Ok, let's try this again--I'm going to Sichuan Restaurant for the first time tonight. I'm saving the hot pot experience for a bigger group, looking for out-of-the-ordinary dishes to try tonight. I'm also running out of interesting Asian restaurants to try. I venture to Chinatown on the weekends, but I live in the Montrose area, and there are absolute no Chinese restaurants near home that I have found to be even acceptable for week-nights. Totally boring and Americanized. Help! We love Cali and 2 items at Van Loc, but that's it. A friend of mine recently went to Van Loc for the Bo Luc Lac and she said it was so chewy that it was inedible. I noticed they have a new (?) website and the description has been changed from Filet Mignon chunks to (I think) round steak chunks. Maybe that explains it.
One place to try for Chinese that is a bit closer than the Bellaire Chinatown for you is Chinese Cafe on Richmond in the strip center at Sage, just outside of loop 610. Not a huge selection, but what they do make is good and tasty - many Chinese customers there (always a good sign).
Also, you are aware that Cali and Van Loc are primarily Vietnamese restaurants, and that Bo Luc Lac is a Vietnamese dish, not Chinese? If it is Vietnamese food you're interested in, I'd recommend Thiem Hung (Cafe TH), which is over behind the George R Brown convention center, as well as Pho Saigon, Pho Nga, Thien An in midtown -- all do a much better rendition of Viet food than Van Loc, IMHO.
Van Loc Restaurant
3010 Milam St, Houston, TX 77006
2929 Milam St Ste C, Houston, TX 77006
7400 W Tidwell Rd Ste A, Houston, TX 77040
which sichuan restaurant are you going to? sichuan cuisine? i also noticed one in the sterling plaza shopping center but haven't been.
and besides the link danhole already posted about the houston chowhounds going to sichuan cuisine during the soup dumpling crawl, i also have another review of the hot pot there in case you haven't stumbled over it: http://imneverfull.blogspot.com/2008/...
please report back.
re: good chinese in montrose, there isn't any. hunan river is the best of the worst IMO. i've been meaning to go out to daniel wong's though as i hear it's pretty good. bo luc lac at mai's is always very good as is the soft shell crab in butter sauce. i've been to hue a couple times and it's quite pricey for vietnamese but most of the dishes have been good. there are two reviews of hue on my blog too but i haven't tried the bo luc lac there although the chef personally recommended that dish to me.