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


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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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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.

It's still on the take-out menu and on their website so most likely they still have it.

There are a fair number of beef dishes on the menu, I believe I enjoyed the Spicy Thin Rice Noodles with Minced Beef when I had it. The Sliced Beef & Vegetables in Fiery Soup wasn't bad either.

I'm eyeballing the Pickled Chili with Shredded Beef right now, might have to make a trip out here on Thursday at this rate ...

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There are a fair number of beef dishes on the menu, I believe I enjoyed the Spicy Thin Rice Noodles with Minced Beef when I had it. The Sliced Beef & Vegetables in Fiery Soup wasn't bad either.

Don't forget about the beef jerky!!! And the tripe and tendon, which I have convinced a non-offal eater to try and like.

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Ate here twice over the last week while in town visiting family. Delicious food! Order the Stir fried string beans with 'ya-cai'. Flounder with pickled cabbage and Fish with ginger and scallions were both very good and the fish fresh. General Guans Chicken also good. The chicken in this dish is not breaded ala General Gaos. Dan Dan Noodles were tasty. PIckled fresh cucumber very good as well and a good accompaniment to hot dishes. The only dish that I would not order again was lotus root salad. Had not had lotus root before and gave it a try but, for me, it was too bland and starchy.

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FYI: The restaurant's English language name has changed, I believe in order to distinguish it from the (unrelated) SP in downtown D.C. The new name is indeed "SIchuan Jin RIver." Ownership/kitchen/etc. appear not to have changed. Could someone please inform the DR powers-that-be so that they can change the heading?

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FYI: The restaurant's English language name has changed, I believe in order to distinguish it from the (unrelated) SP in downtown D.C. The new name is indeed "SIchuan Jin RIver." Ownership/kitchen/etc. appear not to have changed. Could someone please inform the DR powers-that-be so that they can change the heading?

I finally got to the newly named Sichuan Jin River, and when I walked in at 2:45, most of the staff was sitting around a table hand-forming Zhong dumplings (I got two orders, uncooked, to take home, ($5.75, 8 to an order) which I will boil this evening).

Whole Fish & Bean Jelly in Hot Sichuan Sauce ($17.50) was a very large, fresh tilapia (taken from tank), and took about thirty minutes to prepare. It was worth the wait, served with cubes of "bean jelly" that were more like a custard in texture (don't let the name scare you away). The saucing was an extremely complex, ingredient-intensive mix that must have been close to a pint in quantity, generously ladled all over the fish.

There's something peaceful about being a block away from bombastic Rockville Town Center, and quietly reading away the afternoon in an empty restaurant such as this.

The large, separate "Authentic Chinese" menu has both Chinese and English translations, so between that and the "American-Chinese" menu, Sichuan Jin River can handle everyone from the Lemon Chicken crowd to those seeking Intestines with Cumin.

Maintained in Italic, and my only question now is whether or not this is the best Sichuan restaurant in the DC area (it's certainly up there).

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Nice report eatruneat!

The Ma Po at Jin River is hands down my favorite version in the area.  I really should've posted about this place since I eat there probably once a month.  Sounds like you did well in the appetizer department, but the beef tendon is a great way to start your meal as well.

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Eatruneat, thanks to you, I am now squirming in my seat while looking at the food porn on Jin River's website. I also need to get out of the District far more often to take advantage of the great ethnic (esp. Chinese) food outside the city.

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One of the great things about Sichuan Jin River is that my mother-in-law and I can both eat there and be perfectly happy.  This rarely happens, but SJR has both American and Chinese menus.  Last time she got shrimp in oyster sauce while I got Szechuan style beef jerky and ma-po tofu, both of which were extraordinary.

Rockville just keeps getting better for Chinese.

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I think I need a lesson on how to properly eat at this place.  I went last night with my wife, and it was pretty awful.  So bad, we essentially walked out on our entrees.  The dan dan noodles were fine, but nothing special.  There are far better versions around.  I thought the noodles themselves were bland and a bit overdone, and the sauce wasn't quite numbing enough.  The zhong dumplings were good.

Then the meal went off the rails.  We had the Chengdu chicken and the smoked duck.  Both were on the specialties section of the menu.  The flavors of the Chengdu chicken were good, but the chicken was so overdone it was almost inedible.  The smoked duck was just plain bad.  Too smoky for my taste.

