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Feb 22, 2008 07:03 PM

Sichuan Garden

This is a new place in Round Rock we went to tonight which just opened today. My wife saw it advertised in the local Chinese language newspaper.

The good: The food was VERY good. We ordered the spicy beef, Ma Po Tofu, and something called Stir-Fried Yellow Eel with Hot Cumin. I enjoy Asia Cafe, but this place's spicy beef and Ma Pa Tofu were much hotter and enjoyable. I have no idea if Asia Cafe has the Eel dish, but that was quite good too. Each dish was ~$10. They have a $5.55 lunch menu too which includes Double Cooked Pork and Ma Pa Tofu.

The bad: We waited over 30 minutes for our meal and there weren't even 10 parties in the restaurant (seats 17). I guess this can be expected on the first day, but still annoying. We also felt the portions were quite small for all the dishes, almost as if they were lunch portions. The bowl the beef dish comes in was over half full of lettuce. You get far more at Asia Cafe or other Sichuan places we've been.

The restaurant itself if fine. Nothing fancy, just a standard place to go eat. It's in the plaza with the McDonalds at the intersection of 620 and 35. Living in Cedar Park, it's far more convenient for us to get takeout at Asia Cafe, but if we're going out for a sitdown dinner, I actually prefer this place to Din Ho now.

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  1. An update. We went back again last night.

    They are still horribly slow. The place was full and they didn't know how to handle it. Our dishes came out separately as they were completed. The appetizer came out as our third dish (of four) at the 26 minute mark after we finally ordered, and the double cooked pork arrived at minute 38.

    The portions were a good deal larger tonight. The spicy beef and ma pa tofu were excellent just like last time. This was our first sampling of the double cooked pork and it was ok. I do feel Asia Cafe's is a bit better here though. Neither one can approach my mother in law's version :) We also ordered the 8 bun appetizer but it was overcooked and just plain bad.

    If you're going to try them out, go at an off time or call in your order ahead of time.

    1. Has anyone else been? I'd like to hear especially about how it compares to Asia Cafe.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mersenne twister

        I've only dined in once, but have ordered take-out countless times. (It's too long a drive to Asia Cafe for me.) Everything's always been cooked and ready in about 10-15 minutes. I've had the Dan Dan Noodles (no longer on the new menu, but you can ask for it - I think it's $3.95 - I love it), Pan-Fried Buns, Dragon Wontons, House Special Crispy Spicy Chicken (very good), Fish Fillet with Sizzling Rice (not true 'sizzling rice', more like rice cakes), Stir-Fried Lamb with Hot Cumin (very good), Stir-Fried Pork Kidney (one of my all-time favorites), Crispy Pork Intestine, Boiled Beef with Spicy Sauce (very good), Salted Toasted Eggplant Cake (not good for take-out, it gets soggy), and Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetable (fatty, but the way it's supposed to be). I think the quality at Asia Cafe is slightly higher (I guess they have all the fresh ingredients in shop), but Sichuan is pretty authentic, too. Comparable portions, comparable prices. (Asia Cafe has more variety.) I suspect there's not much of a pork-blood-and-intestine authentic Chinese food market in Round Rock, and Hao-Hao next door has already claimed the sesame-chicken-and-eggdrop-soup crowd for quite a while. Still, I hope this place can stay open for a long time.