3 different kinds of dumplings and I think staying away from their dumplings isn't a bad idea. They do so much so much better, why waste the calories/stomach capacity.

The lunch double cooked pork doesn't thrill like the dinner one with the fried bread.

FIsh Fillet in Spicy Broth was incredible. The peppercorns were added on their stems in a bunch. To verify what they were and bit into one of the peppercorns.... wow is that an experience! This dish is really good as well. They have a nice touch with fish.

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My wife and I went on last Friday. The place was packed (15 minute wait), with about 90% Chinese clientele. Good news: the wait staff was excellent, the restaurant itself is very attractive, and the owner and his wife (I assume) helped us order. Bad news: the food was a bit disappointing, given the reviews above. We deliberately ordered too much, beginning with the crispy fungus and pickled pepper salad (#21) and small pork buns filled with chicken broth (#10), and moving on to the double cooked pork with crispy bread (#15), the stir fried minced chicken with ya-cai (#15), and the shredded beef with hop [sic] fresh peppers (#14). The fungus salad had a pretty good flavor, but there were no discernible pickled (or any other kind of) peppers. The buns were good, but nothing terribly new or bold. The pork was our favorite dish, with good spice, although I would have cooked the pork a bit more to make it crispier (and somewhat less fatty) if I were making it. The minced chicken was a big disappointment, because the owner had been pretty enthusiastic about us ordering it. (He said that it was a big favorite of his Chinese customers.) We thought that it lacked any real flavor. I'm pretty sure we did not get the beef dish we ordered, but instead got #15, since it was chock full of bamboo shoots. This dish wasn't too bad, but had no heat and not much flavor. All in all, a bit of a disappointment. We hope to go back and try again when it is less crowded. When we do, I hope we order some things that have a bit more heat and spice, since right now Joe's blows it away.

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Hmm I think tobomatic may have been sitting behind us Friday, b/c I seem to recall that flow of dishes (and now kicking myself for not ordering the double cooked pork)!

Beef jerky was good - a little heat but not too much. Scallion pancake was pretty good - a bit thicker and more chewey than at A&J. We also tried cold sesame and dan dan noodles. Both were decent, although I swear one was made with spaghetti pasta. If I had to pick I'd put the dan dan ahead of the sesame. Short ribs with sticky rice - not quite what I was hoping for (more like rich braised short ribs) but smaller ribs like at dim sum, but coated in something like small bits of potato or something? Wasn't quite sure what to make of that one. Also had the dumplings with broth - maybe not the best ever, but I think probably among the best I've had in this area so far.

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Dinner there with three new to us dishes...

Seaweed salad - I prefer the version at A&J which is more vinegary and has bean sprouts. But this was a good, clean dish but would have been better with more folk to share it with.

Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup - the broth was medium bodied, very nicely spiced with star anise and the beef perfectly cooked. The noodles tasted packaged and were only OK. The homemade noodles available at A&J, Joe's or Mama's Dumplings would have put this dish over the top. Still very very good.

Pork with pickled peppers and lotus root - superb dish with a sauce redolent of ginger and vinegar without a huge chili hit. Light, well balanced, just lovely. Red peppers, green stuff, pork, loads of slivers of ginger, black tree ears. A real winner!

While there still are dishes I crave at Joe's, SP has now pulled far ahead in my listing of Sichuan places. I still go to both but the ratio is balanced towards SP. Joe's is worlds better for Cellophane Noodle soup with fish fillet and the dry fried beef.

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So I was driving along Rockville Pike when I got that weird faint/shaky/queasy feeling that is my body's way of telling me it wants protein, and I was wondering where to get a little something fast (but not that fast) to eat while driving, but it couldn't be a sandwich because I'm in the midst of a wheat-free week. So what could possibly meet these criteria? Szechuan-style Beef Jerky. Perfect; by the time I pay and go to the washroom to scrub my hands it's ready to go, it isn't too large a portion, it's pure protein (okay, swimming in fat), and I'll have leftovers to snack on for a few days.

Except there are no leftovers because the stuff is addictive. The word 'addictive' is over-used in food writing, but it's the right word here because I can't stop eating Szechuan-style Beef Jerky if it's anywhere near me. And I can't be anywhere along Rockville Pike [Hungerford Drive, actually] between, oh, say Mannakee Street and Wooton Parkway without thinking "hey, I'll get some Szechuan-style Beef Jerky".

