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Szechuan Restaurant- Wilmington, DE

j
jessicheese Mar 22, 2010 10:53 AM

OK, so I want to try this place out, but have heard mixed reviews. I'm willing to listen to those who say to order off the Chinese menu, but have no idea what to get!! Can some of you give me some "must-have" dishes and an idea of what that dish consists of? I'm pretty open to new things, but the husband might shy away from things he's not familiar with. Thanks!!!

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  1. scoopG Mar 23, 2010 10:57 AM

    I've not been there yet but they do appear to have some interesting looking items. Just two of you? I'd go for the Spicy Beef Tendon, Chicken with Hot Pepper, Lion Head Meatball and a vegie dish. I see they also have Peking Duck which I will try one of these days. Your husband will just have to take one for the team and be adventurous!

    1. m
      MrRuffles Mar 24, 2010 08:20 AM

      Having been a frequent visitor to Shang Hai and to Szechuan a couple of times I can't say we've ever had anything we didn't like. Some of our favorites include Chinese Leeks Wonton Soup, Scallion Pancakes, Steamed Pork Dumplings, Lion Head Meat Ball, Sauteed Sour Vegetables with Pork. If you go and there's something you're not sure about, they've always been more than happy to answer any questions and give you a fuller description of a dish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MrRuffles
        k
        kbrownson Oct 19, 2011 11:00 AM

        The soups on the authentic menu are fabulous.

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        Szechuan Restaurant
        3615 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington, DE 19808

      2. CindyJ Mar 24, 2010 08:56 AM

        Where is this place?

        1 Reply
        1. re: CindyJ
          t
          travelmad478 Mar 24, 2010 11:16 AM

          http://www.szechuanwilmington.com/

          3615 Kirkwood Highway, in the Apollo Shopping Center.

        2. scoopG Apr 11, 2010 07:31 AM

          They have two distinct menus - one with American-Chinese standards and another "Authentic Chinese Menu" with 68 dishes in which a mixture of Sichuanese, Cantonese, Shanghainese and a few Northeastern Chinese dishes appear. They also feature a dreadful looking buffet at lunch and dinner that is to be avoided at all costs. I stopped in last week and sampled a few dishes:

          Spicy Beef Tendon - here is served in whole tubular pieces instead of the more usual slices, which make it easier to eat.

          Chicken with Hot Peppers - not bad, could have been spicier.

          Lion Head's Meatballs - they do a decent job here on these.

          Sauteed Celery with Dried Tofu and Celery - this was my favorite dish. Very light.

          The owners are quite friendly. I think it is worth going to if you are near Elsmere/Prices Corner but it does not top Yi Palace.

          1 Reply
          1. re: scoopG
            k
            kbrownson Oct 19, 2011 11:05 AM

            Szechuan Restaurant

            Celery, dried tofu, and chicken or beef is one of my favorites. I always ask for the Chili oil sauce on the side so I can spice up my dish. I think this dish is so good is because of the textures.

          2. k
            kbrownson Aug 18, 2010 01:37 PM

            I started ordering from the Chinese menu after sampling this food during Chinese New Year. We have been going to the buffet weekly for at least 5 years. I love sumer hot foods and like sliced steamed beef and steamed pork sliced. I have had most of the chicken, beef, and pork dishes from the Chinese menu. All have been great. The staff is very friendly and goes out of their way to welcome us. Actually I didn't know I have never had real Chinese food before this.

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            Szechuan Restaurant
            3615 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington, DE 19808

            1. a
              amascovs Aug 20, 2010 08:59 AM

              If you're talking about the Szechuan on Kirkwood Highway, I'd pass. Greasy greasy greasy.

              There are far better places nearby.
              Mikimoto's in Wilmington is by far the best (if your husband is scared, definitely go here. A lot of AMAZING fusion food and familiar things like steak, etc.) Excellent service and a great bar.

              The Crownery is another good place, it's traditional Chinese . Really good service, the staff has always been helpful in helping pick out a meal just right for you. The downside is it's a little pricey for what it is.

