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Wow, Fantastic Sichuan in Billerica, Ma. - Sichuan Gourmet

This place has been on my "to go" list since joining Chowhound and having others rave. Thank you Chowhounders!!!
It's in a little strip mall next to the K-Mart Plaza on Boston Rd. (rt. 3a). We decided to go on xmas eve - place was packed and a good 20 min wait (so well worth it). I'll start with the service - excellent. The hostess was very nice, kept coming to our table to check if we were ok (since we ordered some hot dishes). She was surprised "you can handle that?" Several waiters, waitresses made sure we always had what we needed. The food - omg, out of this world phenominal. I loved the little bowl of pickled things at the table as we looked at the menu - great beginning. We started with Dan Dan Noodles that were sooooo tasty and hot, I couldn't stop eating them. I believe they had a ground pork mixed in a few vegies - flavors I can't describe except Fantastic. We also got the spring rolls , also fantastic - piping hot just out of the oil. We proceeded with Xiang La Dry Fish because teh table next to us had it and looked fantastic. It lived up to it's looks. It was very hot, had flecks of pepper throughout with a nice mix of huge chunks of celery, peppers too. We ended with Old Sichuan Chicken (again two pepper hot) but sooo good. The coating on the chicken was almost a bit sweet like they used crushed vanilla wafers as the coating. A wonderful side to the chicken was a sweet marinated cabbage - excellent at cooling my mouth off.

It's wonderful food like this that I wish I could just keep going but we had to take some home. I can't wait to go back.

http://www.laosichuan.com/en/menu.php...

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  1. Glad you enjoyed it--it's my fave place for Chinese! My office is 5 minutes away, so I go there often.

    2 Replies
    1. re: whs

      what is lunch like? Hubby used to work close by too, many went there but he hadn't. Same with step daughter, went for lunch wth co-workers many times and loved it - she hadn't realized that we never been.

      Can't wait to go again with a bigger crowd to try more.

      HNY

      1. re: lexpatti

        Avoid the lunch combo specials--they have to compete with Rick's down the street, so the offerings are pretty ordinary. Order off the regular menu--the hot and sour soup is special--very different and aromatic. Love the dried chicken with chili sauce and the chicken with spicy chili sauce. The sichuan double cooked bacon is great too.

    2. We have been back a couple times but Tuesday night, WOW!! My future daughter in law had a sore throat so ordered the Wonton Soup for 2. I cannot wait to go back to have my own - it was soooo fantastic. We got our normal Dan Dan noodles (starting to crave this stuff), my son ordered this excellent dry beef and scallion pancakes. I love this place, great customer service skills too.

      30 Replies
      1. re: lexpatti

        FYI, the two ladies running around are sisters. It's my Friday lunch go-to place, always packed. Smokey cayenne chicken is great.

        1. re: whs

          yum, thanks, we keep trying new stuff but still love our very first visit with dan dan noodles and that dry fish Xiang but now I'm adding that soup. we need to go with a crowd so we can try more. :-)

          1. re: lexpatti

            Yea we always get the spicy hot&sour wonton soup for 2. Good stuff. Most likely going tonight!

            1. re: hargau

              Had the Ma Po Tofu yesterday--a good version but think I will stick with the smokey cayenne chicken.

              1. re: whs

                Yea im not a big fan of ma po tofu.. My favs are the dried chicken with chili peppers, Spicy wontons in chili oil, Dan dan noodles, hot/sour wonton soup, beef/chicken or pork with spicy chili sauce,meatball sichuan style or the double cooked bacon..

          2. re: whs

            Went today, omg fantastic: dan dan noodles of course, that smokey cayenne chicken was great, we also love that fish xiang, had a new dish (Sichuan Beef Kung Bao) that was fantastic too and general gau's chix.

            I love this place - it's going to be our once a week fix!!!

            1. re: lexpatti

              Is it busy on the weekend? Went there Friday at lunch--there was a line out the door.

