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Sichuan Pavillion, Chinese Cuisine, With One Page of Sichuan Dishes - Downtown at 18th & K Street NW

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I was invited for dinner at Sichuan Pavillion couple nights ago. Prior to my visit, I searched on the web to check out some reviews...there was almost none. Despite the fact that I probably passed by the restaurant thousands of times, it never struck me to check it out. The restaurant has a "traditional chinese/sichuan" menu on the last page of menu...the remaining of the menu is what you would see at a typical Chinese-American take out joint. We ordered from the traditional menu and we were pleasantly suprised at the authenticity of the dishes. We ordered the husband and wife beef tendon/tripe appetizer, sweet and sour cabbage, ma po tofu, steamed flounder, noodles with meat sauce (chinese take of spaghetti bolognese), chicken with dried red peppers, steam beef with red sauce and sauteed pea shoots. All of the sichuan dishes definitely had a kick and numbing sensation. Compared to Peter Chang, I would rank it lower but compared to Hong Kong Palace, the Szhechuan place on 14th Street and China Star, Sichuan Pavillion fared better. Can't wait to try out more dishes with a larger group.

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I've been a few times for lunch which is always busy on weekdays. I've mostly stuck to the Chinese American fare like sesame chicken and lo mein which have all been very good with good quality ingredients (which I find is saying alot for most Chinese places in the city). The few items I've had off the traditional menu have likewise been good too. The decor is nice too having been fixed up and reopened only for a few months now.

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I have used their private room, which has a large round table (seats 14), on several occasions. I've always been happy with the food and the service. Here's one of the menus I special ordered with the captain, Jimmy:

Spring Rolls

Sichuan Dumplings

Crispy Shrimp Packs

Fresh Smoked Fish Fillet

Snow Peas in Ginger Sauce

Seafood Soup with Crispy Rice

Whole Lobster with Ginger & Scallions

Crispy Fish with Sichuan Sauce

Sichuan Lamb in Garlic Sauce

Sea Cucumber Country Style

Peppery Shrimp & Squid

Double Delight Pork

Crispy Sliced Duck

“Ma Po”Tofu

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I took a trip to Sichuan Pavilion for some takeout at lunch today. The place was hopping at lunchtime and since they use their space very efficiently there is nowhere to wait for either takeout or a table without being in the way. But that also gave me the opportunity to checkout the dishes as they left the kitchen and headed for one of the dinning rooms. I got a whiff of a fried rice dish that looked better and smelled better than any that I have witnessed in years. Even the westernized food looked and smelled better than I can remember witnessing other places.

I got an order of the Dumplings in Sichuan Sauce, and was greeted with a container of with wontons filled with nicely cooked pork and without some of the lesser quality fillers that most restaurants load into their dumplings. The sauce was tangy and spicy, but had a wonderful sweetness to it that offset the heat. For an Entree I tried the Dry Sautéed Duck Strips. This dish would likely have been better at the restaurant, 15 minutes in the takeout container made the skin rather gummy, but the duck meat had a wonderful flavor to it that was complimented by a savory brown sauce that had not been overly thickened or sweetened. By far the most disappointing part of the meal was the mushy flavorless rice that could not even be rescued with either the remaining sauces from my appetizer or entree.

I will definitely go back, and this time I will grab a regular menu instead of the takeout menu to make my selections since the home cooking section is only available on the former.

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Just got back from a very good lunch here. My wife had her usual vegetable lo mein and egg drop soup which see eats at just about every chinese place, but thinks this place has some of the best. I was a bit more adventersome with half a tea-smoke duck and szechuan string beans. I've had szechuan string beans numerous times, but found this restaurant version's to have the best depth of flavor - due to the addition of sauteed scallions and not just tons of garlic - really good. Tea smoked duck was a first for me. Despite the name - I didn't detect much tea or smoke flavor, but I still really enjoyed it It is a big platter of boneless cut up pieces of moist duck breast that has been lightly fried (not like General Tso's - much more delicate) with shredded scallions and hoisin. But unlike Peking Duck, instead of pancakes they provide a bunch of mini steamed buns in the shape of lotus leaves. Definitely, worth a try. Also, since the duck is boneless, a half duck is a lot of meat - enough for 2-3 people to share as an main entree (or in my case more leftovers for me :lol:

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Just came from lunch here for the first time. I had the sautéed pork slices off the Chinese menu, which was one of the first authentic tasting Szechuan dishes I've had in a Chinese restaurant in years. It was garnished mostly with slices of green pepper and scallion. The bladework could have used a bit more care, but the dish had real chili pepper kick with depth of flavor from vinegar, soy, rice wine, and fermented black bean. My Anglo-Saxon eyes and nose flowed in profuse gratitude.

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Also ate here for the first time last week. I was so excited to find good Chinese food (that also delivers!!!!!) in DC. I've been continously disappointed by the options since moving to DC. But I really enjoyed everything I had at Sichuan Pavillion.

I played it safe with my first order and got General Tso chicken, spring rolls, and spare ribs. All was quite good (of course Americanized but still good). Happy to have discovered this place.

MUCH better the Mei Wai (sp?).

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Does anyone know if they have a website (w/ a menu)? I left my menu at home and I want to order lunch from here today. Even though it's basically across the street, it's a busy day and I would love to just call in my order and pick up.

If no website---any good recommendations for lunch? I tried the pan-fried noodles with shrimp a few days ago and that was pretty good. Any other noodle-type dishes?

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Get there early for lunch - it fills up fast. Dinner is more relaxed. Not noodles I know (and not on the takeaway menu either - I'm hopeless) but the tripe here is really nice and fresh. I recommend the dry red pepper version.

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Hey folks,

I will be taking a group of 14 to Sichuan Pavilion in DC on Thursday evening for a family-style dinner before we head to National Harbor to see Cirque de Soleil's OVO. I think it's going to be a wonderful evening all around!

I'm soliciting recommendations if anyone can note particular specialties of the restaurant. It will be my first trip there, though I have experience at Sichuan Pavilion Rockville, China Star, and Hong Kong Palace.

Thanks for the tips!

Cheers,

Chris

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The following is a completely non-expert review.

Yum.

Not just standard-issue American Chinese food. Shrimp and scrambled eggs was excellent, as was everything else we ordered.

Pleasant decor, friendly service, fair price.

Much better than any Chinese food I've had in NW DC in the last few years

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I haven't been too impressed by Sichuan Pavilion. I do have it in the regular delivery rotation only for their sesame chicken, which I definitely recommend. Their roasted pork appetizer is solid, but t haven't been too impressed by the other dishes I've tried. But it's decent, it's downtown, and it delivers.

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You can use their dine in menu (which has all the authentic delicious stuff) for carryout, so I bet you could do it for delivery too.

I really like this place.

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In the city to see a movie (The Big Sick - go see it!) and in the mood for some Chinese and we were starving, so we went to Sichuan Pavillion instead of going to Falls Church. 

Pretty empty, as it was not yet 5pm, just us and a Chinese family. Got 1/2 carafe of some terrible red wine for $12. The prices are really high compared to the Sichuan places in the suburbs, $14 for Dan Dan Noodles (WTF) and most entrees were $18-20.

We got dumplings in Sichuan sauce, skins were good, filling was boring. Then, for entrees, got the chicken with dry chilis and the cumin lamb. Chicken was pretty good, didn't have the sichuan pepper so not tingly like HKP, and the chilis weren't stuffed. But, not bad. I liked the lamb, it was a saucier version than I've had at Bob's or HKP, but tasty, nevertheless. 

Decent. I'd rather drive out to the suburbs, though. 

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Lunch today was good enough and for the record, by the time I left at 12:45, completely packed. Egg drop soup could have used some salt IMO. Loved the garlic eggplant (not to oily) but the ...seafood thing was lackluster, maybe needed salt too.

I'd go again because something about it delighted me. 

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