I admit that we may have just ordered the wrong things, and I see people in this thread raving about dishes we didn't get.  But I think I'd have a hard time convincing myself to go back to try again, especially with so many options nearby.

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I think I need a lesson on how to properly eat at this place.  I went last night with my wife, and it was pretty awful.  So bad, we essentially walked out on our entrees.  The dan dan noodles were fine, but nothing special.  There are far better versions around.  I thought the noodles themselves were bland and a bit overdone, and the sauce wasn't quite numbing enough.  The zhong dumplings were good.

Then the meal went off the rails.  We had the Chengdu chicken and the smoked duck.  Both were on the specialties section of the menu.  The flavors of the Chengdu chicken were good, but the chicken was so overdone it was almost inedible.  The smoked duck was just plain bad.  Too smoky for my taste.

I admit that we may have just ordered the wrong things, and I see people in this thread raving about dishes we didn't get.  But I think I'd have a hard time convincing myself to go back to try again, especially with so many options nearby.

FWIW, you're the second straight person I've heard this from.

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Its been a long while since we had a great dish there.  We have expereinced good to OK to a couple of dispiriting ones.  We have gone back very infrequently hoping for a return to brilliance.  The heat still pack a wallop, but there is nothing beyond the  heat.

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I think that many locals, myself included, have sensed that something, or someone, has disappeared from what used to be an amazing restaurant. We were at Bob's a few weeks ago, waiting with a crowd outside to be seated in a completely full restaurant, and saw hardly any cars in the Sichuan parking lot.

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What's good here is the Sichuan, which is mostly spicy, but like pras I think that Joe's is better these days.

For non-spicy Chinese in Rockville I would consider China Bistro (Bejing-style dumplings), East Pearl (Cantonese), A&J (Northern Chinese/Taiwanese).

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What's good here is the Sichuan, which is mostly spicy, but like pras I think that Joe's is better these days.

For non-spicy Chinese in Rockville I would consider China Bistro (Bejing-style dumplings), East Pearl (Cantonese), A&J (Northern Chinese/Taiwanese).

I'd also throw in Taipei Cafe and Bob's Shanghai. We've had some nice dishes from both, and they are in fairly regular rotation for us along with what you've mentioned above.

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Got two dishes for carryout today.  Cold dried shredded tofu w/ dried bamboo shoots (spicy) and Chengdu Chicken.  Both were really good, the appetizer was a nice level of heat, slightly numbing.  The chicken was a really great dish, with tons of spice (dried red peppers and sliced green spicy peppers), and lots of szechuan peppercorns.  My mouth was on fire, but it was also numb, so all in all a great mix.

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As is typical this time of year, I got out of work a bit late and didn't feel like making anything for dinner.  Daughter was already asleep, so I thought I would stop in and pick something up for dinner.  I didn't know what I wanted, so I thought I would try something different.  I saw a picture on the menu which looked different.  It was a "dry saute hot pot".  The picture looked amazing.  I asked what it was, the response--shrimp, beef, tripe, fish cake, squid, lotus root.  I figured I had to give it a try.  Got it home and it had all of the above and a ton of king mushroom and some cilantro.  The king mushroom added a really nice depth, the tripe was very tender, the lotus root gave a nice tooth to the dish, all of the other parts played a good supporting role.  I asked for ma la, it wasn't that spicy, but a good level of heat and there were some sichuan peppercorns mixed throughout.  All in all a very good dish.

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37 minutes ago, deangold said:

Months ago. Seemed to be same people. Good but tired: worn booths and tables, indifferent service even for them. Perhaps a change in ownership would be good.

Fair to assume, then, that it's not where you'll be spending Jewish Xmas tonight?  In the lamentable absence of our usual 12/24 haunt Grace Garden (may it rest in peace), we might give SJR a shot, having had dozens of great meals there over the years.

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The family that long owned Sichuan Jin River retired this past year and sold it to a group consisting of some of the longstanding employees (or so I was told).  Menu and quality (and some of those cooking in the kitchen) are pretty much the same, with a smattering of welcome additions, including a cauliflower dry hot pot and cumin lamb.  FWIW, well over 80% of the patrons this evening were Chinese.

