South Legend Szechuan in Milipitas
Ten of us gave South Legend in Milipitas a try for lunch today.
We had the following dishes which cost us $16 each
Siced Kindey in Pepper Sauce
Diced Rabbit in Sichuan Red Oil
Sour Pork Tendon Soup
House Special Whole Fish with Minced Pork
Dry Fried Yellow Eel
Shredded Duck with Ginger and Red Bell Pepper
Twice Cooked Bacon with Crispy Bread
Dry Fried Eggplant
Four Season Green Bean
I will reserve my comments after the others have done so.
Thanks for organizing and ordering for this lunch, yimster! Our South Bay lunch group decided to take a little break from Viet food this month, so I was very happy to heartily suggest South Legend since I've been wanting to go forever!
As resident photographer, here are my photos of all of the dishes: http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow...
I had to brighten a few shots and apologize for some unfocused shots in my desire to be as unobtrusive as possible and let the hounds have at it.
Now yimster, I don't recall us ever being served the duck dish. You didn't mention that we had deep-fried ribs, so perhaps the kitchen swapped or you ordered differently? I'm a little confused now, so please clarify.
This was probably my first true experience of a Sichuan feast, and overall I was very pleased. My favorites were the couple beef, sliced kidney, twice fried bacon w/ bread (no brainer delicious!), and ong choy. The first two appetizers really stimulated my palate w/ the beef having complex chile flavors and the kidney's green sauce being so herbacious in contrast. Seconds later my tongue was tingling in joy. A very unique sensation...
The bacon/bread dish was so unusual...never seen anything like it before. Loved the interplay of sweet leeks, smoky bacon, and crispy sheets of bread "skin". While I've eaten loads of ong choy in my life, this version tasted just right and was addictive. Get lots of white rice to cut through the richness of the meal and soak up all the various sauces!
What I couldn't help but observe and appreciate was how well everything was sliced. Many items were sliced thinly and evenly, which made for a very pleasant texture and lots of surface area for heightened flavor impact. Being someone who prefers moderate heat level, I found South Legend's dishes to be right where I'd like. The only dish that exceeded my heat tolerance was the eel, which I didn't eat too much of.
My least favorite dishes were the soup, eggplant, and rabbit. The soup was way too thick and starchy, more reminiscent of a sauce than soup. I didn't care for the sweet sour flavor either. Eggplant was unremarkable and paled in comparison to the other veggies at the table. The rabbit was diced too small for me to enjoy and had too many bones. I didn't care for the combo of rabbit and peanut either. The fish was sweet and interestingly sauced; however, as many of us noted at the table, it was a touch overcooked. I also thought it was pretty small for the price, so not a good value.
I definitely can't wait to return to South Legend and explore more of their huge menu. All of the dishes we ordered were on their regular bilingual menu (except daily specials), so I'm confident about ordering on my own. They were pretty busy for lunch but were adequately attentive and good at pacing dishes. Overall, a very good value for the caliber and variety of dishes we sampled today.
Thanks to yimster for bringing donuts from Stan's for dessert and for all the great company! For those who would like to be added to our monthly Thurs. lunch series invite list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For other hounds who've been here before, what else do you like/dislike?
South Legend Sichuan
1720 N. Milpitas Blvd. (same strip mall as Lion
Sun-Th 11am-2:30pm; 5pm-9:30pm
Fri-Sat 11am-2:30pm; 5pm-10pm
Add my thanks to Yimster for ordering our lunch today and to Alice and CL for suggesting it - I realized that it's been quite a long time since I've eaten a Sichuan meal... I was trying to remember a duck dish too - I thought "how could I have missed duck if it was there..."
My favorites were the same as CL - especially the Couples Beef - it was love at first bite for me! The roasty/toasty chili flavor and the numbing feeling of the Sichuan peppercorns - just so yummy (sigh). The cold kidney was very nicely done too. I liked the ong choy as well; nice garlicky freshness. I always enjoy green beans done this way so I liked them too. The pork belly with crispy bread and leeks was one of those dishes that you just kind of want to keep on eating long after you've had enough...
As we were leaving after lunch, several of us picked up the menu - I was just giving it a look - wow, there are so many interesting sounding things - I hope I can get back over there again and try some more dishes!
Before today, mapo tofu has been the only dish I've had at a sichuan-specializing restaurant, so today really opened up my tastebuds to new things and I was a bit overwhelmed so by the end I couldn't remember specifics of all the tastes. Overall I liked the flavors & complexity of spicing (not just different kinds of heat, but different spices) that we got, so Yimster thank you for ordering well.
The nitpicky things I have is like CL I thought the soup was too cornstarchy (though I liked the texture of the tendon in it), the tiny bits of rabbit bones were annoying to keep pulling out of my mouth (though I liked combining rabbit with peanuts), and some of the dishes were too salty for my preference (recognizing that sichuan food is generally on a saltier level).
I don't know if I can pick favorites. I think the cilantro-sauced kidneys, the deep-fried crunchy/crispy but non-greasy pork ribs, the eel with chives & leafy veggie, and the cumin lamb were the tops. Normally I don't like eel because of its muddy smell/taste, and I don't usually like lamb because of its lambey smell/taste, but both of these dishes were prepared so well I did not detect the muddy taste or lambey taste.