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Newark's Da Sichuan Resurfaces in Palo Alto!

Spotting the "grand opening" banner on Da Sichuan on El Camino Real in the old Mr. Chau's location, the name sounded vaguely familiar but it took me a while to place it. The Chinese name for Su Gia Restaurant in Newark that closed a few years ago was Da Sichuan. Here's my post about it.

I stopped in tonight to see if it might be the same people, and yes, the same owner and chief cook. Real Sichuan food has come to Palo Alto! The owner showed he his menu cover with Su Gia printed on it.

I'd already had dinner so didn't eat here. The menu is online and like Su Gia, the authentic Sichuan dishes are mingled in with the usual suspects at take-out heavy places. If you look at the video on the homepage, the images of the Sichuan specialties flash by. Hope the local 'hounds will check it out.

Da Sichuan
3781 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306

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    1. Melanie, what specifically would you recommend here? I will be nearby this weekend would like to try it. Thanks

      2 Replies
      1. re: jlally

        I haven't eaten there yet, just remember it from my report on Su Gia. I'd say stick to the Sichuan dishes, that's the specialty. Such as fuqi fei pian or Chongqing chicken called Manchurian chicken here. The video on the website flashes the Sichuan dishes on the screen and rattles off the names in Chinese --- that can be your guide. None of what takuhead ordered is Sichuan ... and neither are xlb... she didn't hit on anything worthwhile.

        1. re: jlally

          Traditional Sichuan dishes like:

          Water Boiled Fish/Beef/Lamb (Items B112, F510, 710)
          Double Cooked Pork (Dong Po Rou) Item P104
          Dry Sauteed String Beans (Gan Bian Si Ji Dou) Item V110
          Sichuanese Dan Dan Noodles Item N108
          Chilied Sliced Beef Marinated in Chili Sauce (Cold appetizer): Fu Qi Fei Pian Item 106

          these are just the standards to start with
          So many dishes to try here!

        2. Thanks. You're probably the only person who would have associated (1) the restaurant and (2) the operators. I followed your visit to Su Gia, so I guess I'll have to do the same here. And Mr. Chau's Palo Alto branch is gone? What a shame.

          1. We tried lunch here - not impressed - slow service - We tried the dumplings that were basically unfried potstickers - bland, very doughy - I had asked about XLB - and was told that this was a similar item on the menu....also ordered the seafood soup and requested that it be prepared spicy - very unsatisfying - teeny tiny pieces of some sort of bland white fish, and smaller almost hard to identify pieces of shrimp - no other seafood/shellfish - very stingy amount of fish. Tried the assorted veggie chow fun - kids wanted that for some reason - almost left it untouched - no flavor at all....

            Back to our old standby at R&B Seafood down the street for a quick and satisfying lunch every time....

            R & B Seafood
            2209 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306

            4 Replies
            1. re: takuhead

              Sounds like you ordered from the Mr Chau's menu.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                I tried ordering from the Chinese printed menu - but no luck - I told her that I love to try something spicy and more traditional...asked if there was a soup in that style...not even edible...and I was hungry...I agree that other two items were not the best choice to reflect their possible strengths - but really they were sub par and were mainly left uneaten..service was slow - and it was practically empty.

                I hope Cary or Melanie eats there soon and can report back if the Sichuan recommended dishes that Cary recommends is worth going back for...

                1. re: takuhead

                  I'm going to go tomorrow for lunch. Will report back.
                  Their Chinese menu is a bit more extensive including Northern and Chengdu "dimsum" dishes.

                  1. re: takuhead

                    I just went there for lunch today and the food was excellent. We ordered the water boiled fish, Chongqing chicken (manchurian chicken on the menu), cold noodles, dry sauté string bean, cold spicy chicken (koi shui ji/hau sui gai in Chinese) and westlake beef soup. Compared to Szechuan era in Cupertino and trend restaurant in mountain view, this is the best. However, stick with Sichuan food as the soup was mediocre.

                    Da Sichuan
                    3781 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306

              2. su gia was a famiy fav for a short time. food was inconsistent. some dishes good, some bad. one week it's cooked well, next week not. didn't miss it when it was gone. next to hot chili oil, msg was the most noticed ingredient.

                only other northern cooking we liked was from the henry hunan clan in frisco.

                1. oh-em-gee
                  Super stoked about reading about this. My Sichuanese coworker loved the Su-Gia restaurant.
                  I'll have to visit this location. Their menu is pretty extensive and they even have the very atypical Chinese full-page vegetarian section (using lots of fake meat products, but it's a huge step up from normal Chinese restaurants).

                  1. Thanks for pointing this out, Melanie! Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but I could have sworn this place opened under this name about a year ago. At that time though it looked like a renamed Mr. Chau's, so I didn't try anything there. Maybe these are new owners but keeping the same name on the restaurant? Or maybe I am misremembering the whole thing?

                    Anyway, I tried out one dish as a solo diner - it's the one with the top-most picture on the left-hand side of the Chinese Chef Special menu (Chinese P121). I didn't quite get the name but it was a ma la tasting chicken with delicious bean sprouts, mushrooms, and peppers. It was just the right amount of spice for me; lots of ma in particular but not too much.

                    We'll be back to try out more dishes. The waitress said that this was the one dish (including different protein variations) that wasn't on the English menu. The English menu doesn't have a section of chef's specials - they're interspersed throughout the rest of the menu - and also note that the dish numbering can be different on the Chinese and English sides of the menu. But sticking to the Sichuan dishes seems like a good plan.


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mdg

                      It appears that you are sane as the Yelp reviews go back to early last year. So it does seem to be a restaurant changing ownership, but not name.

                      1. re: mdg

                        This place is very good, very casual, very cheap. I'm glad I finally made it: I can't think of another sichuan specialist. The strong dish for me was "spicy fish filets", which was a couple of bucks more than all the other fish dishes. Huge amount of peppercorn and great ma la. I got talked into it by the waitress - shades of "you want SPICY???".

                        I had a lamb dish that was pretty good but not spectacular.

                        The chef came out and delivered the dishes, and a fork, which I kind of hated but will forgive.

                      2. My brother's been here many times and has also ordered take-out. I finally tried it a few weeks ago with him.

                        To show you how bad my Chinese pronunciation is, I'd ordered dandan mian, but what came out was zha jiang mian. I only mention it because the ZJM did not look good at all and I'd avoid ordering it intentionally. But it was replaced with no pushback from the waitress. Not that crazy about the dan dan mian either. Thickish noodles were very soft, verging on mushy. The porky topping of seasoned red oil had an out of place tartness and a sugary finish. Quite a different rendtion both in style and execution than what I remember from Newark.

                        I'd wanted to try the chongqing chicken (or whatever it's called here), but William said it would be too spicy hot for my taste (although he eats it regularly). As it turned out, the not-on-the-menu crispy intestines (chitlins) I asked for turned out to be battered the same way as the chicken would have and assaulted with as much chile pepper fire power. Here's what the chile load looked like,
                        and a view of the whole dish,
                        So fiery and complex with great depth of flavor, but not a dish that I could eat that much of due to the too-hot-for-me heat and the oily richness of the batter and intestines.

                        But the reason I'm posting is that I found one dish that I really adored. I think it's listed as #117 Sour cabbage with beef on the online menu.
                        This is a beef stir-fry with housemade pickled cabbage, just a few red chile pods, and a ton of Sichuan peppercorns. The first time I've had something like this. Tongue-numbing with the intense fragrance and flavor of hua jiao but just a little bit warmth. I loved the zingy lift and crunchy juiciness from the pickles.

                        What else have people tried here?

                        Da Sichuan
                        3781 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306