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10 minutes ago, Marty L. said:

The family that long owned Sichuan Jin River retired this past year and sold it to a group consisting of some of the longstanding employees (or so I was told).  Menu and quality (and some of those cooking in the kitchen) are pretty much the same, with a smattering of welcome additions, including a cauliflower dry hot pot and cumin lamb.  FWIW, well over 80% of the patrons this evening were Chinese.

Can you describe the Cauliflower Dry Hot Pot? Is it worth getting as a main dish, or is it better as an accompaniment?

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7 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Can you describe the Cauliflower Dry Hot Pot?

https://thewoksoflife.com/dry-pot-cauliflower/

https://www.chinasichuanfood.com/dry-fried-cauliflower/

7 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Can you describe the Cauliflower Dry Hot Pot? Is it worth getting as a main dish, or is it better as an accompaniment?

It's definitely a main dish--complex combination of flavors, with many veggies and a bit of pork.  Not especially spicy--more of a vinegar-like taste. Not at all bland.

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Just want to gauge the interest in a dinner here. Probably under $30 per person. The menu will be pre selected with a balance of spicy and milder dishes. But if you are not into hot, garlic etc, this is not the best place for you. If there is general interest I will post an event in the events section.

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1 hour ago, deangold said:

Just want to gauge the interest in a dinner here. Probably under $30 per person. The menu will be pre selected with a balance of spicy and milder dishes. But if you are not into hot, garlic etc, this is not the best place for you. If there is general interest I will post an event in the events section.

I am interested depending on day/time.

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5 hours ago, deangold said:

Just want to gauge the interest in a dinner here. Probably under $30 per person. The menu will be pre selected with a balance of spicy and milder dishes. But if you are not into hot, garlic etc, this is not the best place for you. If there is general interest I will post an event in the events section.

I'd be up for it, depending on day/date/time.

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Dean- just count me in as a possibility for pretty much any group dinner- if I can make the date and time.  Always willing to travel around the DMV too (although if we are going a good ways, I also wouldn't say no to carpooling with anyone who may want a ride, or may want to give a ride).  

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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. But the juice and meat had a really tasty spice note to them yo don't see at Bob's or Shanghai Taste. So worth it but probably not an order again item.

My main was Sliced Pork & Vegetables in Fiery Soup hot. While I have had lots of water braised beef and fish, and even lamb the other week at Panda Gourmet, pork was a first. The dish was delicious with the soup richer and more complex than other versions and the pork slices were properly marinated in egg white and cornstarch to make for a velvety texture. This was a really utstanding dish.

I also met the owner who told me she took over 18 months ago. The waiters were much friendlier than under the old ownership {a number of them hald over} and all in all I am more excited for Sunday's Dinner. They really don't have anything that is special order ahead, but I got a few recommendations including one dish only on the specials board in Chinese and not on the regular menu: beef belly in spicy sauce. Definitely want an order of that as they said it was really one of their best dishes!

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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 slices: here the infamous husband and wife were actually a throuple. Beef, beef tendon and tripe in a rich, spicy sauce with a dose of Sichuan peppercorn for a great balance of ma and la. Really stunning version, probably as good as I have ever had, reminded me of the one at Grace Garden but a unique twist on a Sichuan classic. Our waiter described it as the most popular cold dish and it is easy to see why. 

Fungus Salad: wood ear, pickled peppers, some shreds of garlic in a sprightly, vinegar dominated sauce. Really good.

Spicy Bean Jelly Noodle {not sure of it is the Northern style or the one just listed as chilled.} Just a top notch version with a big dollop of mala sauce: chile oil, crispy chiles, sichuan peppercorn, garlic, ginger, green onion. You need to be sure and stir this well to coat the jelly with the sauce as the jelly is purely a texture element. Absolutely top notch.

Anchovies w. Roasted Peanuts & Hot Peppers: a big plate of peanuts with a  few chiles and a tangle of tiny white salted and fried fish. The fish were the length of a basmati rice grain but 1/4 or less in diameter. They were strewn in abundance over the peanuts. Again, one of the best takes I have ever had and a unique twist on a ubiquitous dish. 

