Great Szechuan (Richmond)
Went for dinner last night.
"Spicy beef tendon" ($6) and "chilli oil thin-sliced pig's ear" ($4) were tasty but I prefer Spices!3's versions. Both were very spicy from chile oil, and the tendon had a lot of prickly ash powder.
I noticed two items listed as "signature dishes" on the takeout menu so ordered them. "Red chilli pepper special" ($10) with squid was moderately spicy. The dish included some relatively mild, largish fresh red peppers and cucumber, both slightly pickled, celery, and a small amount of mild black bean or something similar. I might try the lamb version next time.
"Steam bamboo basket special" ($5) with fish was quite simple and barely spicy. Boneless fillets of soft white fish were lightly breaded in a delicately spiced cornstarch mixture and steamed. Delicious. I can't quite imagine what the beef or chicken versions would be like.
"Spicy charred stir-fried cabbage" was despite the name not very spicy. It had a lot of "wok hay" and was very slightly sweet. I'd order this again.
Great Szechuan (closed)
3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA
This reminds me, I was going to post a CV update and forgot... I went back with friends a few weeks ago, and the cabbage tasted totally different - no wok hay, less caramelized, and they used soy sauce (I'm pretty sure that it was salt only when we got it at the chowdown). West-style fish fillet (aka Soup of Red Death) was really good, but the fish lacked the shao-xing wine flavor I'd detected at the chowdown. When I tasted Great Szechuan's version, I thought I preferred China Village's, but in retrospect GS' version had a stronger toasty chili pepper flavor that I really liked. Chongqing chicken wings were outstanding and addictive again. Water boiled beef and fish fillet with tofu in spicy sauce were disappointing - both lacked the nuances present when we tried them at the Chowdown (they reminded me of the preps at Spices3 - a blast of sodium, chili, and Szechuan peppercorn, without much complexity).
1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706