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Jane G. v. Han Dynasty report.

I'm a huge HD fan. My family and I eat there weekly. Sundays Laban review prompted us to check out Jane G.

For comparison sake we ordered mostly what we order at HD.

Spicy Cucumber - Jane G was much spicier and less oily. Both great. Tied.

Wonton in Chili Oil - JG adds a bit of hoisin sauce which gives a sweet background to the heat. The wonton were wonderful. Excellent - Advantage JG.

Dry Pot Chicken - JG uses dark meat dusted in a light coating and flashed fried. Much more complex than the more generic white meat HD uses. They use more veg. including bok choy. Big advantage JG.

Double Cooked Fish - Very similar. JG also seemed less oily. Very Good slight advantage JG.

Chicken Lo Mein - For my son. JG makes their own noodles which are broader than the typical Lo Mein noodle. Great texture. Less greasy. Easier to eat for a child learning to use chopsticks. Definite ad. JG

Singapore Noodles - This was a Laban recommendation not served at HD. Very Good but nothing special. Happy with the choice but I would not get it again.

Overall Jane G is the new Sichuan king. Much nicer inside than any HD location. Good spot for a more upscale experience. Despite what I've read on this board the prices are very similar if not exactly the same as HD. I met Jane G. She seem anxious to get the place rolling. I will now be supporting her now.

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  1. Have you tried any of the Chinatown Szechuan places, like Four Rivers or E Mei? Also, which HD location do you normally go to? Last time I was at the Old City HD it wasn't very good, but I liked their University City location a lot last time I was there.

    1. Was there detectable szechuan peppercorn in the dry pot chicken?

      2 Replies
      1. re: barryg

        No, there were no detectable peppercorns which would sound like a deal breaker to me. However, they may use ground peppercorns. I know that HD uses ground peppercorns in some of their dishes (they give me samples to take home).
        The dry pot chicken was outstanding. Clearly better than HD.

        1. re: shoeman

          <which would sound like a deal breaker to me.>

          ? Deal breaker if they have Szechuan peppercorns or if they don't have Szechuan peppercorns?

          <they may use ground peppercorns.>

          Ground or not, you should able to taste them as long as they are there. The taste is very unique and is not something easy to miss.

      2. Thanks for the review! I LOVE spicy food, but have been hesitant to give Han a try because it all just LOOKS to oily...and I hate oily.

        Sounds like Jane G might be more up my alley, then.

        1. We ate at Jane G's last night. We're big fans of Han Dynasty, though not 'weekly' or anything like that; we've been there 3-4 times over the last 2+ years.
          Overall, I found the food to be at a similar level of deliciousness at the two places. I'd probably lean toward HD, my wife, who knows Chinese food much better, leans JG. For both of us, the two places are close enough in quality that, for a given night, location would be the deciding factor.
          It is nice to go to a Chinese restaurant with clean, spacious, multi-person bathrooms! (Not that I get a kick out of having someone else peeing at the same time as me, just that I don't like lingering outside the door or having to worry about timing). JG also has a bunch of cocktail options, which is a nice touch.
          There was also a guy singing and playing trumpet with a preprecorded background track; I could have done without that, or at least had it at a lower volume.

          1. Interesting translation of 夫妻肺片 as "Lover's Quarrel". I wonder if there's any evidence that the couple who invented the dish were unhappy. There are a few things on the menu I haven't seen before.

            http://www.janegsrestaurant.com/pdf/D...

            7 Replies
            1. re: KWagle

              <Interesting translation of 夫妻肺片 as "Lover's Quarrel">

              It is a bit odd. On the other hand, there is no good translation from the Chinese. It won't even make any sense.in English.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I think "Husband and Wife's [or 'married couple's] offal slices" is a perfectly sensible translation.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Wikipedia's article was recently amended to claim (probably correctly) that in this context 肺 (fei) shouldn't be translated as "lung" but as generic offal.

                    1. re: KWagle

                      You may know that it was originally called "夫妻廢片" which is Husband and Wife's Garbage Slices. Later, it was changed to "夫妻肺片". 肺 does mean lung, but more importantly 肺 was to replaced the original word 廢. Both words pronounced the same, but one means lung and the other one means garbage/trash.

                      I suppose one can translate it to offal since the ingredients are all about organs.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I didn't know that! You should update the Wikipedia article.

                        1. re: KWagle

                          It is already on the Chinese side of Wikipedia. It is also found in other websites too, so this is backed by several other sources as well.

            2. Thanks for nice review. I have been to Han Dynasty, but have never been (or even heard of Jane G). I have been to a couple Szechuan restaurants in Chinatown.

              As barryg has asked, have you noticed any Szechuan peppercorn? Szechuan cuisine is famous for being spicy hot, but it should just be plain hot. It has several distinctive style combinations. There is the Mala (麻辣), which is a combination of spiciness and numbness. The numbness comes from Szechuan peppercorns. There is the yuxiang (fish fragrance - 魚香), which is a spicy hot with heavy garlic and some ginger and green onion flavor.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I'm a little embarrassed I don't know for sure. The presence of S. peppercorns at HD is more apparent. As I mentioned, HD has given me samples of whole and crushed peppercorns (I use them sparingly in chili). My numbness experience varies from prominent to indiscernible at HD even in the same dishes. I eat there very often. I'm not sure it hits me the same way every time?
                At Jane G. I was pretty fired up after the wontons and cucumber.
                Taste wise the hot pots were very similar except the welcomed addition of dark meat chicken.
                BTW, HD was very willing to substitute dark for white meat during my last visit. It drastically improved the flavor.

                1. re: shoeman

                  I actually don't find Hand Dynasty uses heck a whole lot of Szechuan peppercorns to be honest. It may be out of your way, but if you ever have a chance, you should eat at E Mei to just give it a try.

                  You may find this following post interesting:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8911...

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Agree. HD doesn't have very much ma at all. And when there is a noticeable amount of peppercorn, there often still isn't very much ma to be gained. Do you think they use old or unroasted peppercorns?

                    Side note: HD has inaccurately popularized the term "hot pot" to indicate ganguo/dry-style cooking. It normally refers to huoguo/steamboat/shabushabu.

                    1. re: mookleknuck

                      <Do you think they use old or unroasted peppercorns?>

                      You know. You made a very good point. Maybe their peppercorn is a bit old. Alternatively, I have heard that there are differences of Szechuan peppercorns. Some are more powerful than others. I have not verified this, just something I heard from a Szechuan restaurant owner claiming that he needs to in-source his ingredients (especially Szechuan peppercorns) from a certain region of China. I don't know if it is really needed, or he was just self-promoting.

                      <HD has inaccurately popularized the term "hot pot" to indicate ganguo/dry-style cooking. ....>

                      I didn't know that. Thanks.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Was curious and wanted to double-check, so I talked with an HD server. The Szechuan peppercorns are directly mail-ordered from China, but the server didn't know where.

                        I had previously been told by a server at a different location that "hot pot" was actually their ganguo or "dry pot" (as listed on the menu. But this time, I was also told that the "hot pot" on their menu indicates a dish where every protein on their menu is cooked in an oily broth with chili peppers and Szechuan peppercorn and then served in a large bowl serving four people.

                        While the accounts differ, I am not interested enough in HD to try their "spicy hot pot," as I would consider neither version true hot pot.