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Sichuan near T line/ Cambridge

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Here is the challenge. I am in Cambridge for one lunch. I want something I cannot get here at home: AUTHENTIC Sichuan. I can handle the hot stuff (I head to Grand Sichuan in NYC as my first stop and go all out with spicy dishes swimming in chilis and peppercorns). I have poured over your great posts but am making sure I am not missing something.

Mary Chungs is closed the day I am there (Tues)

Qingdao Garden-it looks promising even though the online menu is not extensive Sichuan, but I don't like (or have time, only one visit) to play that game where I am western and therefore I like it bland, sweet, or gloopy sauced. I am a little stressed that people are having to build a report over many visits to get the goods or it depends how the wait staff that day assesses your chili worthiness.

The Sichuan Gourmet in Brookline will take to long to get to as well as some of these other suburban places mentioned throughout threads.

Last time I was in Boston, I easily made my way to China Town, are there any good places there or elsewhere in the city easily accessible by T line?

If I were to be in heaven there would be a sichuan place that decided to branch off and offer good Shanghai soup dumplings as well. Or there would be a Sichuan place right next to a soup dumpling place...I know, I am dreaming. I just dont want to travel so much that I cannot take in a museum or shop. Thanks for ideas. I'll be in town next tues and checking in periodically as I will be in the road eating clams and such.

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  1. Sichuan Garden is the closest, but the lunch there is prepared by a different gang of people. I think it's just American-Chinese combos. It's sort of a similar situation at Mary Chung, but they don't serve blow-your-head-off awesome food anyway, even at dinner or brunch. Chinatown isn't the place for Sichuan.

    Find a way to get to Medford, Malden, Billerica, Framingham or Woburn.

    1. I've had good Sichuan off the regular menu for lunch at Sichuan Garden, but maybe always on weekends, can't remember. Anise at Kendall would be most convenient but I have no personal experience (Hounds: Any recent reports on lunch there?) FuLoon in Malden is on the T (Orange line) but check they're not running buses on part of the route. Search for recent reports. Qingdao is *not* what you're looking for. Zoe's is near Porter but not all that near and recent reports have been spotty. You could cab to Chilli Garden in Medford from Davis Sq. Or you could switch plans--go to Chinatown for Shanghaiese at Wing's or New Shanghai.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Aromatherapy

        They serve the whole menu; including the Chinese menu at lunch midweek at SG/Brookline..just have to ask as most people go for lunch specials.

        Dinner last month at Anise was good, not up to it's early raves. Dining room eerily empty, maybe lunch is more lively.

        Wings was great for lunch this week..meatball, soup dumplings, eggplant/garlic.


        1. re: 9lives

          I'm not a big fan of Anise - I think it's rather overpriced and though they have a couple tradiational Sichaunese dishes, the rest of the menu I find to be really just Americanized Chinese.

          That said, just down the street is MuLan, which is Taiwanese, but has some surprisingly spicy, more Sichuan-style dishes. In particular, the MuLan yupian (house special fish) is served in a very spicy broth with Sichuan peppercorns that reminds me of the hot pot I used to eat in Chongqing.

          1. re: xiaoguniang

            I much prefer Mulan to Anise..and love that fish dish at Mulan. Not sure how T friendly Mulan is though.??

            I was just responding to Aroma's question re Anise..Anise is also very convenient to Kendall Theater..Like I said, good..not great...few hits, few misses..and they did bring the heat when we asked.

      2. In Cambridge, there's Anise in Kendall Square. They get mixed reviews for dinner, but are a local favorite for lunch.

        They're a short walk from the Kendall stop on the Red Line. You'll find them in the One Kendall Square complex - pretty much in the middle of their courtyard. From the T stop walk through the hotel and turn left. Follow Broadway about three blocks and you'll find One Kendall on the right.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kbw18

          The Sichuan Garden right off Rte 95 (128) in Woburn is very good for lunch. Although they have a standard lunch menu just ask them for the regular menu when you are seated. Sichuan Garden is one of the best Chinese places in the area for this style of food.

        2. Shangri-la on Belmont St. in Belmont is accessible by the T, and isn't far from Cambridge. It is very good. You can check some of the posts on this board.

          4 Replies
          1. re: bear

            True, but I don't think it's the place for full-out Sichuan.

            1. re: bear

              How do you get there by T? Or do you mean the commuter rail?

                1. re: bear

                  I'd be on the red line, but just in general I don't know of any T stop that goes anywhere near Belmont (perhaps Alewife is close). I was just curious if you were including the bus/commuter rail with "T line"

            2. According to mbta.com trip planner, you can take the 73 bus from Harvard. It is the Waverly Square/Mt. Auburn bus. You get off at the corner of Belmont St. and Oxford Ave.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bear

                Right, so it requires a bus beyond the T ... that's what I was trying to figure out.

              2. Qingdao, incidentally, is also closed on Tuesdays.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Kenji

                  on the eve of my lunch I seem to be cursed by tues closings. On staying with the near the t line theme (hey I may want to see this fair city a little in the 4-5 hours I have this visit) Anise and Mulan's menus look great, but the Anise menu, despite serious over pricing, seems to have the edge with regard to Sichuan...thanks for the recs. And go Indians!

                  1. re: lyn

                    ok feedback time. I ended up at Anise. I was a bit worried I would make it at all as I had blown out some heat circuits and had expected "issues" as the result of a tasty but searing hot hell rib from East Coast Grill the night before. But that is another thread. Upon entry to Anise, I was a tad suspicious as it seemed to cater to the western business crowd (generally overpriced and dumbed down for all paletes). I then perused the menu and asked the waitress for spicy recommendations with Sichuan peppercorns. I was surprised there were only a few- a tofu and minced beef dish, a sliced beef dish and the broken chicken off the dinner menu. I insisted I liked the real thing and she advised these were the better dishes. I decided on the sliced beef with "chili powder" as I though this might be like the oily, red, peppery, tear inducing, hot dish I had had on a recent NYC trip (Grand Sichuan). I advised I like it spicy. So I am waiting and start looking around. It appears to be all business men eating that General's chicken. Foreboding. So the dish comes out and looks well flecked with the peppercorns. but I try it and it is bland as hell. I am not kidding. I was getting some slight numbing from peppercorns, but with out the heat from the chili, it tasted medicinal. you have to have numb and burn together. The waitress finally came to check me as I was kind of sitting there, and I think she initially thought I was complaining it was too hot. I asked for anything to make the dish hotter, and she brought some chili oil, which I had to douse the meat with. the result tasted like my home efforts at Sichuan cookery. ok tasting, really hot, but not that endorphin rush and follow up high I get from authentic restaurant Sichuan that has seasonings perfectly blended. Other issues: there was a think brown gravy on the meat. I don't really care for gravy like sauces in Chinese. I think oily, and red from chilies is tastier. Also the meat had a stew like texture. I know some dishes like clay pots this is a good thing, but I didn’t think it worked with this dish. Anyway, I may have just picked the wrong dish, although I don't think this was well executed at all. I know I had some really good resto choices if it were a different day and if I am back in Boston I will time it better. This coupled with the closing of Filenes Basement at DT Crossing almost made the day a bust!

                    PS I know you guys tried to warn me...