Sichuan Beef Jerky: traditional recipes I have seen for this dish involve stewing a tough cut of beef in a sauce until absorbed, then leaving at the edge of the stove to cook slowly from residual heat until the meat is chewy but not the chewiness of American, Thai or Indonesian styles. I think I have only had this at Joe's Noodle House and this version really blew me away. Sweet, salty, beefy, dense and chewy but not tough. Again, a unique twist on a traditional dish.

Smoked Duck: fine but standard version. Probably would have been really good anywhere else but it got lost in the brilliance of the other dishes. 

Mains:

Beef Belly: brilliant dish of thin slices of beef belly in a brown gravy with some veggies. It was spectacularly good but some of the details  got lost in the abundance.} The dish comes on a surprise bed of thin noodle. Once the meat and veg is gone, the noodle and the sauce make fine slurping. This is not on the English menu but is the dish on the specials board listed only in Chinese. Unlike my visits under the old ownership where getting recommendations was difficult and finding out what was on the menu from the white board is hard, Jimmy Lee our waiter was a gem at helping out. They also make a cold dish with beef belly so be sure to distinguish.

Lamb Hot Pot: Another brilliant dish. This was lamb meat with veggies like carrots, peppers in a spicy but not mala sauce. It was soupy, the sauce came up to the height of the ingredients. So good.

Dry Pot: lotus root, flounder chunks, shrimp, greens, carrots, other stuff in a well spiced dry fry showing off mala spicing as well. Several people at the table ate at the old Wang's up Rockville Pike and we all agreed that this was as good or better than Wang's. We need a meal at Wang's to compare. Superb.

Flounder with vegetables in Fiery Soup: This is usually referred to as Boiled {main protein} in Fiery Sauce or Water Braised {Main protein} and the main protein is typically beef or flounder. The protein is marinated in egg white, cornstarch and flavorings. The proteins usually gets a quick fry to set the marinade into a coating but not cooking the ingredient fully, and set aside. Then a sauce is built with green onion, ginger, garlic, Sichuan hot bean paste, soy, and after these ingredients are cooked into a mass with a slick of oil on it, broth is added, then glass noodle, cabbage and bean sprouts, and finally the protein.  This example with flounder was again superb. The flounder pieces were plump and juicy and the coating gave an interesting texture: nowt soggy but wet. The sauce was super with a high quality broth used I suspect it was a chicken/pork broth so pescatarians beware. The pork version I had at lunch last Friday and this version were both fantastic  and worthy of slurping up the soup. Joe's is justly famous for this dish and Panda Gourmet makes a killer version. This version is equal to the other and is more refined, not better, just more refined.

Eggplant Yu Hsiang style {listed on the menu as Eggplant w/Ground Pork in Spicy Garlic Sauce} Several people said this was the dish of the night and I would not argue. This dish is ubiquitous on modern Chinese menus and tonight's version was as good as any other I have ever had. If I need to quibble, the sauce was the slightest touch too strong with vinegar but this sauce is known as fish fragrant and was originally designed to go with an oily fish, so the vinegar is there to cut the oiliness. The eggplant is fried in oil first so this dish can become an oil bomb or the eggplant can get creamy but heavy with absorbed oil. Not here. This was perfectly cooked eggplant. The dish was a standout and Kay thinks I am crazy to quibble it and she is probably right. But Kay thinks I am crazy without any restrictions on the crazy so I leave it to you to decide. But I usually agree with her wisdom {or say I do to her face, I sleep more than she does!}

Pea Shoot Leaves Amazingly good. Much better than standard versions. 

Whole Tilapia with Pickled Peppers: this dish suffered as being merely good in a sea of incredible. I didn't have much so I can't comment more than to note the ratio of sauce to pickled pepper seemed to favor the sauce. Next time I get a group together, I will see in advance of they can get a more interesting whole fish like snapper or fluke, and as well a larger one.

A large bucket of rice was served and it again was outstanding. 

If it seems like I said unique or best a lot, I did. Not since the infamous meal at China Boy where Claudia and Scott met have I had a Sichuan style meal so good. It ranks as one of the great Sichuan meals of my life. the word refined comes to mind a lot. Not fancy or gussied up but just incredibly balanced. This was the outstanding meal I htink we all were hoping for when we had a plain old good meal at Mama Chang's. This meal was the same price and much much much MUCH better. The flavors jumped yet balance was the overriding feature.