I mean, Christ, I drove right by York Castle! because I was focused on Szechuan-style Beef Jerky.

What is in that stuff?!

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Another superb meal in a too empty dining room at 8pm last night. Pork i spicy garlic sauce was ncely spicy and very garlicky {*burp*}. Bean Jelly in spicy sauce {the one with two peppers} was amazing. A bowl of white noodles with no flavor topped with a large ladlefull of fried hot peppers, ginger, garlic, sugar etc that was intensely satisfying. I love this dish and SP has the best version of it I have had. A big bowl of Spicy Sichuan Seafood Soup with Noodles was good. I wish I could get this soup with the noodles from A&J, not that wold be soup heaven!

And, they now have beer!!!

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While there still are dishes I crave at Joe's, SP has now pulled far ahead in my listing of Sichuan places. I still go to both but the ratio is balanced towards SP.

I agree with you dude. I'm crazy about that General Guan's Chicken. I'll have to try that pork dish you mention.

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We were going to go north to Hunan Taste but the fog made a trip to SP sound very enticing. It was.

New Dishes for us:

Sour & Spicy Foon - a bowl of cellophane noodles with a nicely sour sauce with a goodly amount of heat. Very messy to eat but so good.

Pork Belly with taro {Listed on the menu as pork steamed with taro} which elicited horror on the face of our waitress as she told us it was half fat. Next another waitress with better command of English came by to warn us off a gain. Us? Say no to pork which is half fat? I mean I think Dan Cole would liklier say no to skinny dipping nude in a vat of EVOO with Rachael Ray than Kay & I say no to pork half fat. Especially when it meaty belly which was steamed and roasted and interleaved with slices of unctuous taro likely having absorbed a lot of the fat from the aforementioned belly. The sauce was a thick puree that was tantlyzingly balanced betwen tangy, salty & sweet with non of the sensations winning out. Major wonderful.

Dried Tofu with Vegetables {and, we think, unbilled chicken slices}. Crazy good tofu: big squares of fried tofu in a light brown sauce with lots of onion & ginger.

Old Standbys

Lotus Root salad

Small fish fried with pepper.

1 tsing toa, a big tip and it was $50. Merry Jewish Christmas!

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Pork Belly with taro {Listed on the menu as pork steamed with taro} which elicited horror on the face of our waitress as she told us it was half fat. Next another waitress with better command of English came by to warn us off a gain. Us? Say no to pork which is half fat? I mean I think Dan Cole would liklier say no to skinny dipping nude in a vat of EVOO with Rachael Ray than Kay & I say no to pork half fat. Especially when it meaty belly which was steamed and roasted and interleaved with slices of unctuous taro likely having absorbed a lot of the fat from the aforementioned belly. The sauce was a thick puree that was tantlyzingly balanced betwen tangy, salty & sweet with non of the sensations winning out. Major wonderful.

Funny--as it turns out, we were sitting behind you, and saw the waitresses' concern about the pork belly dish (which, when they brought it out, looked great). I ordered the General Guan's chicken, and it was as good as usual and I look forward to the leftovers. We really like this place--the food is wonderfully spiced, in our experience, and deeply flavorful.

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We went last night, and had a couple of excellent dishes from the "authentic" menu (salty & crispy shrimp, double cooked pork with fried bread, string beans) and a couple from the other menu. The Americanized items were not good - bland, greasy lo mein and excessively starchy chicken with broccoli. I'll leave the 7-year-old at home and stick with the Szechuan stuff next time. :angry:

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I was there yesterday for a lunch with a large group.

Some of the old standbys ordered were Scallion pancake, Beef tendon and tripe w/hot sauce, spicy fish&peanuts, double-cooked pork w/fried bread, spicy fish w/peppers. All excellent.

A few new items to report on:

Basil chicken w/ginger hot pot, is actually served on a sizzling plate, not in the hot pot, and not to it's advantage. I miss the broth, and the chicken is cooked too long to the point of being soft. Good flavor balance, though.

Shrimp w/edamame: soft, overcooked shrimp with what seems like an entire pound of edamame, in a cornstarch sauce. Nothing exciting, but a break for a few at the table who couldn't deal with the all-spicy meal.

Dan dan noodles: excellent flavor, improved at the table as Dean indicated earlier, but needs more heat.

