Anyone tried Liu's Kitchen Hunan/Sichuan on Solano Ave?
I am a fan of China Village and everytime I go I pass a place called "Liu's Kitchen - Sichuan and Hunan Cuisine" (or something similar). Never found any references to it here on Chowhound and for some reason it doesn't sound super promising, but I don't want to be missing something great. Anyone been? Any reason to go?
Well, if I knew anything about Chinese, I might have tried it since I've tried almost everything else on Solano. Here's an on-line menu
I think their proximity to China Village may hurt it as far as Chowhound. I hope this catches the eye of Chowhound LJR since his 'MyChow' page lists it as one of his top five restaurants ..
"Liu's Kitchen, Solano Ave, Berkeley. Neighborhood semi-greasy Chinese at it's finest."
Hope he will clue us in on what is best.
Looking elsewhere on the web there seem to be lots of positive mentions for what it is. The portions are supposed to be huge and the value good for the price.
Now I'm curious because the odd decor gets mentioned alot. Seems like there was a fire and they remodeled about a year ago, so I don't know if it is still unique decor-wise.
Also it sounds like it might be a caring, charming neighborhood spot as there was a mention that there were some children's drawings on the wall and it was a child-friendly restuarant.
Someone mentioned that they liked the chow fun. There was a menion they have some unique dishes like princess chicken ... the menu says sweet and sour sauce but this seems different from sweet and sour chicken as there is a separate menu item for that.
Looking at the menu they have some appetizers I don't ususally see (remember who is writing this) ... red hot sauce won ton, boiled meat dumplings, steamed flour roll, bean curd pot stickers (one web thumbs up on these).
I wonder how the Hu-nan(sic) smoked pork is. Ring-chang bean curd? I wonder if the 'wonderful chicken over rice" ... is.
They seem very vegitarian friendly. In addtion to the vegetarian section on the menu, there was a mention that all the chicken dishes could be made with faux chicken.
There was a mention that they do not use MSG.
On the other hand there were a few mentions the food wasn't all that great. Maybe you have to know what to order ... and expect.
Liu's is great. I lived four doors down from them for a year and we dialed them up weekly for takeout. A lovely Chinese couple run it, with the husband cooking and the wife taking phone orders and waiting tables.
The portions are indeed incredible and some of the preparations are truly spot-on. The vegetarian dishes are high-quality, especially the Mongolian Veggie Chicken [healthy], and the Princess and Wonderful Flavor Veggie chicken [deep-fried and not so healthy].
Liu's is the Solano restaurant I miss the most post-move to SF. [I know, I know, Fonda and Rivoli are great, but those aren't the same as your favorite mom and pop Chinese joint].
Liu's is a throwback to the good old days when you could walk down Solano Avenue in Berkeley and have a meal for a couple of bucks before going home to an affordable apartment. Needless to say, it is not gourmet, rather, a greasy spoon. If you want to experience an earlier time, the 1980s or early 1990s, say, and reminisce, this is an excellent place to go.
yeah, the portions are definitely big, huge even. i made the mistake of ordering a soup and two dishes once for lunch. big mistake, i was expecting much smaller portions considering their prices and when they brought it out, my eyes bugged out. i remember the food being good, though the wonton soup was a bit bland and had way too many veggies for me (perhaps better for other folks). I easily had to pack 3/4th of my food to go, and trust me, I'm not a light eater.
I have a friend near Solano, and for quite a while, Liu's was default chinese.
Then along came China Village.
As others have noted, worth a try, might float your boat, but don't expect greatness. Will be more popular among the nostalgics.
I agree with theSauce and just wanted to add that one reason we stopped going there was because the vegetables in a dish would vary from visit to visit. Sometimes we'd get lots of tasty snowpeas, other times a few sad green beans. It was okay when we were starving students, but we haven't been that for quite awhile.