Z&Y Restaurant--Finally found my favorite dish
I am sure that many other Sichuan and/or Shanghaiese restaurants have my favorite dish, but it seems like it is always called something different and I can never quite find the right thing. Anyway, I found it. At Z&Y on Jackson. They call Chicken with Explosive Chili or something like that. It is lightly breaded chunks of chicken fried and then dry sauteed with a spicy powder (including sichuan peppercorns) and a mound of dried red chilies. You dig through the chilies for the chunks of delicious, crispy, numbing, spicy chicken. It is great. This version might not be as good as what I ahve had in China and Hong Kong, but it hit the spot and I will definitely be getting it again. Can anyone give me the Chinese name for this dish. Other places to try it would be great as well.
And the people at Z&Y were great. I spoke to the waitress about how I have been searching for the dish and loved Sichuan food and she gave me a small portion of dan dan noodles to try. They were also delicious. Spicy and numbing. Good crunchy peanuts and all the other bits in a good sauce.
I was there the other day as well and had the beef pancake which i read about on the board a while ago. That too was delicious. It seemed to be that great Chinese cold five spice beef (like Chinese roast beef) wrapped in a an eggy pancacke with scallions and hoisin. What's not to like?
Stopped here earlier this week for a nice dinner. Place was almost empty but was over 3/4 full when we were done. I have been here only once before and that was for lunch.
We started with drunken chicken, then some rolled pancake with beef which was one of the best dishes. Also had some green onion pancake which was light and crispy. Other places make them thick, chewy, and greasy.
For veggies, we had Napa cabbage with garlic. Three separate fish dishes were ordered:
1. Steamed with green onions and soy sauce
2. Big tureen of filleted fish with noodles and some peppers. This is not the same dish that is called "Spicy Fish with Flaming Chili Oil" where the surface is covered with hot sichuan peppers.
3. "Hong Shao" braised fish with mushrooms and garlic.
Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the meal and it was a nice change from the usual Cantonese presentations of fish. I highly recommend this place and will definitely go back. We ordered the dishes mild since not everyone in our group can eat spicy foods. I saw other tables where the dishes just looked flamin' hot and would give your tongue some action.
That "Exploding Chili Pepper Chicken" (I also don't remember the true menu name) dish is incredible. I was expecting a sauce or something, but no, it's just the most addictively spicy little nuggets of greaseless fried chicken (boneless, dark), sitting in a mound of hundreds of the dried red chilies. I'd never seen anything like it.
Their spicy eggplant was also fantastic, as was the service.
re: P. Punko
Yes, it's chongqing la zi ji. Some restaurants give you a choice of boneless or on the bone. I prefer the hacked up wing pieces myself, the skin and bones impart more flavor.
It's one of my Sichuan standards, meaning that it's a must-order when I first try a new restaurant to see if the kitchen is up to snuff. Little Sichuan Express in Fremont (now moved to Newark) and China Village were my favorites in the area for this one.