best Szechuan in SGV?
I'm absolutely no expert on Szechuan, in fact I'm not sure if I've ever had any before, but since I live in the middle of the SGV, there's bound to be something good around here somewhere. BTW I purposely didn't capitalize Best because I know there's a restaurant called "Best Szechuan", but I don't know if it really fits the description. Anyone?
I don't really care if its "authentic", but I'd prefer it not TOO spicy...
Some great places have closed in the past year but my current favorite is Chung King in San Gabriel. It IS authentic and I personally seek out the dishes that ARE "..TOO spicy..." but not all of their dishes are scorching/numbing! Be warned that this place is not for fans of Panda Express sugary glop!
Some people swear by Chung King - not I. The stuff at Chung King lacks dimension, they treat Sichuan cooking as if everything ends and begins with the chili pepper. It's like if you went to a Japanese restaurant and every dish they served was mixed with wasabi.
For my money, the place to go for Sichuan is LUCKY DRAGON. The food is spicy but prepared with enough attention and detail that you can also notice the pungency of certain dishes (the water boiled beef), the saltiness of preserved cold dishes or the sweet-spiciness of the mapo tofu.
FWIW, I have never been a huge fan of Best Szechuan, although sometimes when it hits the right notes on its various seafood offerings it can really shine.
321 West Garvey Ave.,
I don't know how fancy you want your Sichuan food, but i like this hole in the wall place. Spicy should never over shadow the flavor of food. Here's part of my post from last month:
" .....I went back to this Sichuan place tonight to get the Tea Smoke Duck, half of a duck for $7.95. This is the 2nd time I'm back at this strip mall sort of intending to go to the Golden Deli, but once again the call of the Tea Smoked Duck was too strong instead of walking into the Vietnamese restaurant, my legs just did a diagnal left...
This was THE duck that I had originally. my first ever Tea Smoked Duck was smoked like this and deep fried so that the skin is crispy. I first had it in Houston, Texas over 10 years ago, at a place called Dumpling King. After I left Houston and came to NY I had another similar to this, at a restaurant called China Peace in Time Square. Then they closed. Ever since all the Tea Smoked Ducks, from Grand Sichuan International, from the famous Spicy and Tasty are all "wrong" according to my memory. (I'm sure there's a regional reason for this, maybe Chong Qing vs. ChengDu? or something like that?)
Anyhow, the flavor is awesome, the meat is a little lean and sticking to the bones, but the skin and the fat more than made up for it!
I also tried the Beef Rib Noodle soup, (No. 1 on the menu). The aroma of this soup is fantastic to me. Once again, this was like the beef noodle soup from my Taiwanese childhood, dark but not sickly rich. I could drink it like soup. (In fact, was it Porthos who was looking for this in Manhattan once, Porthos, are you there?! Come to this place!) Medium spicy is pretty mild. The weakest part of this restaurant so far is the rice and the tea. So don't go there for that. I wish the duck was meatier, but that flavor is perfect for me!
I think the address is 827 Las Tunas. Closed on Tuesdays. 626 284 8898
By the way, I think there was another chowhound there tonight..someone who ordered the spicy wonton, and the 5 Geng pig intestine (Wu3 Geng1 Chang2 Wang4)., and who, upon seeing us order the tea smoked duck, order one to go, too. She was alone, couldn't finish her food that she was taking home..and yet, and here's a kindred Chowhounish behavior: when the duck came, she opened it, took out a drumstick and ate it right away while poking holes on the container so that the deep friedness doesn't get soggy...
(No English menu, but No. 22 is the dish i tried during my first visit : steamed ribs rolled in rice flour on a bed of sweet yam/squah. Oh, and the tea smoked duck isn't on the menu. (樟茶鴨 zhang1 cha2 Ya1) neither was the 五更腸旺Wu3 Geng1 Chang2 Wang4)
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HLing Jan 29, 2007 ................................"
The English name for this place is Noodl House (not a misspelling--on my part, anyway) and it is at 827 Las Tunas. It has a much larger selection of Szechwan noodle dishes--about a couple dozen if I recall, and some of which are not spicy. As such this might be a better place for the poster to try.