Spicy Chicken Gizzards: yum!

Smoked duck Not bad, but nothing new here.

Board [sic] beans w/scallion & garlic VERY starchy beans, but good flavor.

Baby bok-choy w/preserved egg Definitely worth ordering again, though the greens were definitely NOT bok choy!

No other beverages ordered, and total after tax and >25% tip (we sat for a long time) was still less than $20/head.

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Jerky for me

Jerky for you

Let's eat the jerky

In my big brown shoe

Love to eat the jerky

At the table

I once saw a movie

With Betty Grable

Eat that jerky

All night long

Fifty million Elvis fans

Can't be wrong

Jerky lurkey doo and

Jerky lurkey dap

I eat that Jerky

Then I take a nap

-- apologies to adam sandler

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Pork Belly with taro {Listed on the menu as pork steamed with taro} which elicited horror on the face of our waitress as she told us it was half fat. Next another waitress with better command of English came by to warn us off a gain. Us? Say no to pork which is half fat? I mean I think Dan Cole would liklier say no to skinny dipping nude in a vat of EVOO with Rachael Ray than Kay & I say no to pork half fat. Especially when it meaty belly which was steamed and roasted and interleaved with slices of unctuous taro likely having absorbed a lot of the fat from the aforementioned belly. The sauce was a thick puree that was tantlyzingly balanced betwen tangy, salty & sweet with non of the sensations winning out. Major wonderful.

I was watching Ruth Reichl's new cooking travel show, Adventures with Ruth, and the episode from the Yangshou School features a dish which sounds very similar to this...recipe here.

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For an entree I ordered Pork #21: Bacon. sausage and dried bean curd with green peppers. This was a plate to behold: green chiles and green peppercorn, leegs, slivered pieced of pressed dry tofu, very fattty house smoked (at least it tasted like house smoked) bacon, what looked like smoked tongue slices and little sweet and tangy sausages all in a stir fry with just an oily residue at the bottom of the plate. All the flavorings were cook into the ingredients. Oh, lest I forget the final touch, loads of slices of garlic cooked to that perfect point where hot turns to sweet and yet its neither. This is a dish that harkens back to Brandy Ho's and Henry's Hunan of San Francisco at their best and stands tall. The waitress was concerned that it was spicy enough for me so she brought the hot chile flakes in oil that are part of htis dish for extra heat, which I partook of half way thru.

I am still loving Sichuan Pavilion, however I haven't been able to get this dish since last summer. I'll call in an order and everything is a go, but when I arrive to pick up I'm told they don't serve it any longer. Anyone else running into this? At first I though it might be a weekend only thing, but I'm striking out on those days, too.

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Tonights treat, from the special board... a hot pot with glass noodle, pork blood, chicken feet {boneless}, spam {or its kissing cousin}, wood ears in a searlingly hot broth coated with a slick of oil and loaded with both chile hotness and Sichuan peppercorn hotness. Kay wondered why her mouth was getting hotter and hotter even though she had long stopped eating. I was just seeing if the heat from the hot pot could set of my implanted defibrillator. It didn't.

Also on out table was the incredible if rarely available Sichuan Sausage salad {nothing but a plate of slightly warmed Sichuan peppercon laced pork fat with a whiff of lean tossed in for some strange reason, the always wonderful fish with hot peppers and peanuts, bean curd salad and garlic cukes.

2 beers, great service, $38 plus tip. Got looks of admiration from the staff at eating so much pork blood!

Did I mention the two kinds of tripe in the hot pot?

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Wow--right now, if there is a dish as satisfying to me as the double cooked pork with crispy bread, I'd be stunned. Last night it was very spicy, extremely flavorful, and if I was in Rockville right now I'd probably be driving to Sichuan Pavilion to have it for lunch...

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I have to say I was disappointed with my visit to Sichuan Pavilion. The crispy fungus with pickled peppers was pretty bland and the dan-dan noodles in need of a spicing up as others gave attested to (and since the service was friendly but lackluster I never received the vinegar or hot chili oil I asked for). The Ma-po tofu was better, but a pale imitation of other versions I have tried elsewhere. I am deeply obliged to those highlighting the double cooked pork as that was absolutely the best dish of the night. None of these dishes rated more than one chili on the menu, but I was nonetheless disappointed with the lack of heat, despite my expressed preference for it.