              1. re: whs

                We met at noon today, only one or two other tables - but within an hour a good 6-8 more parties came in. I'm really going to eat my way through that menu - Wow, Fantastic Food. I'm eating leftovers right now. :-) Dan Dan Noodles are to die for. Next time I need my fix, I'm literally going to post it on Facebook and get a group to go - I need to try more stuff.

                1. re: lexpatti

                  Double cooked bacon is my new addiction

                  1. re: whs

                    had the dandan noodles and hot & sour soup today--it was a little less crowded at 1:30--want to try the beef tendon next time

                    1. re: whs

                      mmmm, I keep eyeing that one!!

                      1. re: lexpatti

                        I can attest -- beef tendon is just like the others you mention -- excellent, excellent, excellent. If you like their Dan Dan noodles, you'll no doubt love their Jia-Jiang noodle soup (I'm probably butchering the romanized spelling).
                        The eggplant is also excellent.

                          1. re: Keithel

                            Is that a cold dish, because I tried to order it and she actually made a face and said "that's cold, you might want this" and pointed to another beef dish. I didn't order it for that reason but next time I'll push through her face. No bacon dishes Fri night but we did try 4 new dishes - working our way through this fabulous menu. We can't seem to find a great shrimp dish. Any suggestions? We've tried tang and Yu Xiang Sauce (w/broccoli, mush). The spicy wings were fantastic this time and of the 4 dishes, fav was the Sichuan Kung Bao Chicken. We had a really nice pork dish, shredded beef with peppers and shrimp dish.

                            1. re: lexpatti

                              I have not had much luck finding a standout shrimp dish there. The Tangerine ones are decent as are the garlic steamed ones on the original creation menu on their website. http://www.laosichuan.com/images/menu... No real spicy shrimp dishes though.
                              Those wings are nice. Have you tried the (chicken,beef or pork) in spicy chili sauce? Its like a boiled meat with cabbage in a large bowl, nice and spicy. Here is the beef one http://www.laosichuan.com/images/menu...

                              1. re: hargau

                                I kept eyeing that - next time (or over the next few times since I cannot completely hog the ordering) will be the 1) eggplant 2) a bacon dish 3) that beef tendon 4) dish w/ spicy chili sauce and the only 3 pepper dish (GinGu Fish Filet)

                                I wish they had a buffet to try everything. I'm the one eyeing everyones table to get ideas.

                                1. re: lexpatti

                                  Then when you finish that menu you can start on Sichuan Palace in Chelmsford. We go there quite a bit too. http://www.sichuanpalace.net/ We find it more relaxing and less hectic and still really good food. They have many of the same dishes too and you can relax in a nice booth.. My only complaint with Sichuan gourmet in Billerica is that sometimes you feel rushed because of the crowds and the tables/chairs are so on top of each other that i feel like im sitting with strangers. A couple of the front tables by the cashier are especially bad as the people waiting, paying or getting takeout have their butts in your face and tend to bang your chair alot.

                                  1. re: hargau

                                    thanks, I'll have to give that a try - we do Sukura's in that same strip mall (I believe)??? Is there another Sichuan place in Chelmsford? Hubby turned his nose up when I mention one in Chelmsford - but I think he may have thought about another one.

                                    1. re: lexpatti

                                      Yes it is the same strip mall as Sakura. Not sure if there is another in Chelmsford or not. This one has only been around for about a year i think. We find most the dishes are on par with the other Sichuan places around. You can also get hot pot there as well, looks good but we have not tried it. Some of the dishes i prefer at Sichuan Gourmet though, like the dumplings in chili oil. They have alot of different stuff on the menu.

                                      1. re: hargau

                                        We did try the one in Chelmsford and agree that ambiance can be better but still love Sichian Gourmet better. We went again last night and got a new dish - eggplant =great. I still haven't gotten the twice cooked bacon dish (only weekends) or the beef tendon - next time. We really do love the ambiance, we end up making friends with the folks next to us so we do enjoy that closeness. The servers are starting to know us, always a welcoming feeling.

