HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >


Sichuan Cottage Marlboro

Grand opening this week in the plaza with the post office in it on rt 79. As usual, I had to try it right away, but for a change I'm glad I did.

I went for lunch and decided to try an order of soup dumplings and a lunch special. Well, the soup dumplings and the wonton soup that came with the lunch special were both ordinary so I didn't have high hopes for the rest of my food. Fortunately I ordered a Sichuan dish called Chicken with 3 Peppers. This was really good, bordering on great. A real Sichuan dish like I haven't had in a long while. The plate was good sized, loaded with bite sized pieces of chicken and so many peppers. There were fresh jalapeno, dried red chinese peppers and a liberal use of hot pepper oil. By the time I finished I was sweating, wiping my runny nose, and trying to feel my tongue, and loving it.

I hope that the rest of the Sichuan dishes on the menu are as good as that one and I plan on trying some soon. If anyone else locally loves the heat like I do, help me out and post about it. I have my fingers crossed that dishes like Fresh Bacon and Leek in Sichuan Hot Sauce live up to this one.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Nice, I might have to try this!

    i just got back from vegas. One of my clients took me to China town for some "real" Schezuan food. He is from China. I was the only non asian guy there and the menus aren't even in English. I had some frog legs, for the first time, and a bunch of other great dishes he ordered for the table. I am definitely into this style of Chinese! its much different than the watered down flavoring at most local chinese spots.

    Would you say this is more "authentic" Chinese style than most places?

    14 Replies
    1. re: corvette johnny

      Not at all. Like any smart local chinese resto they have the usual americanized stuff on the menu. But, there are quite a few dishes in the Sichuan section, and I am hoping those are all as good as mine was today. I look forward to your review and I'm sure you will compare it to your Vegas experience.

      As far as what authentic means, I still have no idea. There was another recent thread that argued the point. Personally I like the food at Temple and Peking Pavillion as much as Shanghai Bun and Westlake locally. I also had an amazing meal at Mission Chinese in NYC recently and my Chinese companion, who also enjoyed his dinner, told me that the food was not at all like anything he had ever eaten anywhere in China. Go figure.

      1. re: seal

        Are you telling me we have an actual Sichuan restaurant in Monmouth county? I am SO STOKED!!

        1. re: joonjoon

          Sitting in this place right now as I type this, because someone at an event I'm attending doesn't know what "gluten sensitive" means. Was going to get the soup dumplings, but alas, the wrappers are made of wheat. Ordered off the Sichuan menu, double sautéed pork, no rice. Will let you all know how it is/was. Shoulda come here first, kinda wish I had ordered the spicy beef casserole. :)

          1. re: MarlboroMan

            This dish was great! It was subtitled as "fresh bacon with leek in hot Sichuan sauce". I ordered it medium. It was spicy enough for me. There were fresh jalapenos in it.. I avoided most of them.

            At first, I thought the prices were kind of high. But after receiving the dish, I thought the amount of meat in it was more than fair. It also tasted "homemade" and not at all like typical Chinese food.

            Dining room was mostly filled. Kinda glad my dinner was botched up.. this was a nice time!

            1. re: MarlboroMan

              There's no soy sauce in that dish?

              1. re: MGZ

                I always forget about that. Yeah it was pretty salty. My guts were hurting this morning but I figured it was the spiciness. Guess I Need to be more careful.

                1. re: MarlboroMan

                  I have a cousin who has trouble with gluten, but loves spicy Chinese food. I'm always on the lookout for her.

                2. re: MGZ

                  Pic of double sautéed pork from Sichuan Cottage in Marlboro.

                3. re: MarlboroMan

                  Looking at Page 2 of the online menu (http://www.sichuancottage.com/#!page-...) I can't help but be curious about the few selections that are listed with absolutely no English descriptions (#902, #942 & #943)...

                  1. re: equal_Mark

                    Well, whatever they are, they're probably what my husband will order when we go, as his rule is "always order what is not translated".

                    1. re: equal_Mark

                      The characters are really hard to read but I think #902 is Spicy Rabbit and #942 is some sort of hot fried intestines, perhaps with green peppers. The first two characters for #943 mean "hot fried" and the last means "flower". Can't read the third one.

                      The Chicken with 3 Peppers dish mentioned above is of course titled that on the menu in English, but the Chinese characters are actually "3 Cup Chicken" and that is what it is traditionally called.

                      1. re: kamiosaki

                        So.. 1 Chicken, 3 Cups? :)

                        Who wants to go in on an order of hot intestines with me?