Next I need to shout out at the outstanding service. Jimmy Lee seems to be the head waiter and he is generous with his recommendations. He not only pointed out dishes but helped us assemble a meal with no repeating flavors. He made a great meal even better. Often getting a wiater in a Chinese restaurant {really

any restaurant these days} to give recommendations is difficult. But Jimmy kept saying "we do different Sichuan dishes and nothing Americanized. He was truly a prod ambassador of a really outstanding restaurant. I did not get their name but the runner and the busser were hard working and always jumping in to make the meal extra special. The warmth of our reception was on par with the outstanding food.

I must admit I was skeptical when MartyL brought up Sichuan Jin River but I usually agree with his on Chinese food so I decided to put this outing together. He is right and my life is better from his recommendation!

If you love spicy foods in general and Sichuan food in particular, you need to go here.

On 12/25/2019 at 12:51 AM, Marty L. said:

The family that long owned Sichuan Jin River retired this past year and sold it to a group consisting of some of the longstanding employees (or so I was told).  Menu and quality (and some of those cooking in the kitchen) are pretty much the same, with a smattering of welcome additions, including a cauliflower dry hot pot and cumin lamb.  FWIW, well over 80% of the patrons this evening were Chinese.

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3 hours ago, deangold said:

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 slices: here the infamous husband and wife were actually a throuple. Beef, beef tendon and tripe in a rich, spicy sauce with a dose of Sichuan peppercorn for a great balance of ma and la. Really stunning version, probably as good as I have ever had, reminded me of the one at Grace Garden but a unique twist on a Sichuan classic. Our waiter described it as the most popular cold dish and it is easy to see why. 

Fungus Salad: wood ear, pickled peppers, some shreds of garlic in a sprightly, vinegar dominated sauce. Really good.

Spicy Bean Jelly Noodle {not sure of it is the Northern style or the one just listed as chilled.} Just a top notch version with a big dollop of mala sauce: chile oil, crispy chiles, sichuan peppercorn, garlic, ginger, green onion. You need to be sure and stir this well to coat the jelly with the sauce as the jelly is purely a texture element. Absolutely top notch.

Anchovies w. Roasted Peanuts & Hot Peppers: a big plate of peanuts with a  few chiles and a tangle of tiny white salted and fried fish. The fish were the length of a basmati rice grain but 1/4 or less in diameter. They were strewn in abundance over the peanuts. Again, one of the best takes I have ever had and a unique twist on a ubiquitous dish. 

Sichuan Beef Jerky: traditional recipes I have seen for this dish involve stewing a tough cut of beef in a sauce until absorbed, then leaving at the edge of the stove to cook slowly from residual heat until the meat is chewy but not the chewiness of American, Thai or Indonesian styles. I think I have only had this at Joe's Noodle House and this version really blew me away. Sweet, salty, beefy, dense and chewy but not tough. Again, a unique twist on a traditional dish.

Smoked Duck: fine but standard version. Probably would have been really good anywhere else but it got lost in the brilliance of the other dishes. 

Mains:

Beef Belly: brilliant dish of thin slices of beef belly in a brown gravy with some veggies. It was spectacularly good but some of the details  got lost in the abundance.} The dish comes on a surprise bed of thin noodle. Once the meat and veg is gone, the noodle and the sauce make fine slurping. This is not on the English menu but is the dish on the specials board listed only in Chinese. Unlike my visits under the old ownership where getting recommendations was difficult and finding out what was on the menu from the white board is hard, Jimmy Lee our waiter was a gem at helping out. They also make a cold dish with beef belly so be sure to distinguish.

Lamb Hot Pot: Another brilliant dish. This was lamb meat with veggies like carrots, peppers in a spicy but not mala sauce. It was soupy, the sauce came up to the height of the ingredients. So good.

Dry Pot: lotus root, flounder chunks, shrimp, greens, carrots, other stuff in a well spiced dry fry showing off mala spicing as well. Several people at the table ate at the old Wang's up Rockville Pike and we all agreed that this was as good or better than Wang's. We need a meal at Wang's to compare. Superb.

