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Asian Gourmet & Spicepepper Garden redux

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These are two metro-west Sichuan leaning places that attracted some attention a year ago, and I tried them both. I found Spicepepper to be actually pretty good and Asian Gourmet bracingly, well, authentic. They are in my drive-to-eat radius, ha ha.

As it turns out, Spicepepper put most of their rotating specials on a new big menu, link is below, use Google to translate. Asian Gourmet, which was kind of hit and miss but had an authentic section, now has a new chef. Link is below as well, sorry it's a PDF, but if you use Google Chrome there's a plug-in to force PDF's to load in Google Apps, which is a *must have* if you are subjected to PDF menus like me all the time.

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

http://www.spicepeppergarden.com/menu...

If you've been in the last couple months, would love to know what you thought. These were not supposed to be on the level of Top Garden or Sichuan Garden Woburn, but certainly several steps up from typical fare.

AG has Teppenyaki curiously and SPG has sushi curiously. Gotta have your differentiators! AG has a strange, not in a good way for me, space, and SPG has about as pleasant a room given the building they got.

AG has gone through some name changes I think, and the Sushi place above is related. SPG was new last year.

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Sichuan Garden
295 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

Top Garden
1921 Main St Ste 1, Tewksbury, MA 01876

Spicepepper Garden
36 Great Rd, Acton, MA 01720

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  1. Pleco just eats those menus and web pages for breakfast.

    They do look interesting, and I'd certainly be up for trying one or both. Organise an event!

    6 Replies
    1. re: KWagle

      I have been to spicegarden 2x and AG about 5 times.

      SG- they seem to try and want to have sichuan style food included on their menu but we have been less than impressed with it. Our last visit was the final straw when our dan dan noodles i swear were just spaghetti from market basket. Not much flavor, not tasty at all. We also had some sort of "spicy" cold sichuan chicken dish that tasted like it had bullseye bbq sauce on it. The "handmade" dumplings we got seemed like the garden variety from the hmart freezer section. Chicken with dried peppers was only ok. Service poor.

      AG - This one is trickier. 1st i will say dont plan on going anywhere else after as you will need to go home and change/shower from all the smoke that can be in there from the tepanyaki. Seems the vents are not always up to standard.. Their sichuan dishes tend to be VERY oily. The bubbling beef for instance was like a huge pot of oil. Have had some ok dumplings there. The authentic kung pao is basically their dried chicken rendition. Ok but again very oily.

      We live very close to both but will always drive the extra 15-20min to billerica SG.

      1. re: hargau

        Man, you certainly rained on that picnic. :-/. Maybe I don't want to check them out after all. Thanks for the warning!

        1. re: KWagle

          lol feel free to try them. I really want to like them and hope they have improved. Plus everyones tastes and opinions differ. I would say its been at least 4-6 months since i have been to them. We live very close and could really use some good food in the area. Dont always want to drive 20-30minutes to find it.

          1. re: hargau

            After trying SP 3 times, I have given up on it. Last fall I went there with my new team from work which included some Chinese men. I asked them what was good and two of them said "sushi". At AG I have enjoyed a few dishes from the authentic menu: beef with hot pepper, pork with hot pepper, eggplant with Peking sauce, spicy green beans and baby bok choy with black mushrooms. I haven't tried many other dishes there so I stick with these.

            1. re: frond

              I have eaten at Asian Gourmet many times from the authentic menu. Some of the dishes i have had are, fish fillet in spicy sauce, spicy fried braised pork leg,shredded pork with mustard greens, beef noodle soup, and shredded pickled potato.
              I have eaten at Sichuan Gourmet,Dumpling Cafe,New Jumbo,Shangri La,Chung Shin Yuan and Peach Farm all have there own cooking style and Asian Gormet is right up there with these other restaurants.

          2. re: KWagle

            Mmm, I tried SPG and although they can be pushed to deliver authentic Sichuan sounding dishes, the talent just isn't there unfortunately. It's not mediocre, and anyone used to Sino-American fare would be delighted and introduced to new dishes, but we here have had some really great Sichuan food lately. I will venture into AG at some point. SPG is worth stopping if you are in the area however, and I would try dishes of medium difficulty, and actually, some of the crossover dishes. I am not convinced the staff is from the region in and around Sichuan.