China Village at last - what mustn't I not order?
I think we are referring to the China VIllage in Albany, on Solano Avenue.
homestyle chicken (it is a cold "appetizer" dish)
sesame bread (for four folks, one order could replace rice)
lamb with cumin
West style spicy fish -- although it is a big portion; one order provided a bowl of soup for each of us at a dinner for twelve.
Ask the waiter what green veg is in season. Recently we had "A" choy and "yo choy" -- both excellent.
On the menu you will see many dishes listed as "classic". Stay away from these -- they are the usual run-of-the-mill sweet and sour pork etc.
Only one problem with this place -- our favorite dishes are so good that we order them each time, so we never get to try new things.
I was disappointed with the village special seafood soup last time I was there -- one of the dishes that I think has deteriorated since the original chef left. Still, if you never had the earlier version, the current version is quite good.
I agree with most of the other recs. Has anyone had the Chengdu shrimp lately? My favorite cold plate is the sliced pork in spicy garlic sauce.
Having just come back from lunch there, I would say get neither any beef stew dishes nor the classic pork water dumplings. My Szechwan beef stew noodle soup contained little actual meat (perhaps a cooking-stylistic choice) and the broth substituted a lot of chili for actual flavor. I like heat, but only applied to an already tasty broth. I left behind half of the noodles and soup. The pork dumplings were unremarkable with not much broth inside. I found the dipping sauce to have an odd flavor.
In all fairness my Tuesday lunch there (it's next door to my accountant's office) was really good. One of my favorite Chinese dishes is curry chicken and CV's version had a lot of depth of flavor. I also liked the soy/sesame? dressing on the little salad.
I was pleasantly surprised Tuesday, but disappointed today (my favorite Chinese diss?)
I prefer San Tung, Great China (not so much lately), Great Wall, all where I find the flavors cleaner..