                        1. re: MarlboroMan

                          Never mind - it is 3 Pepper Chicken. I misread it. The other ones I am still pretty sure of.

                          There is actually a 3 Cup Chicken, and it has hot peppers in it.

                        2. re: kamiosaki

                          #902 and #942 sound right according to what Mark got from THE EATER'S GUIDE TO CHINESE CHARACTERS by James D. McCawley (ISBN 0-226-55591-7). #943 seems to be "Fire Pepper Cashew Kidney" or something like that.

            2. Wish I had seen your post earlier. Swung by Shanghai Bun earlier today to find they are closed on Tuesdays (not the first time, nor the last that I will forget this). Will definitely check this place out.

              1. ooh, ooh, ooh!!! Do you have the address? I don't know where the post office in Marlboro is. Would LOVE to try it! Thanks!

                  1. Is this it? I couldn't find a menu maybe someone else can.
                    My husband loves spicy and will be thrilled. I can not handle any spice, so hopefully there will be something thing for me too, otherwise I'll just be starving as he smiles!

                    If I can only get past Shanghai Bun we'll try it. I am so addicted to that place. It offers menu items we love for both our tastes and we haven't found any place we like as much. It would be so nice to go somewhere else at least once in a while! I am unfortunately my own worst enemy!

                    Thanks for the great post Seal!

                    Sichuan Cottage
                    8 S Main St
                    Marlboro NJ 07746
                    (732) 577-8146

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: EL7

                      Wow, this one slipped completely under my radar, and I live in Marlboro! Oh well, been in Jacksonville for the past week, (and still here!).. just starting to catch up. Will put this place on my go to list for sure!

                      1. re: MarlboroMan

                        Went back to pick up take out for dinner last night. This is getting weird. Starting with the mediocre, we had an order of boneless spare ribs, an order of chicken in garlic sauce, and an order of shanghai rice cakes and they were all less than average. I may have to give up ordering anything but Sichuan dishes there.
                        So, on to the good. We got a Spicy Beef Stew Casserole. Nice sized pieces of beef belly and leeks over a bed of glass noodles all in a good amount of sauce that was full of hot oil. I liked this a lot.
                        Scoresheet - 2 for 2 on the Sichuan dishes and 0 for 5 on everything else. Looking forward to a second opinion on this as I know I can be very picky.

                    2. seal, I want to thank you very much for writing about this place. My husband and I went here for lunch today and enjoyed it very much! The restaurant was surprisingly nice looking inside because I was expecting it to be a dump after seeing the parking lot outside. The first thing I noticed when I stepped into the restaurant was the papier mache "chef's hat" covering the cups on the tables. It was a paper napkin hat. I know that no one cares about this fact but it shows a little effort and I was wowed by it. Trying to learn how to make it!

                      The waiter gave us an English menu and a Chinese menu. Lunch specials were $5.95 and $6.95 and the restaurant was surprisingly busy. We ordered the Fresh Bacon Leek in Sichuan Hot Sauce and Spicy Fish Fillets and Tofu.

                      For the Bacon Leek in Sichuan Hot Sauce order, the owner said that he knew that we ordered the lunch special but he made us the dinner special and would charge us the lunch price only. This was the best order for us! The plate had several slices of pork belly with plenty of leeks and scallions. There was fresh jalapeño (with seeds intact). The spiciness doesn't hit till later. My husband was cascading in sweat. What a hot look! I didn't taste the spiciness at all!

                      The Spicy Fish Fillets with Tofu (which was from the Chinese menu) was swimming in red sauce. Tofu was silky soft. Total lunch price was $14.90 with tax. Service was very friendly. Can't wait to go back again!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wench31

                        Cannot wait to try it! Fresh jalapeno's? Usually when there is jalapenos you get the canned "pickled" ones which I cannot stand. I always ask if they are the real deal. Will definitely give this place a try.

                      2. This is really a nice little find. Had lunch their on Saturday and it was quite good. First thing that surprised me is how nice the dining room look. Next thing is menu with Chinese on it which pleases me.

                        I am Chinese but am no expert in Sichuan dishes. (I am more familiar with Hong Kong/Cantonese style food.)

                        We ordered Dan Dan Noodle and Beef Stew noodle soup and a "poached chicken in garlic and scallion sauce" dish. (Sorry, can't remember the exact name of the dishes).

                        Dan Dan Noodle is excellent. The flavor is great and sweat constantly dripped from my forehead. This noodle dish is perfect for winter.