Perhaps I simply caught them on an off night, but I think Joe's will remain my preferred stop for Szechuan in Rockville - specifically for the dry beef.

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In contrast, I thoroughly enjoyed my pre-birthday visit to Sichuan Garden. I ordered the broad beans with scallions and garlic, the lotus root salad, and the pork with the double-fried bread.

The bean were kind of bland but I liked them because they tempered the pork's heat. The lotus root salad was delicious with a mild vinegary tang and a touch of heat at the end. And the pork was flat-out great. The waitress asked me whether I wanted the dish as it is traditionally cooked "with fat" (pork belly I'm guessing) or with "just pork." I went traditional and was quite happy. The crunch of the bread, the unctuousness of the pork, and the Sichuan heat made a great combination. Thanks to everybody for recommending it.

rob

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I'm working on the Maryland Dining Guide (yes, at 5 AM), and reading through this thread made me hungry. The diehards here may realize that Sichuan Pavilion now has a website, but they didn't use to. (I also found one for Michael's Noodles which wasn't there before.)

You know, I'm embarrassed to say that I've still never been here, but I'm going to raise it in the Dining Guide based on your glowing recommendations (which cannot be ignored).

Cheers,

Rocks

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Tonight would be a good night to go!

I'm working on the Maryland Dining Guide (yes, at 5 AM), and reading through this thread made me hungry. The diehards here may realize that Sichuan Pavilion now has a website, but they didn't use to. (I also found one for Michael's Noodles which wasn't there before.)

You know, I'm embarrassed to say that I've still never been here, but I'm going to raise it in the Dining Guide based on your glowing recommendations (which cannot be ignored).

Cheers,

Rocks

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Don's link above not leads to an accurate menu {actually it differs from the in house menu in that a lot of the misspelling are corrected even if there are a few new ones added!}. There were a lot of "things on the board" untranslated in house but translated on the website. We did not bother with the board finding a goodly number of things we wanted to try on the regular menu.

Yet another great meal with a couple of new dishes tried:

Diced Spicy Chicken Salad - hacked up bone in chicken spices in a bowl of very hot pepper sauce with Sichuan peppercorns and dried chiles piled on the center of the bowl. Why this is called a salad is beyond me. If you ate the piles of dried chiles & peppercorns, the dish was fiery, incendiary hot. If you were raccoon-like and washed off the hot stuff from the chicken in the sauce, it was mearly hot as heck. Really one of the best things I have had there.

Cold Smoked Duck - very nice and meaty - we meant to order the Smoked Duck {Deep Fried and Breaded} but got the cold plate instead. Given how rich the intended dish is and how full we were at teh end of our meal, this was not a bad mistake to have made. Just remember that both dishes are called the same thing when ordering.

Cold Noodles with Hot Chili Sauce - very nice cold dish without any Sichuan Peppercorns - vinegary chile laced sauce with a goodly but not overpowering amount of heat.

Old favs...

Lotus Root Salad - noted as lotus poot salad on the in restaurant menu and Sichuan Mixed Vegetable Pickle - good as always

Lots of new faces on the floor but the same old great cooking.

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After a long absence based on noting more than lack of time combined with sloth on days off....

A meal right off the menu, not the specials.

Anchovies with peanuts & chiles ~ salty, crunchy, briny, perfect

Lotus Poot Salad {sic} ~ poots are stangly similar to roots and this salad is a pile of rather thickly sliced crunchy "wagon wheels" with a texture & flavor somewhere between potato & water chestnuts. A few red ann green bell peppers for sweetness and a faint spice in the vinegar, garlic, ginger based sauce. I've had better versions of this at SP before but still fine. Refreshing in the midst of all the spice we ordered.

Stir Fried Pork with hit peppers {this is the dish off the appetizer portion of the menu} ~ squiggles of pressed bean curd, pork loin, scads of leek greens, a smattering of seeded green peppers, a lightly soy flavored sauce made this a superb dish, especially for less heat loving member of our party. Even though it was not as fiery as the 2 other spicy dishes, it was still hot but in a gentle way. Amazingly good.