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              Crownery
              Lantana Sq, Hockessin, DE 19707

              19 Replies
              1. re: amascovs
                t
                travelmad478 Aug 20, 2010 09:59 AM

                Wow, you've just plugged what I consider to be the two worst excuses for Asian food in New Castle County. Mikimoto's, to be fair, doesn't really advertise itself as being pure Japanese, so I guess I can't fault them for having preposterously non-Japanese food. The Crownery, on the other hand, is not "traditional Chinese"--it's 1960's-era American Chinese, and a really poor execution of that already-depressing cuisine. I had--hands down--the worst Asian meal of my adult life there about a year ago, just after I'd closed on a house in Hockessin. (That experience alone made me think twice about the wisdom of moving out there.) Bright orange or brown gloppy sauce, flavorless food, and a dining room full of pasty Caucasians should tip you off that you are not in a "traditional Chinese" restaurant.

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                Crownery
                Lantana Sq, Hockessin, DE 19707

                1. re: travelmad478
                  scoopG Aug 20, 2010 02:09 PM

                  I agree. The Crownery is chock full of American-Chinese dishes. And crab and cream cheese wontons at Mikomotos does not make it a fusion restaurant. (Neither is Takumi in Independence Mall fusion.) Yi Palace is the best Chinese restaurant that Wilmington has to offer.

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6342...

                  1. re: travelmad478
                    CindyJ Aug 20, 2010 02:48 PM

                    Another like-minded opinion regarding the Crownery. I put that place into a category I call "neighborhood Chinese" because it reminds me somewhat of the Chinese restaurants that were prevalent in my Brooklyn neighborhood growing up in the 60's. That said, I admit I do sometimes have a craving for "neighborhood Chinese" and since my local go-to spot, King's Island in Kennett Square, closed without so much as a word of so-long, I'll have to head to the Crownery to get my fix..

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                    Crownery
                    Lantana Sq, Hockessin, DE 19707

                    1. re: CindyJ
                      t
                      travelmad478 Aug 20, 2010 04:10 PM

                      I too have a fondness for shrimp with lobster sauce from time to time (this is my standard comfort food, straight out of the white cardboard container, when I come home from a long trip). But that's the very dish I had at the Crownery, aiming low, and it was postively atrocious. I get a better version at the Hong Kong take-out shop in the Trolley Square shopping center. My next try will be the Chinese place in the little strip mall just northwest of Hockessin on Rte. 41 (where Two Fat Guys is)--I hope that can be my local source for "neighborhood Chinese," as you call it.

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                      Crownery
                      Lantana Sq, Hockessin, DE 19707

                      1. re: travelmad478
                        mwerkharder Aug 21, 2010 01:41 PM

                        Travelmad, try Happy Fortune on Marsh road for good neighborhood chinese. Very fresh and well done americanized chinese food. Great chicken and eggplant(my fave when in the mood) and very good bean curd homestyle(all vegetables and fried tofu, the best!)....

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                        Happy Fortune
                        1030 Forrest Ave Ste 112, Dover, DE 19904

                        1. re: mwerkharder
                          t
                          travelmad478 Aug 21, 2010 04:47 PM

                          Thanks--I've been there a few times when I used to work out on Concord Pike. Not bad--it would be a good option for neighborhood Chinese if it were actually in my neighborhood. Right now I'm in Trolley Square, moving in a few months to Hockessin. I will miss Hong Kong :-)

                        2. re: travelmad478
                          CindyJ Aug 22, 2010 06:40 AM

                          travelmad -- I'm trying to picture where on Rt. 41 that other Chinese place is. Chances are, I pass it on my way to the Crownery. What else is in that strip mall?

                          1. re: CindyJ
                            t
                            travelmad478 Aug 22, 2010 05:06 PM

                            It is up the hill from Hockessin heading towards PA, on the right-hand side. There's a liquor store, Okura Japanese restaurant, Two Fat Guys, an Italian grocery, and some other random things. It's kind of hard to see if you are speeding by, since there is little in the way of a visible sign, but it's there.