                        The poached chicken is also very good. It's shredded room temperature chicken (like Hainanese chicken) covered with a sweet, garlicky and slightly spicy brown sauce.

                        The beef noodle soup is just so-so. Shanghai Bun makes a much better one but since it is not really a sichuan dish i guess it is not their specialty. I expected it to be so-so anyway but i need to order something non-spicy & safe for my kids.

                        All in all, this is a great addition to this area. I will definitely try dinner at this place when I get a chance since there a much of dishes i would like to try.

                        If you are thinking about going to Crown Palace, give this place a try instead. Given it is completely different types of food but Crown Palace has been awful and remained awful for years (Dim sums are acceptable, dinner dishes are dog food). So if you feel like having some new and possibly better Chinese food give Sichuan Cottage a go.

                        1. have been here twice for lunch. It used to be Hot Wok, which was the very traditional no change since the early 60s American chinese. But they completely redid the place - painted the walls, new tables, new floors, etc. It looks great!
                          The soup dumplings may not be as good as at Shanghai bun, but they are pretty good nevertheless. Had yellow curry chicken (not obviously on menu, but my daughters love the yellow curry so we asked and they made). had the fish with tofu (yum), and we saw that they have mapo tofu. Haven't tried that yet, but for next time.
                          We really hope this place makes it, as it is quite different from what's locally available, with good stuff.

                          1. Nice! We ordered xaio lon bao which as someone wisely said not SB, but decent enough, different might better describe them. Cold sesame noodles, which were very good and a spicy seafood dish which hubby said was spicy but no flavor, and a tofu and fish fillet dish which my friends liked. So mixed reviews, but all agreed worth going and we definitely will go again to try different items. Looks hopeful and promising.
                            The place was pretty and warm. Someone asked for a "winterized" place to try this is it, and the food is good. For a first visit I find it hard to compare to favorite places, if a place is good on a first try then I believe new favorties can be worth finding. I will be back and I am not a spicy fan so for me to find food I like here was quite pleasing.

                            1. went tonight for dinner (Saturday evening), around 8:30 pm. All tables were occupied. Mapo Tofu was good - not as spicy as I've had in NYC (at Mapo Tofu), but good nevertheless. Shrimp curry (thai) was good. Fish fillet in black bean sauce tasty. Mixed vegetables in garlic sauce also good.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: rikk

                                We went in a group of five tonight and while the food was very good, the service left a lot to be desired. It was clear we were not all sharing all the dishes, but they came out sequentially (with large gaps between), meaning Mark and I were halfway through our Spicy Beef Stew when our friend Lamb with Cumin Flavor came out. We didn't have this problem for just the two of us last time, but I'd hesitate to bring a large group here.

                                1. re: eleeper

                                  OK... I hit this place today for lunch.. not impressed, and a little pissed off.. but I will try again next week.

                                  My daughter has a music class nearby on Thursdays.. it ends at about 11:30.. so lunch is a good idea.

                                  Sat down, got a high chair for my daughter.. and I was brought a bowl of crispy noodles and a smaller bowl of neon orange "duck sauce." After I place my order off the lunch menu (Thai Curry Shrimp), I notice an Asian gentleman across from me. He sits down, and is brought two small dishes.. one consisting of pickled vegetables, and another of.. well, I don't know, but it looked interested. He is handed a pair of chopsticks. I was not. I was handed a fork.

                                  An average Joe walks in. He gets the noodles and sauce. An Asian couple walk in. They get the two small bowls as well.

                                  So.. either I have to be Asian, or.. well, I will try again next week.. but next week I will ask.. please bring me what you bring the Asian customers.. and I will eat it. And please bring chopsticks.

                                  Oh, and there are two lunch menus.. one with basic Chinese dishes (and two Szechuan dishes.. it was from here I ordered Thai Curry Shrimp.. which was good, but not great), and on the flip side of that menu, a lot of Chinese characters. I took pictures of both sides and will post them here momentarily.. what I would like is for someone to translate (or maybe I will try Google translate), so I can see if the other side is different (i.e, better!) than the standard side.

                                  1. re: MarlboroMan

                                    I have to say that I have been disappointed with anything I've had there that is not Sichuan. I still get the 3 pepper chicken, pork belly with leeks, and the spicy beef casserole for take out now and then and I really enjoy them all, but even the egg rolls from the other part of the menu are just meh.

                                    As for the different snacks for westerners and Asian clientele, I've seen that for years in most of the more authentic Chinese restaurants so I don't take offense and I have asked for pickles and sticks.