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New Chinese (Sichuan) in Acton

h
hargau May 23, 2010 05:01 PM

Tried a new place tonight, been open less than a month i think.
http://spicepeppergarden.com/services
They say they specialize in Sichuan but there seems to be less sichuan selections on the menu than other sichuan restaurants. We thought maybe there was a secret/chinese menu but after asking a few times all we got was a wine list! Everything we tried we decent. The chicken with red hot peppers was the highlight of the meal.
Still some service issues to work out but overall nice to have another option out here in the burbs.

  1. chickendhansak May 23, 2010 06:09 PM

    That's huge for Acton. Thanks for pointing it out. Will check it out soon.

    14 Replies
    1. re: chickendhansak
      h
      hargau May 24, 2010 04:34 AM

      Dont forget there is also Sichuan at Asian Gourmet in Concord
      http://www.asiangourmetma.com/Chinese...
      They have a much larger menu of authentic sichuan/chinese food and i think the service/quality is better at the moment anyway..

      1. re: hargau
        tatsu May 24, 2010 01:20 PM

        Had a really bad time at Asian Gourment last time, the yuba appetizer was pretty much inedible, the cook just literally dumped 2-3 teaspoons of table salt in it. Had to spit out a couple of pieces. I flagged it to the waiter, but he did nothing and was charged for it.

        I really want to like that place but the cooks are careless.

        1. re: tatsu
          h
          hargau May 24, 2010 01:50 PM

          My problem with Asian Gourmet is that its so smokey in there and you have to take a shower after eating there so you dont stink the rest of the night.

          What is Yuba? Didnt see that on the menu but want to be sure to avoid it!

          1. re: hargau
            tatsu May 24, 2010 02:01 PM

            Would of been a fine app, just careless with the salt! Yuba is bean curd skin, it's kind of yellow, like a tougher rice wrapper. It's a by-product of tofu making.

            The menu there is very authentic almost uncompromising really. (Disregarding the separate Chinese-Am. menu.) I'll give it another go someday, but I'm going to be a little more demanding.

            I guess you are referring to the hibachi with the smoke, huh? I've only been for lunch a few times so I haven't been smoked out.

            It's a pretty quirky place, townhouse in the middle of no-where, doing 4 things, sushi, hibachi, chinese-am, and sichuan. And 2 separate names, one of which is recently changed. So weird!

            I haven't tried the sushi upstairs and probably won't unless someone says it's great, which I can't imagine it is.

            1. re: tatsu
              h
              hargau May 24, 2010 02:22 PM

              Yea i have only been for dinner fri/sat nights so there are usually hibachi customers and its as if they dont turn the fans on sometimes!

          2. re: tatsu
            b
            bostonron May 24, 2010 03:23 PM

            I've been to Asian Gourmet 6 or 7 times and always had a good meal.
            Service was always good, the waiter always gave us good recomendations.

          3. re: hargau
            cannedmilkandfruitypebbles May 25, 2010 06:27 AM

            Can you tell me the best options for lunch? This thread has me thinking i need to head over there today.

            1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles
              h
              hargau May 25, 2010 06:51 AM

              The "best" option is Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica but stay far away from the americanized items and the lunch "specials"

              -----
              Sichuan Gourmet
              502 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821

              1. re: hargau
                cannedmilkandfruitypebbles May 25, 2010 08:34 AM

                I was actually looking for Recos for Asian Grourmet. It's fairly close to where i work.

                1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles
                  h
                  hargau May 25, 2010 09:30 AM

                  For Asian Gourmet they have a seperate "authentic chinese" menu/menu section. we usually order exclisively off it and have had good luck

              2. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles
                cannedmilkandfruitypebbles May 25, 2010 11:19 AM

                Went to Asian Gourmet for lunch. Had the double cooked pork and it was fantastic.

                1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles
                  chickendhansak May 25, 2010 11:55 AM

                  Well, all this about Asian Gourmet is tempting me out that little bit further. But I went to Spice Pepper Garden yesterday and ordered the kung pao chicken lunch and asked for it spicy. Better than average, to be sure, and quite tasty. Compared to the Fuchsia Dunlop recipe it seemed very low on the Sichuan peppercorn (none at all perhaps) and fairly high on the Chinkiang vinegar taste, but a good amount of red chile pepper.

