Fey - promising sichuan menlo park
I'm happy to report positively on Fey at 1386 El Camino in Menlo Park, right near Naomi Sushi (on the same side) about a block from Ducky's and Beltramos'. The restaurant was previously Tien Fu, and Tien Fu had a somewhat run down americanized look that scared me off - never tried it. Fey has a new sign - bright and cheery, so I put it on the eventual list, and that card turned up today. I like chinese take out on Sunday, and with the vacation weekend, today is virtual sunday.
Yelp's reviews were promising. There were a number of 1 and 2 star reviews from people who didn't like the mu shu or the lemon chicken. Good start.
According to Yelp, "
In the late 1990's, the most famous Chinese/Sichuan restaurant in Peninsula, and one of the most famous ones in the bay area, was Little Sichuan, located on 21st St, San Mateo. It was owned and managed by a lady from China.
At beginning of the century, it was moved to Little Sichuan on 4th St, San Mateo. The owners include the original owner, and a few other people.
During mid 2000's, the original owner left, and opened her own Classic Sichuan restaurant in Millbrae, on Millbrae Blvd.
Now, the same owner is the owner of this new Fey, and manages it by herself. I.e., you should expect the food at the same level as the original Little Sichuan or the Classic Sichuan.
I can say with my own eyes there is a very cheery older chinese woman (50's or maybe a little more?) running the show. When I picked up my togo order she said "you like spicy! all the dishes spicy! so we make it spicy." - and she tried to get me to come in sometime later, saying the food is better eaten there where it is hot. The narrow space has been revamped in a somewhat modern black and silver motif, with almost all booth seating on either side. They may not have a big round chinese banquet table - but the place is inviting. Two of Menlo Park's finest were coming out when I was going in; I'm glad it a slow night for them.
On to the food. The menu isn't quite as broad as China Village (was), but there's a big long section called (in english) "family traditional private kitchen", with things like Spicy Frog and 1000 chili chicken and dongbo pork knuckle and the like. One dish I've never seen: green tea shrimp. So a good long sichuan menu.
The cumin lamb was out of this world. Massive amount of peppercorns and ma la, maybe a hair too much salt, nice and chewy. Dan Dan Mien was pretty good, although balance could have been slightly improved, after mixing the oil and peppercorns permeated and maybe + the vinaigre a little but pretty great. I also ordered Ma Po Tofu but we didn't even touch it. Portions are much larger than Crouching Tiger - $40 of take out (with a tip) was dinner for 4.
I loved that I didn't have to order spicy. You might remember my rants - I just want it the spice level the dish is known for. This was all that. I think she's decided to just do it home style, or maybe I did get unusual treatment due to my ordering.
For a first cut - this place deserves serious visits. The meat quality is higher than Da Sichuan. Even better, it's closer to my house.
I wandered in for lunch by accident a few weeks ago. Had the Ma Po Tofu and it was great - spicy!
The interior is very nice and upscale. All of the tables are set up for a hot pot burner at each setting ( so 4 burners at a 4-top).
Looking forward to going back.
The Ma Po Tofu sat in the fridge for a few days, but this evening I had a bowl. Very, very good.
Try this place.
If this is the former owner of Classic Sichuan, I'll have to make my way down to Menlo Park to try it out.