boredom at Hu's Szechuan in Palms
Ever hopeful, humanity refuses to accept that there is no good Chinese food on the west side. I am an example of that, having gone to Hu's Szechuan. The scholars here have instructed us that the menu at Hu's, though it reminds me way too much of Panda Express with its orange chicken and all, consists of real Szechuan dishes. So okay, I ordered the chili dumplings and the twice-cooked pork. The dumplings, which I guess are their signature dish, were pleasant enough though not distinctive or challenging. But the twice-cooked pork tasted like nothing. The restaurant employees were sitting down to their own lunch as I was eating this stuff, and I was jealous of whatever it was they were eating, because I bet that it had some actual flavor to it. Bleah.
Until J. R. Seafood opened up 10 years ago, Hu's Szechuan was in fact the best Chinese restaurant on the Westside. I had a Chinese friend living in Malibu who would make the trek all the time. However, with the opening of J.R., V.I.P. Harbor, Royal Star (if they're still open) and a couple of others, Hu's has slipped down the list by comparison.
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we had dinner tonight at hu's. used jerome's guide to order and were pleased with the results. after ordering i told the waiter we wanted *very spicy* and he noted *extra spicy*.
started with the wontons. floppy, good meat filling, soy-ish sauce was a little sour & spicy & hot peppery (but not numbing).
chenpi chicken with orange peel. quite spicy. accidentally ate 2 peppers which i thought were peel. ouch. sort of dark molasses sweet, but also tangy & sour.
they automatically brought out a small dish of the sweet, cooling *spicy* cucumbers. nice contrast.
tan tan noodles. same sauce as the the won tons w/spinach & peanuts. decent flavor.
well, we weren't expecting chung king (SGV) quality or range of flavors or sensations, but it did blow my sinuses and warm the blood. i wouldn't say it was boring. IMHO, if chung king hits 6 targets, hu's hits about 3.5.
Hu's was abominable when I went. I have no idea why it got any kind of reputation. Avoid at all costs, IMHO
I'm Chinese, and you're right: There are no good Chinese restaurants on the Westside. Having said that, I'm really impressed with only 1 dish at Hu's: their Eggplant. And yeah, it's oily everywhere, so be careful if you ever get take-out. (At least they're considerate and double-box it.)
They seem to slice it in the right size. J.R. Seafood's Eggplant Dish has pieces that are too large, so the inside of the eggplant doesn't pick up any of the sauce. But I find that Hu's Eggplant dish is actually quite nice. It's not excellent, mind you...but quite nice.