Flounder with vegetables in Fiery Soup: This is usually referred to as Boiled {main protein} in Fiery Sauce or Water Braised {Main protein} and the main protein is typically beef or flounder. The protein is marinated in egg white, cornstarch and flavorings. The proteins usually gets a quick fry to set the marinade into a coating but not cooking the ingredient fully, and set aside. Then a sauce is built with green onion, ginger, garlic, Sichuan hot bean paste, soy, and after these ingredients are cooked into a mass with a slick of oil on it, broth is added, then glass noodle, cabbage and bean sprouts, and finally the protein.  This example with flounder was again superb. The flounder pieces were plump and juicy and the coating gave an interesting texture: nowt soggy but wet. The sauce was super with a high quality broth used I suspect it was a chicken/pork broth so pescatarians beware. The pork version I had at lunch last Friday and this version were both fantastic  and worthy of slurping up the soup. Joe's is justly famous for this dish and Panda Gourmet makes a killer version. This version is equal to the other and is more refined, not better, just more refined.

Eggplant Yu Hsiang style {listed on the menu as Eggplant w/Ground Pork in Spicy Garlic Sauce} Several people said this was the dish of the night and I would not argue. This dish is ubiquitous on modern Chinese menus and tonight's version was as good as any other I have ever had. If I need to quibble, the sauce was the slightest touch too strong with vinegar but this sauce is known as fish fragrant and was originally designed to go with an oily fish, so the vinegar is there to cut the oiliness. The eggplant is fried in oil first so this dish can become an oil bomb or the eggplant can get creamy but heavy with absorbed oil. Not here. This was perfectly cooked eggplant. The dish was a standout and Kay thinks I am crazy to quibble it and she is probably right. But Kay thinks I am crazy without any restrictions on the crazy so I leave it to you to decide. But I usually agree with her wisdom {or say I do to her face, I sleep more than she does!}

Pea Shoot Leaves Amazingly good. Much better than standard versions. 

Whole Tilapia with Pickled Peppers: this dish suffered as being merely good in a sea of incredible. I didn't have much so I can't comment more than to note the ratio of sauce to pickled pepper seemed to favor the sauce. Next time I get a group together, I will see in advance of they can get a more interesting whole fish like snapper or fluke, and as well a larger one.

A large bucket of rice was served and it again was outstanding. 

If it seems like I said unique or best a lot, I did. Not since the infamous meal at China Boy where Claudia and Scott met have I had a Sichuan style meal so good. It ranks as one of the great Sichuan meals of my life. the word refined comes to mind a lot. Not fancy or gussied up but just incredibly balanced. This was the outstanding meal I htink we all were hoping for when we had a plain old good meal at Mama Chang's. This meal was the same price and much much much MUCH better. The flavors jumped yet balance was the overriding feature.

Next I need to shout out at the outstanding service. Jimmy Lee seems to be the head waiter and he is generous with his recommendations. He not only pointed out dishes but helped us assemble a meal with no repeating flavors. He made a great meal even better. Often getting a wiater in a Chinese restaurant {really

any restaurant these days} to give recommendations is difficult. But Jimmy kept saying "we do different Sichuan dishes and nothing Americanized. He was truly a prod ambassador of a really outstanding restaurant. I did not get their name but the runner and the busser were hard working and always jumping in to make the meal extra special. The warmth of our reception was on par with the outstanding food.

I must admit I was skeptical when MartyL brought up Sichuan Jin River but I usually agree with his on Chinese food so I decided to put this outing together. He is right and my life is better from his recommendation!

If you love spicy foods in general and Sichuan food in particular, you need to go here.

So glad it lived up to my hype.  I haven't even had half those dishes--can't wait to try them!

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23 hours ago, hopsing said:

We went to China Wok last night, partly because I hadn't had Peking duck in a while, partly to support Chinese restaurants.  They are taking a beating from the coronavirus scare and business is off.  Sure enough the place was half empty when normally, on a Saturday night, it would be jammed.  Nonetheless, Peking duck was excellent as were our other 2 dishes, eggplant tofu casserole (not soggy - the eggplant and tofu held their structure and taste) and salt and pepper shrimp (big jumbo shrimp with light batter with American broccoli).