                            1. re: CindyJ
                              t
                              travelmad478 Nov 8, 2010 10:37 AM

                              CindyJ, this place is called New Dragon and we went there a few days ago for takeout. It is definitely for takeout (there are a few tables but the atmosphere is reminiscent of a Subway) and I thought it was just fine, in the "neighborhood Chinese" category. I ordered my standard shrimp with lobster sauce and thought it was OK although they put fake crab in there also, which I didn't care for. I also got a container of wonton soup and was pleasantly surprised by the wontons, which actually had quite a good flavor in the pork filling. This place will be a fine replacement for Hong Kong in Trolley Square, now that we have finally moved to Hockessin from Union St.

                              -----
                              New Dragon Restaurant
                              707 Ace Memorial Dr, Hockessin, DE 19707

                              1. re: travelmad478
                                CindyJ Nov 9, 2010 06:24 AM

                                Travelmad - I've actually been to New Dragon twice for take-out, and like you, I consider it perfectly acceptable if what I'm looking for is "neighborhood Chinese." It's probably the closest place to where I live, now that King's Island in Kennett is closed. I was pretty happy with what I've had -- roast pork with snow peas was full of nice big slices of pork; the pork fried rice was exactly what I was hoping for, and I really did like the wonton soup. I also liked the egg rolls. I'm glad you mentioned the "fake crab" in the shrimp with lobster sauce because that's one of my "standards" for Chinese take-out, so I'll be sure to pass it up.

                                In addition to Hong Kong, are you also missing the energy of Trolley Square? My daughter lived there until about a year ago (N. DuPont St.), but she traded the night life of Trolley for the night life of New York City.

                                -----
                                New Dragon Restaurant
                                707 Ace Memorial Dr, Hockessin, DE 19707

                                1. re: CindyJ
                                  t
                                  travelmad478 Nov 9, 2010 07:01 AM

                                  We've only been in Hockessin since last Wednesday (well, not counting the year we've spent going out there to oversee our renovation) so it's still early days. I will definitely miss the walkability of the old neighborhood, things like being able to hoof it over to Logan House for a cheeseburger and a beer. But energy = noise also, and I have slept better in Hockessin than I ever could in Trolley Square. For one thing, there are no church bells waking me up at 6 AM every day of the week!

                                  1. re: travelmad478
                                    d
                                    danbee1 Oct 19, 2011 09:06 AM

                                    Another strong agree on the not so good Crownery. Had the worst Peking duck of my life there - fat city and not so crisp skin. Our go to stop for Americanized Chinese/Thai is Ming Village in the shopping center at intersection of Rt 1 and 202. Well prepared and really fresh ingredients. BYO but theyll comp you a beer or house wine. Try the seaweed salad or spicey tofu as an app and the mango chicken for the main. Really worth a visit. Plus any place that greets me with a warm towel to refresh my fevered brow gets my vote.

                                    -----
                                    Crownery
                                    Lantana Sq, Hockessin, DE 19707

                      2. re: amascovs
                        y
                        yankee_fan_0 Aug 24, 2010 08:14 AM

                        Gotta add my two cents regarding The Crownery as well. I've had countless bad Chinese meals in my time, but the worst I've ever had was one year ago at this horrid excuse for a restaurant.

                        I haven't yet found a good Chinese restaurant in Delaware. If I lived upstate, I'd drive the 20 minutes to Philly and eat at Schezuan Tasty House on Arch St. in Chinatown.

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                        Crownery
                        Lantana Sq, Hockessin, DE 19707

                        1. re: yankee_fan_0
                          CindyJ Aug 25, 2010 06:58 AM

                          Although I've never been, I've heard some good things about Jasmine on Rt. 202 near Pier 1. Have you ever tried it?

