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Oct 15, 2007 01:28 PM

Sichuan Fortune House - Pleasant Hill New, Spicy and Authentic

I went to Banyan Tree for lunch and when I arrived I was surprised to find that Banyan Tree is now Sichuan Fortune. This is a new Sichuan restaurant that just opened up recently in Pleasant Hill. Inside the decor is very bare, they took down a lot of the Banyan Tree decor and repainted the place.

Since it was a little colder than usual, I decided to go with something spicy. I ordered the Water Boiled Beef. When the dish came it had a nice dollop of garlic and the beef was swimming in sichuan chili oil and peppers. From a scale of 1-10 I would give it a 7-8, it's above average good and very authentic, but I was hoping for more Sichuan pepper taste--it did have very good numbing effect though. Oh I also got free pickle with candy peanuts with sesame.

I took a to-go menu looking at the menu they offer a lot of Sichuan dishes you wouldn't find in regular restaurant. Here are a few sample (translating from Chinese):

Spicy beer with duck in claypot
Spicy General Zhangfei beef (not General Zhao's chicken by the way)
Catfish braised with roasted garlic
Hot and sour and spicy cold green pea jelly
Sea cucumber with braised pork shoulder

They also have the usual Sichuan flare:
Husband and wife beef
Beef tendon
Cumin beef or lamb
Sesame bread

I chit chated with the manager for about 5 min. and apparently the chef is also the owner of the restaurant. I wonder where the chef worked before. Manager also mentioned my Water Boiled beef was a very toned down (Spicy wise) version because of it's location in Pleasant Hill and clientele. I hope to try out a few more dishes in the next week weeks and I'll report back. If anyone wants to do a chowdown at the restaurant there I can talk to the manager to arrange something.

41 Woodsworth Ln.
Pleasant Hill, CA
(925) 686-9828

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  1. Maybe China Village? The beer/duck clay pot I first noticed there before seeing it anywhere else, and I have never seen the dish called General Zhang Fei beef anywhere else. The Zhang Fei beef at China Village is a v. spicy stir fry of braised, chopped beef brisket, pressed tofu and onions with ample Sichuan peppercorn.

    1 Reply
    1. re: twocents

      Yep, it is confirmed. The chef left China Village and opened up his own place here.

    2. Link

      Sichuan Fortune House
      41 Woodsworth Ln, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

      1. I happened onto Sichuan Fortune House while looking for parking in downtown Pleasant Hill. That's when I noticed that there was a new restaurant in town. I had the XO Sauce Lamb and some steamed rice, just grabbing some take-out.

        I've had a lot of chinese food in my time, and this was absolutely amazing. Far better than 3 Brothers (which was my favorite but which has also fallen in recent years) and vastly better than any of the other local places I've tried.

        The flavors were rich and quite spicy, as one expects from Sichuan food, and I for one will be going back again and again. The complimentary pickle and candy peanuts while the waiter took me on a culinary tour of Sichuan province was also a delight.

        I can highly recommend the XO Sauce Lamb or Beef, but I will have to wait a few more visits for a more serious review.

        1. Finally, a sichuan restaurant closer to my home than China Village. Hopefully it will turn out to be good, considering it has roots with CV. How was the menu layed out?

          2 Replies
          1. re: SamuelA.L.

            The menu almost replicate that of CV. Good English translation, and the server or manager can help you with menu selection. My only gripe and I've mentioned it to the chef is that it's a bit salty at times. Other than that, if you're looking for spicy authentic Chinese food in tri-valley area this is it.

            1. re: theSauce

              I'm an Atlanta Hound who was visiting my Chinese in-laws in Walnut Creek last week. Visited the day after Christmas, and was pleasantly surprised. Excellent service, and the owner and waitstaff seemed genuinely willing to please. Crowd was about 50/50 Chinese and non-Chinese.

              This wasn't world-class Sichuan cuisine (and I've been to Chengdu), but the food was well-prepared with quality ingredients, and the menu boasted some seriously authentic dishes. I'm the real hot-and-numbing addict in the family, so I was more underwhelmed than my dining companions, whose palates are from Harbin and Shanghai, by way of Taibei.

              The biggest hit was the Dandan noodles (担担面), which were authentically spiked with red chili, but could have benefited from a little more Sichuan peppercorn to give it that numbing mouth-feel. My mother-in-law favored the tea-smoked duck sauteed with roast chili (香辣樟茶鸭), which was an intriguing mixture of flavors (rich, fatty, smoky, white-hot). We all thought the cumin lamb was well-seasoned with jalapenos and small dried red chilies. The only real disappointment was the eggplant pancake with spicy garlic sauce (鱼香茄饼), which were battered and deep-fried slices of eggplant, served with brown sauce.

              We all agreed that China Village was better, but if you're on the other end of the Caldecott Tunnel, this is a decent alternative.

          2. Best chinese place in Pleasant Hill imho. Food is great tasting and not too SALTY! Why do so many restaurants make their dishes so salty? Maybe to hide the taste of crappy ingredients? Can't ask for better hospitality either. When I get take out, they bring me peanuts/kimchi and tea while waiting. Location is not the best.. def. a hidden gem.