Please support your local Chinese restaurants during the coronavirus crisis.

4 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Even Thai Square - usually packed on Thursday evenings, both for dine-in and carry-out, seemed rather empty when I was in there.

March 2, 2020 WUSA article - The owner of Sichuan Jin River has noticed a drop in business.

Sounds like it was a good time for the dinner that Dean organized and describes above.

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25 minutes ago, cheezepowder said:

March 2, 2020 WUSA article - The owner of Sichuan Jin River has noticed a drop in business.

Sounds like it was a good time for the dinner that Dean organized and describes above.

Lat night at 5pm when we arrives, they had several tables. The lower portion of the restaurant, filled with booths for 2 and 4, seemed to be doing good business but only a few of the large tables wire occupied. We stayed until almost 8.30 so we say their entire night basically. Can't compare it to pre-virus levels as I have not been there in so long but I would say that their business was at most, fair. We are doing aother dinner March 19 at Panda Gourmet and Kay and I still plan on our trip to flushing in early April. We will follow all reccomendations from the authority but for now we are really trying to support Chinese businesses we love. 

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Good dinner but not necessarily better than Hong Kong Palace (or Asian Origin).  The tilapia is decidedly mediocre.  A whole fish is judged by Chinese on (1) whether it's fishy, and (2) whether the flavor has penetrated the protein.  The tilapia still had a hint of fishiness and didn't pick up the flavor of the sauce.  The group dinner we had at Xian Gourmet was better in my opinion (but I also had off nights at Xian Gourmet).

Guess my point is, go check out all the Chinese places  (don't know about Peter Chang in Rockville, at one point the Arlington branch was really good, Xian Gourmet is good, I love Bob's Shanghai, etc.).

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9 hours ago, deangold said:

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 slices: here the infamous husband and wife were actually a throuple. Beef, beef tendon and tripe in a rich, spicy sauce with a dose of Sichuan peppercorn for a great balance of ma and la. Really stunning version, probably as good as I have ever had, reminded me of the one at Grace Garden but a unique twist on a Sichuan classic. Our waiter described it as the most popular cold dish and it is easy to see why. 

Fungus Salad: wood ear, pickled peppers, some shreds of garlic in a sprightly, vinegar dominated sauce. Really good.

Spicy Bean Jelly Noodle {not sure of it is the Northern style or the one just listed as chilled.} Just a top notch version with a big dollop of mala sauce: chile oil, crispy chiles, sichuan peppercorn, garlic, ginger, green onion. You need to be sure and stir this well to coat the jelly with the sauce as the jelly is purely a texture element. Absolutely top notch.

Anchovies w. Roasted Peanuts & Hot Peppers: a big plate of peanuts with a  few chiles and a tangle of tiny white salted and fried fish. The fish were the length of a basmati rice grain but 1/4 or less in diameter. They were strewn in abundance over the peanuts. Again, one of the best takes I have ever had and a unique twist on a ubiquitous dish. 

Sichuan Beef Jerky: traditional recipes I have seen for this dish involve stewing a tough cut of beef in a sauce until absorbed, then leaving at the edge of the stove to cook slowly from residual heat until the meat is chewy but not the chewiness of American, Thai or Indonesian styles. I think I have only had this at Joe's Noodle House and this version really blew me away. Sweet, salty, beefy, dense and chewy but not tough. Again, a unique twist on a traditional dish.

Smoked Duck: fine but standard version. Probably would have been really good anywhere else but it got lost in the brilliance of the other dishes. 

Mains:

Beef Belly: brilliant dish of thin slices of beef belly in a brown gravy with some veggies. It was spectacularly good but some of the details  got lost in the abundance.} The dish comes on a surprise bed of thin noodle. Once the meat and veg is gone, the noodle and the sauce make fine slurping. This is not on the English menu but is the dish on the specials board listed only in Chinese. Unlike my visits under the old ownership where getting recommendations was difficult and finding out what was on the menu from the white board is hard, Jimmy Lee our waiter was a gem at helping out. They also make a cold dish with beef belly so be sure to distinguish.

Lamb Hot Pot: Another brilliant dish. This was lamb meat with veggies like carrots, peppers in a spicy but not mala sauce. It was soupy, the sauce came up to the height of the ingredients. So good.

