Szechuan restaurant (old Cheung's Garden) - Calgary
God, I agree with you YB. I have no fallback Chinese place to go to now on a semi-regular basis.
Although I have yet to try Golden Happiness (I think that's the name) and Dragon Dynasty that other people have recommended here.
Part of the problem is I don't read Chinese that well although I can speak it well enough. That's why Cheung's Garden was great along with T. Pot and Peking Garden - gotta love the English menus to confirm what a dish actually is :)
I ate at the new Szechuan Restaurant on 16 Ave a few weeks ago with friends who moved to Calgary from China, and who acted as hosts for a table of 9 people. This is the real deal: the food is simply prepared, generally coarse cuts with bones and tongue and stomach and whatever, and the flavors are right in your face - very ma and la.
I especially enjoyed the twice-stirred port and a spicy beef soup. We also had a whole steamed fish that had to be ordered in advance that was so mind-numbingly hot that I literally stopped thinking for minutes at a time, a cold spicy dish of beef parts, two different spicy chicken dishes, noodles, vegetable dishes and rice. Dessert was some kind of fermented rice porridge.
The restaurant was packed on a week night, mostly Chinese families. You might need a Chinese friend to help navigate the menu and the cuisine, and be prepared for an assault on your senses.
Just had dinner tonight at Szechuan Restaurant. For starters, a dish of roasted peanuts were brought out.
The menu is written in both English and Chinese.
We ordered these dishes:
- Bamboo Fungus, Mushrooms, Sea Cucumber Soup - Delicious and a nice clear broth!
- Green Beans with Minced Pork (Spicy) - So good!! Love the red chillies in the dish.
- Hot and Spicy Chicken (Boneless) - it was cooked with light batter and fried with dried red chillies! Gosh! I love the chillies in the dish!
- Pig's Blood, Tripe, Calamari Stew - Spicy as can be but so wonderful on a cold night!
- Beef Fried Noodles - looks boring but so good with loads of garlic. The beef is so tender.
If you like spicy and chillies, this is the restaurant for you.
If you don't, try the non-spicy dishes.
They also have hot pot - adults $23.95 kids $10.95 - the soup included is the clear broth but you can pay extra to get different soup bases. You also get a list to pick out what raw items you want to cook in your hot pot. We shall try the hot pot the next time.
The owner of the restaurant came out to chat with us and she is originally from Szechuan province in China. She can speak Mandarin, Szechuan and English. She asked us if we could read Chinese and we said we're not that great and promised to write the special food items in English as well as in Chinese.
I think I'm the lone dissenter here: I found Szechuan Restaurant disappointing. For the record, I've never been to Sichuan Province so I don't know what the food is supposed to taste like.
We ordered (the names will not be exact) the sliced pig's ear, the "fish aroma" eggplant, and the fried green beans with bits of pork. The eggplant came in a generic Chinese thick brown sauce, no fish taste nor fish discernible. It could have been called soy sauce eggplant for all flavours that were in the dish.
The fried green beans were adequate, but not by far--comparing them to the one from Han's, they were soggy and lacking in depth of flavour. Again, one-note and missing the contrast of crisp skin and tender bean I've come to expect from this dish.
The pig's ear was not tender enough for me, too crunchy, but this may be how it is supposed to be prepared. Again, the flavour was, to me, a bit bland and simply a bit salt, nothing more.
All in all, for a mediocre meal that costs a bit more than a similar one from Han's, I won't be going back to Szechuan Restaurant.
Fish aroma (yuxiang) means things cooked with the same seasonings as fish would be cooked, not cooked with fish. In sichuan you can get fish aroma eggplant, pork slivers, canola, etc but none of these dishes contain actual fish. yuxiang still comes in a couple of different styles, some red, sour and garlicky and some very dark and sweet.
I believe it's at 414 16th Avenue NW. Does anyone have a number? I want to call and make a reservation but googling Szechuan Restaurant isn't helping. And, of course, the old Cheung's Garden number hasn't been taken over by them. I'd really like to order the fish for tomorrow night, so a number would be great.