                                        1. re: lexpatti

                                          I tried a new dish yesterday-beef noodle soup. Sounds boring, but huge flavors. Like pho, but much richer stock. This will be a go-to dish on cold winter days.

                                            1. re: lexpatti

                                              yes--soups are a part of the menu I haven't really explored.

                                              1. re: whs

                                                I have had that beef noodle soup at the Chelmsford Sichuan Palace. At SG i cant resist getting the Hot and Sour Wonton so have never made it to any of the other soups.

                                      2. re: lexpatti

                                        There's another one in town (N. Chelmsford) called Szechuan Chef, and I submitted a review in this forum. This is my #1B Chinese place in town, with SP being #1A. Not the "typical" Sichuan cuisine you see at SG, SP, et al, but very flavorful standard dishes and some interesting specialties from the Chinese menu.

                                        1. re: Dinsdale45

                                          So we tried the Szechuan Chef. We got 3 dishes all off the "chinese menu" plus some dumplings. They ranged from horrible to meh... People were very friendly though and room was very nice and clean looking. I certainly would not recommend it to anyone seeking Sichuan food for sure. We left saying that if we lived 5 minutes away we would try some more of the menu and give it another shot, but for driving 20-25min to get there we wouldnt go again and would pick another place. There were several Asian families dining which is always a good sign to me, perhaps they knew something we didnt.

                                          1. re: hargau

                                            Sorry you didn't like it. As I said in my earlier posts, the name of the restaurant is misleading and I wouldn't call this "Sichuan" style cooking, but I would call it a cut above the bland Americanized suburban Chinese restaurants around here. The chicken with sour cabbage and the roast pork lo mein (I usually steer clear of this at other places, but I bought it once for the kids) are two favorites. I've tried other dishes that are very good, too. Maybe your expectations were too high, when I first ate here, I was pleasantly surprised.

                                            1. re: Dinsdale45

                                              My expectations were actually not very high cause i read your disclaimer on it not being Sichuan style cooking.. I like just about any chinese food from the mall food court to the most authentic stuff. This just didnt sit well with either of us. I ended up throwing out all the leftovers which is very rare for me, im tyically eating them cold for breakfast the next day.. The worst dish for sure was what they called "szechuan noodles (hot)".. Listed on the chinese menu and on the app menu. We expected something like dan dan noodles or something similar. What we got was an overcooked bowl of what looked like angelhair pasta. It had some sort of sauce which was creamy sort of like peanut suace you sometimes get but no peanut flavor.. main flavor was vinager. Not very good at all.

                                              Then we got one of the spicy chicken dishes off the Chinese menu. It was all very poor cuts of grisly dark chicken with basically a sweet sticky general gaus type prep.. Not very spicy at all either, despite several verbal warnings and "are you sure you want this" type questions.

                                              Pan fried dumplings, nothing special.

                                              Best dish was a crispy tofu with soy sprinkles dish off the chinese menu. Very simple/plain but interesting.

                                              I really wanted to love it cause the people were so friendly and nice.

                                              1. re: hargau

                                                I had those noodles, too, and I agree that they were not what I was expecting. I never ordered them again. I once had the chicken with chile dish that was pretty good, "extra heat" apparently was just a liberal dose of sambal oelek or other vinegary chile paste. I once tried to get into a discussion of "ma la" with them but the gist was lost in translation. Most of the other dishes I've had are well above average (I didn't say great), it's close by, and the kids like this stuff more than Sichuan Palace. Again, try the pork lo mein next time. Never had better.

              2. mmmmmm mmmmm mmmm, got our fix of Dan Dan Noodles tonight and finally got the twiced cooked bacon dish - wowsa - fantastic. We also tried a new shrimp dish that was great - Shrimp with Sichuan Chili Sauce.

                This has definately become our "once a week" dining fix!!!!

                I'm anxious to try the only 3 pepper dish - Jin Gu fish fillets and that whole fish dish looks excellent too.