                          1. re: CindyJ
                            t
                            travelmad478 Aug 25, 2010 07:05 AM

                            Jasmine is not actually Chinese, but "pan-Asian" as they call it, with Japanese, Thai, and Korean dishes as well. I spent 8 years working right up the road and ate there many, many times for lunch. I thought the food was actually pretty decent, but only as good as a pan-Asian restaurant can be--that is, never as good as a restaurant that actually focuses on doing one cuisine well. I would not call it particularly adventurous from a flavor or cuisine perspective. That said, it was a vastly better option for lunch than the hordes of crappy chain restaurants that populate that area.

                          2. re: yankee_fan_0
                            g
                            gfweb1 Nov 16, 2010 04:55 AM

                            Things are better there lately. New chef , I expect. But still not up to Philly grade.

                          3. re: amascovs
                            m
                            MrRuffles Aug 24, 2010 09:04 AM

                            Can't say I would ever call Mikimoto's amazing - decent sushi and Asian fusion but there's better to be had nearby.

                            And I would only go to Szechuan for the Chinese menu - the owners consider the Americanized "Chinese" food as nothing more than fast food. I think that and the buffet help to provide a steady income but their real passion is the genuine cuisine.

                            1. re: MrRuffles
                              scoopG Aug 24, 2010 05:21 PM

                              They have Americanized Chinese food because that is what sells. Besides, the owners are not even from anywhere close to Sichuan. They are from Dongbei - China's Northeast.

                              1. re: scoopG
                                m
                                MrRuffles Aug 25, 2010 08:49 AM

                                They just kept the name Szechuan when they bought the place. It was probably easier to keep the name than risk confusing the cash cow Delaweenians who come in for the buffet and Chinese-American fare.

                          4. in bocca Aug 27, 2010 10:00 PM

                            I used to go to Szechuan quite frequently. The buffet was large, diverse and actually a pretty good value. The old owner sold the place to retire, and I have heard mixed reviews after that. I haven't had any stellar Chinese food in the area lately, but there is a good Malaysian Place in the Hunt at Louviers shopping center. It's called Pinang.

                            -----
                            Pinang
                            217 Louviers Dr, Newark, DE 19711

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: in bocca
                              scoopG Aug 30, 2010 10:38 AM

                              All deep fried non-Chinese food is their buffet. Yi Palace on 202 is the best Chinese in Wilmington - with no dreadful buffet.

                              1. re: in bocca
                                g
                                gfweb1 Nov 16, 2010 04:54 AM

                                I do like Penang. Okura is another favorite of mine. It does Japanese as well as some Chinese and Malaysian. Pad Thai is pretty tasty there. Great sushi.

                                1. re: gfweb1
                                  g
                                  gfweb1 Oct 18, 2011 09:46 AM

                                  Okura is doing a special from 10/25 to 11/1. 1 free appetizer per table and 50% off drinks. Good deal!

                                  1. re: gfweb1
                                    s
                                    sodarnhungry Oct 19, 2011 07:16 AM

                                    Okura? Chinese interpretation of Thai cuisine, and it doesn't work at all.

                                    1. re: sodarnhungry
                                      g
                                      gfweb1 Oct 19, 2011 05:53 PM

                                      No. It is a Japanese restaurant (run by Chinese). They have some Thai dishes, but not many. And I think that the place is OK.

                                      1. re: sodarnhungry
                                        sal_acid Oct 20, 2011 04:37 AM

                                        The local place that really messes up Thai food is Padi.

                                        1. re: sodarnhungry
                                          neww22DE Oct 31, 2011 11:52 AM

                                          Soybean in Pike Creek has excellent Thai Food.

                                          1. re: neww22DE
                                            k
                                            kbrownson Oct 31, 2011 03:20 PM

                                            Tasti Thai

                                            Good Thai food on Route 273 - Community Plaza Shopping Plaza.