Flounder {although suspiciously more like Tilapia in taste, size & texture} with soft tofu in spicy sauce. I thought this was the clear soup dish with peppercorns and cellophane noodles but it turned out to be more like Ma Po Tofu except with fish replacing the pork. Very pungent and very spicy although we have had it more Ma La but by request. If I realized which dish it was, I would ahve made sure to get it "Ma La, Ma La" and I am sure it would have been just as hot in the past. Kay found it too hot to do more than nibble, but by that time were were pretty stuffed. With more folk, this would be a fabulous dish to order screamingly hot. Some may not like the oil slick floating on the top, but that is Sichuan cooking's hallmark.

All in all, a very good meal leaving us determined to come back sooner. With Joe's back to hitting on all cylinders, the choice is very difficult. I find Joe's cooking more stark and a little urgent and SP more lush and rich.

3 Kirin Iciban, 4 dishes {one mostly brought home as left overs}, generous tip and change back from $50.

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Enjoyed dinner at the Sichuan Pavilion. Place was packed when the GF and myself got inside. We had several dishes and the portions were definitely family size.

I think most of the comments about the place in the thread are spot on.

Damn, I will resist eating the leftovers in the fridge at 2AM.

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Mr. S and I were out doing errands that took us to Bethesda and Rockville. Having a late breakfast, we both were starving about 2pm and were trying to decide where to get a bite for lunch. Our recent visit to SP with fellow DR's before the tour at Baying Hound Aleworks a few weeks ago had us both craving some tea smoked duck. So we beelined north on 355 and had the restaurant almost to ourselves. Perfect late lunch/predinner. We started with the delicious sweet and spicy cabbage salad, followed by seafood mixture with crispy rice cakes and the aforementioned tea smoked duck. Plenty of leftovers to take home, and we were quite sated. They even recognized us from that last DR visit! :)

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This is also the quite-fleeting time of year when, if you get lucky, SP might have its homemade sausage available. If they do, order it.

Mr. S and I were out doing errands that took us to Bethesda and Rockville. Having a late breakfast, we both were starving about 2pm and were trying to decide where to get a bite for lunch. Our recent visit to SP with fellow DR's before the tour at Baying Hound Aleworks a few weeks ago had us both craving some tea smoked duck. So we beelined north on 355 and had the restaurant almost to ourselves. Perfect late lunch/predinner. We started with the delicious sweet and spicy cabbage salad, followed by seafood mixture with crispy rice cakes and the aforementioned tea smoked duck. Plenty of leftovers to take home, and we were quite sated. They even recognized us from that last DR visit! :)

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Had lunch here after another stop at Architectural Ceramics. Shopping for tiles always take an inordinate amount of time, but we're glad that we figured out what we want. To start, we had some spicy wontons and dan dan noodles. The dumplings are very meaty, unlike typical wontons. The dan dan noodles, like the spicy noodles, came in an oily sauce that's hotter than the version served at Hong Kong Palace. I think I like the dan dan noodles at HKP better, which has a more complex sauce. For our mains, we got the spicy flounder with cabbage (so called water boiled fish), beef with scallions off the Chinese-American menu, and sauteed pea shoots (dou miao). The spicy flounder was tender, not fishy, and plentiful - very good. The beef was really sweet. I think it was a mistake to order off the Chinese-American menu but I didn't really see any beef dishes on the Chinese menu. The pea shoots had some really tough stems. It was a huge plateful and it would've still been a big plate if they trimmed off some of the stems. When we got home, we found out we got a ticket for running a red light for the last trip we made to Architectural Ceramincs. :angry:

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I think it was a mistake to order off the Chinese-American menu but I didn't really see any beef dishes on the Chinese menu. :angry:

I don't think that there are too many--the only one I can think of, off the top of my head, is beef with bitter melon. It's certainly an acquired taste, and it's generally too bitter for me, but for some strange reason I find myself craving that dish from time to time.

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I don't think that there are too many--the only one I can think of, off the top of my head, is beef with bitter melon. It's certainly an acquired taste, and it's generally too bitter for me, but for some strange reason I find myself craving that dish from time to time.

My favorite dish at Sichuan Pavilion is a beef dish: the braised beef with rice cake. But, it's been a while since I've been there, so maybe it's no longer offered.

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I don't think that there are too many--the only one I can think of, off the top of my head, is beef with bitter melon. It's certainly an acquired taste, and it's generally too bitter for me, but for some strange reason I find myself craving that dish from time to time.

I do love beef with bitter melon - but that I wanted to order a dish that my wife and kid can eat. Don't recall if the beef with rice cake dish was still available.

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