Dry Pot: lotus root, flounder chunks, shrimp, greens, carrots, other stuff in a well spiced dry fry showing off mala spicing as well. Several people at the table ate at the old Wang's up Rockville Pike and we all agreed that this was as good or better than Wang's. We need a meal at Wang's to compare. Superb.

Flounder with vegetables in Fiery Soup: This is usually referred to as Boiled {main protein} in Fiery Sauce or Water Braised {Main protein} and the main protein is typically beef or flounder. The protein is marinated in egg white, cornstarch and flavorings. The proteins usually gets a quick fry to set the marinade into a coating but not cooking the ingredient fully, and set aside. Then a sauce is built with green onion, ginger, garlic, Sichuan hot bean paste, soy, and after these ingredients are cooked into a mass with a slick of oil on it, broth is added, then glass noodle, cabbage and bean sprouts, and finally the protein.  This example with flounder was again superb. The flounder pieces were plump and juicy and the coating gave an interesting texture: nowt soggy but wet. The sauce was super with a high quality broth used I suspect it was a chicken/pork broth so pescatarians beware. The pork version I had at lunch last Friday and this version were both fantastic  and worthy of slurping up the soup. Joe's is justly famous for this dish and Panda Gourmet makes a killer version. This version is equal to the other and is more refined, not better, just more refined.

Eggplant Yu Hsiang style {listed on the menu as Eggplant w/Ground Pork in Spicy Garlic Sauce} Several people said this was the dish of the night and I would not argue. This dish is ubiquitous on modern Chinese menus and tonight's version was as good as any other I have ever had. If I need to quibble, the sauce was the slightest touch too strong with vinegar but this sauce is known as fish fragrant and was originally designed to go with an oily fish, so the vinegar is there to cut the oiliness. The eggplant is fried in oil first so this dish can become an oil bomb or the eggplant can get creamy but heavy with absorbed oil. Not here. This was perfectly cooked eggplant. The dish was a standout and Kay thinks I am crazy to quibble it and she is probably right. But Kay thinks I am crazy without any restrictions on the crazy so I leave it to you to decide. But I usually agree with her wisdom {or say I do to her face, I sleep more than she does!}

Pea Shoot Leaves Amazingly good. Much better than standard versions. 

Whole Tilapia with Pickled Peppers: this dish suffered as being merely good in a sea of incredible. I didn't have much so I can't comment more than to note the ratio of sauce to pickled pepper seemed to favor the sauce. Next time I get a group together, I will see in advance of they can get a more interesting whole fish like snapper or fluke, and as well a larger one.

A large bucket of rice was served and it again was outstanding. 

If it seems like I said unique or best a lot, I did. Not since the infamous meal at China Boy where Claudia and Scott met have I had a Sichuan style meal so good. It ranks as one of the great Sichuan meals of my life. the word refined comes to mind a lot. Not fancy or gussied up but just incredibly balanced. This was the outstanding meal I htink we all were hoping for when we had a plain old good meal at Mama Chang's. This meal was the same price and much much much MUCH better. The flavors jumped yet balance was the overriding feature.

Next I need to shout out at the outstanding service. Jimmy Lee seems to be the head waiter and he is generous with his recommendations. He not only pointed out dishes but helped us assemble a meal with no repeating flavors. He made a great meal even better. Often getting a wiater in a Chinese restaurant {really

any restaurant these days} to give recommendations is difficult. But Jimmy kept saying "we do different Sichuan dishes and nothing Americanized. He was truly a prod ambassador of a really outstanding restaurant. I did not get their name but the runner and the busser were hard working and always jumping in to make the meal extra special. The warmth of our reception was on par with the outstanding food.

I must admit I was skeptical when MartyL brought up Sichuan Jin River but I usually agree with his on Chinese food so I decided to put this outing together. He is right and my life is better from his recommendation!

If you love spicy foods in general and Sichuan food in particular, you need to go here.

Dean--thank you for putting this together.  Sorry I was a bit late, I guess I missread the call time as 5:30.  Nevertheless the selections were great.  I ate way too much but enjoyed everything and the company.  I will put something together for Want soon.

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