                                            -----
                                            Tasti Thai Restaurant
                                            287 Christiana Rd, New Castle, DE 19720

                                    2. re: in bocca
                                      k
                                      kbrownson Oct 18, 2011 10:30 AM

                                      Szechuan

                                      Actually the regular menu (Chinese-American) uses all the same recipies as Victor had; they only removed the MSG. So the regular menu is the same. The buffet is almost the same except they have added some authenic Chinese dishes and Fri and Sat they add 2 additional authentic dishes. They just started a Chinese hot pot which I haven't tried yet but am anxious to try. I have been going every week for over 5 years. I love the authentic menu They are getting a lot of asian customers who order from the authentic menu. So you have buffet, regular menu, and authentic menu..

                                    3. k
                                      kbrownson Oct 18, 2011 10:24 AM

                                      Szechuan

                                      The authentic menu goes by regions rather than by chicken, seafood, etc. The Szechuan part is really, really hot but they will adjust to suit your taste. I love shreaded pork with Beiging sauce. Actually they bring the sauce back from Beiging when they travel there. Their garlic sauce on any dish (regular menu) is authentic and the best I have ever had. and They have a few authenic dishes on the buffet and add 2 additional authentic dishes Fri and Sat. Another is Asian eggplant stuffed with a mixture of shrimp and chicken with a delicious sweet sauce. Another sweet dish is shrimp (or) chicken with a cream/honey sauce topped with candied walnuts. Kung Pow chicken is authentic. Beef or shrimp with scallion sauce is also great but be sure to say no shells as the Chinese like it with shells. Hope this helps.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: kbrownson
                                        CindyJ Oct 18, 2011 03:13 PM

                                        Do they offer an English translation of the authentic menu? I asked for that at a Chinese restaurant close to where I live and from the owner's reaction, I think she considered it a weird request. I don't think it's weird at all. Maybe I want to try "authentic" Chinese food.

                                        Also, which other Chinese restaurants in the area do you enjoy?

                                        1. re: CindyJ
                                          m
                                          MrRuffles Oct 19, 2011 07:38 AM

                                          The authentic menu at Szechuan is in English - no need to ask for a translation. And it's not a separate menu, the authentic items are clearly marked on the first couple of menu pages. Additional items are found on their specials board and there are some off-menu items like soup dumplings (which are regularly found on their DIm Sum menu offered on Saturdays and Sundays).

                                          You can check out their authentic menu at their website: http://www.szechuanwilmington.com/Aut...

                                          1. re: CindyJ
                                            k
                                            kbrownson Oct 19, 2011 11:10 AM

                                            Szechuan Restaurant

                                            Yes both English and Chinese. Further up someone posted their link so you can see both their menus.

                                          2. re: kbrownson
                                            scoopG Oct 19, 2011 07:15 AM

                                            Last time I was there, the Owner and Chef were from Manchuria, not Beijing. The central feature of Sichuan cuisine is not hot, but "hot and numbing" (麻辣 má là) from the use of chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. There is no need to have to bring any “secret sauces” back from China – they are available in the USA. The typical “Beijing sauce” is called Tianmianjiang and is easily sourced here. What “authentic” dishes could possibly be found in a steam table?

                                            Tianmianjiang Suace:
                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tian_mia...

                                            1. re: scoopG
                                              k
                                              kbrownson Oct 19, 2011 11:18 AM

                                              Szechuan Restaurant

                                              I am just going by what the son, Chad told me. He said he discovered this sauce when he was in Beiging and brings some back when he goes on his summer vacation.
                                              On the buffet is Asian eggplant stuffed with chicken and shrimp in a sweet sauce, crispy chicken with peppers, peanuts, and sesame seeds, fish and squash with a sweet sauce. Fri and Sat they put out 2 more from the authentic menu.

                                              1. re: kbrownson
                                                scoopG Oct 19, 2011 01:32 PM

                                                Too many, if not all of dishes that you are mentioning are sweet. It is the rare Chinese dish that is sweet in and by itself - especially in Sichuan cuisine. What other Chinese restaurants have you eaten in over the past five years to compare to?

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