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Chef Chang's becoming Sichuan Gourmet?

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I was reading the Brookline Tab's legal notices and saw one set for 1/19/10 for transferring Chef Chang's liquor license to Sichuan Food Service d/b/a Sichuan Gourmet Brookline. I haven't heard anything else, but I have to say I'd really welcome Sichuan Gourmet to lower Beacon.

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  1. If these are the same Sichuan Gourmet people with restaurants in Woburn (edited: it's actually Billerica) and Framingham, and they do similarly traditional Sichuan food, this is a huge upgrade at this location. I remember enjoying Chef Chang's House once upon a time, but it has always been rather Westernized, and I think that after the Venerable Grandfather Chang passed on, it took a sharp nosedive in quality from which it never recovered.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      I am going to respectfully disagree. We've been dining at Chef Chang's on a regular basis for over 25 years, and have never noticed any drop in quality, let alone a nosedive. The Peking duck is always fabulous. My brother in law asked them to prepare beef chow fun with spicy black bean sauce, and with a big grin the server happily wrote it down, and it was great. The ingredients are always very fresh. So, for us, this is not good news.

      1. re: CookieLee

        I imagine you have a better read on Chang's than me. It was a weekly haunt for me back in the old days, and then I moved further away, only went once or twice a year after that. An awful Peking duck experience (after years of great ones in the Grandfather Chang era) kind of soured me on it for good, but overall I'd already felt like the thrill was gone -- for instance, the shredded beef I once loved there had become bland and mushy. It wasn't just that I was eating more traditional food and less American-Chinese over time. I will mostly remember it fondly, though.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    2. Yay! That is great news!

      1. Isn't Sichuan Garden in Brookline and Woburn while Sichuan Gourmet is in Billerica and Framingham? Which chain is it?

        5 Replies
        1. re: Dinsdale45

          Sorry, my confusion. Sichuan Gourmet has places in Framingham and Billerica; Sichuan Garden in Brookline Village and Woburn. This makes the change even better news, if it's the same people: I think the Billerica Gourmet is better than the Woburn Garden (which in turn is better than the Brookline Village Garden). I haven't been back to the Framingham Gourmet in quite a while, but I remember it as being excellent and quite traditional, though all of them have "American" menus, too.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            It is indeed the people behind Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham and Billerica (I'm writing about it right now). Li Zhong started both restaurants, and his name is in the public notice.

            1. re: hiddenboston

              This is wonderful news, indeed. I also enjoyed Chef Changs back in the 80's, but noticed the sad downslide in quality the past 10 years. Sichuan Gourmet is one of my favorites in the westbound world.......even better in Brookline!

              1. re: Science Chick

                I used to love Chef Chang's chicken fingers with poppy seeds. They were the best! Despite not being "authentic" that is.

              2. re: hiddenboston

                Sweet news, now I don't have to zipcar out to go there.

          2. Good recap by Chowhound gansu girl of highlights from the Billerica location here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/655446 She hits all my favorites.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. Big fan of Sichuan Gourmet. This will be a nice addition. Last time I went to Chef Chang's it was pretty lack luster.

              1. Oh man I am so delighted

                1. Good news for those in the Brookline area. The SG up here in Billerica is the real deal! They have a nice authenticity when you stick with the Sichuan classics.

                  1. Love Love love SG in Billerica, have to get my weekly fix of dan dan noodles and almost anything else on the menu - we are still working our way through it. Soooo fantastic.

                    1. The deal would appear to be done:

                      http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/b...

                      1. YES! YES! YES!! This instantly becomes the best restaurant in the general area of BU...well, one can assume. Certainly not much competition.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: tamerlanenj

                          A quick note of appreciation: the family has been a loyal supporter of Brookline public schools and notably of the Brookline-China Exchange Program, which recently had a 10th anniversary party catered by Chef Chang's.

                          FYI, the Exchange has students from Gaoxin No. 1 High School in Xian come to BHS for a term and then students go from BHS to Gaoxin for a term. One of my daughters did this in 10th grade, living with a family in Xian for months, going to high school in Xian. This program is, I believe, one of the two oldest in the US and one of the few that sends kids for an entire term, that has them live with families and that has them actually go to actual high school classes in China.* The Chef Chang's family has been a huge help over the years.

                          Remember, hounds, that local restaurants aren't merely food; they are part of a community. I was never a big Chef Chang's food fan but every community should be lucky to have a family like that and so they will be missed.

                          *BTW, their regular math class is like our AP track, somewhere between AB and BC calculus.

                        2. While most of Chef Chang's dishes were mediocre, the had the best peking duck in Boston. I've been going for years and the same big chef comes out to carve the crispy duck tableside and they make a great duck stew out of the carcass when you're done. Do you know if they'll keep the peking duck chef?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lycheefloat

                            I'll disagree about the mediocrity of the other dishes, but I will heartily agree about the peking duck! Where will we go now?? Is peking duck on the menus at other SG sites?

                            1. re: CookieLee

                              New Shanghai does a nice Peking duck, but not the traditional three ways.

                              King Fung Garden used to be my standby for this after Grandpa Chang shuffled off, but I don't know if the Brookline KFG does it or not, and I haven't been back to the original in quite a while, don't know its current status. Has anyone been to the Chinatown KFG lately? Its ownership/chef seemed to be in flux for a while.

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              1. re: CookieLee

                                S.G does a nice Tea Smoked Duck but no Peking Duck

                            2. Amazing news! Best Chinese in the Boston area!

                              1. Sorry with the exception of the Peking duck I see the loss of Chang's and the gain of SG strictly a win for Boston.

                                1. I'll miss Sue and Tony and the rest of the family. They were good people.

                                  Sonny is part owner of HaNaBi in Marshfield, btw.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                    Other relatives are involved with other restaurants. An active family.