                1. Oooo, ooooo New menu - sooooo fantastic. We got our Dan Dan noodle fix and the spiced wings and tried 2 new things from their new menu: fish/tofu cubes deep fried with a Yu Xiang sauce on the side - really fantastic appetizer. We also tried a cumin/chili lamb from the new menu - wow!!!! Place was hopping, we met John (had a wonderful chat with him about the Framingham location, new menu, etc). As usual, the staff was fantastic - they really know hospitality. Did I say, I love this place!!! I could eat here several times a week but I'm settling for once a week and miss it badly when I can't make it.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: lexpatti

                    New menu! Interesting. Is this in addition to the old menu, like a new specials menu to replace the one they had for a long time or is it a total replacement of both of the menus they had?

                    1. re: hargau

                      new specials, old GREAT menu still in tact. Lots of great new stuff to try. I never tire of this place. Our problem is we fall in love with a new dish each time we go but still want to try new. A buffet of EVERYTHING would b fantastic!!!!! (or go once a week at least). This is one of those places that my "favorite dish" keeps changing. Good problem to have I guess.

                      1. re: lexpatti

                        ok, help me get out of my rut. I order the same things every week, the smoky cayenne chicken, the double cooked bacon, the dan dan noodles, the hot and sour soup. What's your fave rave?

                        1. re: whs

                          Xiang La Dry Fish Filet, Sichuan Beef Kung Bao, spicy wings, scallian pancakes (not hot), that new fantastic app fish/tofu cubes deep fried with an awesome sauce on the side, the new cumin lamb dish and of course dan dan noodles.

                          the new special menu = more great items to try

                          :-)

                          1. re: whs

                            We really like those dishes you list but other good ones are the Fish fillets with spicy chili sauce, Old Sichuan chicken or dried chicken with chili sauce which is very similar but small bits like popcorn chicken on crack. meatball sichuan style (not spicy). I will have to disagree on the scallion pancakes. (my gf gets them every time to fight the heat on some dishes and every time we think they are way undercooked, even though we always ask for them extra well done)

                    2. another wonderful evening at SG, tried two new dishes: the owner John brought over the Sichuan Wonton w. Spicy Chili Sauce appetizer for us to try (knowing we hadn't gotten that yet) - said it's the most popular dish! AND I KNOW WHY - SOOOOOO FANTASTIC. It's hot and sweet. Also got a new lamb dish on the new menu, seasoned lamb cooked perfectly tender (I'm always amazed and how tender the meats are, many places it's dry). We invited my cousin & hubby and they brought some of their friends -8 total (all from Billerica and never been - crazy) - although majority do not like spicy or are adventurous eaters - they enjoyed but maybe next time we get together with them, we'll do a steak place because I really want a group that's going to order ALLLLLL the things I want to try! yes, selfish of me. I have another group in mind, after a recent party and of course me talking about my favorite restaurants - Hubby's HS classmate chimes up and says "OMG, I do the SG once a week" - she works in Billerica. Small world! Got to coordinate that group together for a SG field trip!

                      If you haven't been, go!!!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: lexpatti

                        we get those alot too but never when we get the H&S wonton soup since they are the same wontons. We tried a new to us fish dish last time that was great, forget which one but it was one of the ones served in the metal pan. The "new" menu wasnt really new to us, we have been getting that specials menu for quite sometime now. Perhaps last fall

                        1. re: hargau

                          yes, same flavors - I love that soup too. Maybe I was wrong but I thought they agreed that new items were added. I still want to get the 3 pepper fish dish. Have you done the fish/tofu cubes, fried? flavors are hard to pinpoint but delish.

                          1. re: lexpatti

                            I have not done that but saw it on the table next to us last time. Where is the fish? Looked just like tofu cubes from what i could see across the room

                            1. re: hargau

                              yes, looks like tofu but it's tofu and fish mixed, then made into cubes - consistency is more like tofu, but fantastic fish flavors. really good.