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May 7, 2009 01:14 AM

Looking for kickass Szechuan food

So I've lived in the Bay Area for ~4 years now, and I haven't found a truly spectacular chinese restaurant yet that rivals what I'm used to. I've eaten at some good places, Kirin in the Richmond, and a couple of anonymous and solid (but not outstanding) places in China town.

I used to eat regularly at Lao Sze Chuan in Chicago, from 2000-2005 and it's just the best chinese food ever. The chef, Tony, has an amazing repertoire of dishes including standard americanized fare like Mongolian Beef, etc. He also has some great signature dishes and *real* chinese dishes (e.g. Yu Shiang Tendon). Apparently, he now has 3 restaurants, one in connecticut...

Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone here has any Chinese places they'd put on par with Lao Sze Chuan....



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  1. China Village is the best Sichuan I've had. Z&Y Garden in SF is good. Links in this topic:

    8 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I'll second China Village. Best Cumiin Lamb and fish soup I have had anywhere.

      I'll also put in a "no" vote for Panda Kitchen. Everything there makes my tongue go numb and I cannot taste anything.

      China Village
      1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

      1. re: Civil Bear

        Civil Bear Said:

        "I'll also put in a "no" vote for Panda Kitchen. Everything there makes my tongue go numb and I cannot taste anything."

        Hmmm... actually that sounds exactly like authentic food from sichuan.

        1. re: boris_qd

          Yeah, lots of Sichuan pepper creates that "ma la" numb sensation.

      2. re: Robert Lauriston

        Count me among the converts to the cult of Z&Y. Finally got to try the cumin beef and chicken with explosive chili pepper. The latter was a revelation, one of the best versions of this dish I've ever tried. Better even than the diced chicken with chilis at Szechuan Gourmet in NYC. My only complaint is that I prefer the dish with bones in the chicken, but this was a minor quibble given how well spiced and fried the chicken chunks were. It was so good I actually went back for dinner by myself the next day to order it again!

        1. re: a_and_w

          They will make it with the bony joints rather than boneless pieces if you ask; if you're not Chinese, you might have to insist, as I did. Z&Y used to serve the bony pieces by default until their recent chef change.

          It's much better with bones. My other current favorites there are:
          * smoked pork with leek
          * Yunnan fried rice cakes
          * tiger skin jalapeno peppers
          * Sichuan cold noodle

          1. re: david kaplan

            Is "tiger skin jalapeño peppers" the same dish they used to call "braised green pepper (jalapeño)" or something new?

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I never tried the braised pepper dish. The tiger-skin peppers have shriveled skins and are served in a vinegary thin sauce. I'll try to remember to take a picture next time.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Tiger skin jalapenos are roasted on a grill (leaving "tiger" stripes).

        2. Do a search for Sichuan or szechuan chowdowns on this board. You might have to expand the search parameters to 2 years to get more results.

          1. China Village Albany is unquestionably #1 for me. I've also come to really like Crouching Tiger in Redwood City.

            1. I quite like Country Panda Kitchen. In fact, I think I'll try to go back soon


              Panda Country Kitchen
              4737 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

              1. My favorite Sichuan in the Bay Area is South Legend in Milpitas.

                South Legend
                1720 N Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035