Lao Sze Chuan vs. the field
Brainstorming a return to the windy city and I am looking to weave in a meal that kicks things up on the taste buds.
Right now i am considering Lao Sze Chuan, unless any of you would advise otherwise (certainly open to suggestions). I am an LA/New Yorker, so well-acquainted with good Sichuanese.
I was wondering 1.) if the Chinatown location of Lao Sze Chuan is the most reliable/enjoyable and 2.) what dishes--given where I'm coming from--would be the most interesting, or perhaps different. ISO both well-executed staples as well as things that may be different from what I've had in the past, if they exist.
I'd recommend one of our creative contemporary Mexican restaurants. It's a local specialty, very different from anything in New York and not exactly like what you'll find in Los Angeles either. Rick Bayless's restaurants - Frontera Grill and Topolobampo - were pioneers and are still among our best. Mexique was just awarded a Michelin star. Mixteco Grill is retaining its Michelin Bib Gourmand; Mundial Cocina Mestiza had the Bib Gourmand but lost it for no discernible reason (it's still excellent). Check out the sample menus on their websites to get a better idea of what they have to offer:
If you go to Lao Sze Chuan, my favorite spicy dish is the ever-popular Tony's three-chili chicken; my favorite non-spicy dish is the mayonnaise shrimp. I've only been to the Chinatown location so I can't compare with the others.
If you are from LA/SGV then there is nothing LSC could offer that is different, much less better.