                  For $8.50 you get a plate with steamed rice and the chicken, no extras like soup or spring rolls, but I was happy without.

                  For sure it's unlikely to be a destination, but as someone looking for lunch options in Acton, I feel it might be a good addition to a fairly mundane range of existing choices.

                  1. re: chickendhansak
                    tatsu May 25, 2010 12:27 PM

                    I was being a little harsh on Asian Gourmet because of them dumping salt into one appetizer, but I do believe there is a lot of potential there. Like I said the menu is very "advanced" for american tastes. Lots of pickled mustard greens, kidneys, tripe, etc.

                    Take a look at the "Authentic" Chinese lunch menu for example. I am certain most Americans would not dare order half of it.

                    http://www.asiangourmetma.com/files/A...

                    1. re: chickendhansak
                      h
                      hargau May 25, 2010 01:36 PM

                      we got the chicken with red peppers at Spice Pepper Garden and there were ALOT of sichuan peppercorns in that dish and it was quite spicy. So if your craving them, give that one a try.

            2. d
              Dinsdale45 May 24, 2010 11:17 AM

              My Chinese friends who live in the area still say nothing compares to Sichuan Gourmet. One said that the food they ordered at Asian Gourmet was not the food that was served, whatever that means. The word is that Spice Pepper Garden makes better Americanized dishes. I'm sure both places are an uptick from the standard Chinese fare we get around here, though. They get extra points for trying.

              -----
              Sichuan Gourmet
              502 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821

              3 Replies
              1. re: Dinsdale45
                h
                hargau May 24, 2010 11:29 AM

                no argument that SG is the best in the area but the other 2 are good to have around for a change, plus they are closer to where I am. S.G. is a bit of a haul. We also put SIchuan Palace in the rotation too. Our favorite for Sichuan is still S.G.

                1. re: Dinsdale45
                  r
                  robertlf May 24, 2010 05:42 PM

                  This restaurant replaced the old Ginger Court which wasn't very good. I don't know if there are new owners or not but it would be hard to beat Sichuan Gourmet and given my last experience, I would hesitate to even try this place.

                  -----
                  Sichuan Gourmet
                  502 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821

                  Spicepepper Garden
                  36 Great Rd, Acton, MA 01720

                  1. re: robertlf
                    h
                    hargau May 24, 2010 06:20 PM

                    last experience with what? ginger court?

                    again, not trying to "beat" S.G. but its nice to have a bit of variety and we dont always want to drive to Billerica.

                2. i
                  InmanSQ Girl Jun 14, 2010 09:00 AM

                  I just went for the first time to Spicepepper Garden in Acton, MA and was really quite impressed. Suburban Chinese Restaurants are usually known for their sub-par quality and Americanized offerings versus their Boston counterparts, but Spicepepper is a wonderful exception! The freshness of the produce being used, the authentic range of dishes offered on the menu, and the skill in the execution could hold it's own any of it's city counterparts.

                  Food:
                  We ordered the Wonton Soup, Shrimp Spring Roll, Steamed Peking Dumplings, Mushu Duck, Seafood Delight, and the Hand Carved Whole Eggplant topped with Garlic Sauce (sort of). All of the dumplings are clearly made by hand on site - the Peking were very flavorful and not fatty and boring at all ( as Peking ravs can sometimes be). The Mushu Duck was a highlight of the evening. The veggies were wonderfully fresh with just the right little coating of sauce ad the duck was perfectly tender. Mushu can be drowned and wimpy in the wrong hands, but the chef was spot on. The Seafood delight came is a wonderfully tasty Sichuan Sauce ( they toned down the heat for our table upon request) with just the right amount of kick and on a bed of thin noodles that sopped up the sauce wonderfully. Again the seafood was clearly fresh and cooked beautifully ( nothing over or underdone, which is always hard with mixed seafood). My personal favorite dish was the eggplant. The menu says whole carved eggplant, but when our waitress saw the size of our group and that we were sharing, she offered to have the kitchen cut the eggplant into bite size strips and toss it with the garlic sauce. This resulted in a really flavorful dish as the eggplant got soft, but not too soft and soaked up all the really tasty and again slightly spicy sauce.

                  If you like heat, I think the kitchen can deliver, but they are also good at ratcheting down the Sichuan heat without removing too much for guest that request as well.

                  Atmosphere:
                  The outside looks like a total drive by ( I thought it was a bar at first). Inside is simple, but nice, with white walls and dark shiny wood tables. Very clean and bright, comfortable to sit down for a leisurely dinner at, but nicely casual enough to grab a quick bite when you want too.

                  The prices are a tiny bit higher than your average Chinese takeout, but the quality is a world away. We just moved to the area from Cambridge and were worried we'd have to travel back into the city for good Chinese. Our worries were clearly unfounded and I expect to become a regular at Spicepepper over the coming months. YAY!

                  -----
                  Spicepepper Garden
                  36 Great Rd, Acton, MA 01720

                  1. k
                    khandha Jun 14, 2010 02:20 PM

                    I had a very good lunch there today. Twice cooked pork was very good, if not, perhaps, as special as the version at SG Framingham. However, the dumplings in spicy red sauce were just as good as SG, the sauce had a lovely sweetness in addition to the heat. I will certainly be sampling their other offerings.

                    1. h
                      hargau Aug 26, 2010 06:50 AM

                      Went again a few weeks ago and didnt like it at all. Found the dumplings to be tough/rubbery as if out of the freezer section. Dan Dan noodles seemed like prince spaghetti... Chicken dish we got was nothing special either. Dont think we will be back.

                      1. Ferrari328 May 10, 2012 11:22 AM

                        I haven't been here since my Ma Po Dofu adventures a while back but decided to try it again. Had the Spicy Pork Rib Noodle soup, first time I have seen it spicy, and I really liked it. God amount of heat and really nice noodles.

                        http://thedailylunch-woburn.blogspot....

                         
                        1. Ferrari328 May 15, 2012 10:57 AM

                          Went back today to try some different dishes. Tried the Dan Dan noodle and it had a good amount of heat and Tianjin preserved vegetable mixed in with the pork. Would have preferred a sturdier noodle but overall it was OK.
                          The winner today was the Bacon Slices in Spicy Garlic Sauce.

                          http://thedailylunch-woburn.blogspot....

                           
                          1. Ferrari328 Aug 8, 2012 01:28 PM

                            Went back today to try another lunch dish. With lunch you get an appetizer and a soup except when you order soup! On the menu this is called Zha Jiang Pork Noodle Red Oil Soup. It's a fairly common dish, noodles with ground pork and veggies and chili oil. Noodles was cooked nicely and the soup underneath that oil slick was very nice and crystal clear.
                            I also ordered Bacon Slices in Spicy Garlic Sauce to go for dinner. Can't wait!

                            http://thedailylunch-woburn.blogspot....

                             
                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Ferrari328
                              s
                              ScotchandSirloin Aug 8, 2012 01:33 PM

                              Are you noticing any Sichuan peppercorn numbingness in any dishes?

                              1. re: ScotchandSirloin
                                Ferrari328 Aug 9, 2012 05:09 AM

                                Not in the dishes that I have had recently but I remember the MaPo Dofu as having them.

                                1. re: Ferrari328
                                  h
                                  hargau Aug 9, 2012 07:11 AM

                                  since i started this thread 2 years ago, I have been back a few times and really didnt like the place at all. The dan dan noodles we got last time i swear was spaghetti out of a box with a little oil on it.. dumplings straight from the freezer section, etc... Now when we dont feel like going to Billerica we have been going to Asia Gourmet at the concord rotary

                                  1. re: hargau
                                    w
                                    Walthamfoodman Aug 9, 2012 12:45 PM

                                    Why not Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica?
                                    Asia Gourmet ..tight booths with no real feel to encourage new customers which the staff are aware are new to Asia Gourmet and make no effort to providing a welcoming experience.

                                    1. re: Walthamfoodman
                                      h
                                      hargau Aug 9, 2012 01:03 PM

                                      We go to S.G. in bilerica several times a month, sometimes weekly. But we dont always feel like driving that far, waiting so long for a table and being in such close quarters.. the middle tables at S.G. are as if you are sitting with strangers at your table!

                                      1. re: Walthamfoodman
                                        tatsu Aug 9, 2012 02:49 PM

                                        Asian Gourmet is way better than Concord deserves, really.

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