Long's Chinese Food (Calgary): Real Sichuan on 17th!
1448 17th Ave SW has been a lot of things since we moved to Calgary more than 10 years ago. It was a western-style Chinese place, a Nepalese place, a sushi place, most recently it was Thai Bistro, and now it's Long's Chinese Food. A foodie friend gave it a huge recommendation after getting takeout from there on its first day and we tried it last night.
First thing: They're doing great business, amazing if you consider that I never once saw a customer at Thai BIstro when I'd pick up orders there. We had dinner there and it was packed with what looked like Chinese people. The menu is Sichuan- no ginger beef or chicken with broccoli in sight. It's a little intimidating because there's tons of organ meat, weird-sounding proteins (like duck neck soup) and even frog (not sure if this is frog legs or what) but we love spicy food and ended up with the diced chicken with peanuts, tofu with minced pork, and the spicy cucumbers with garlic. It was all AMAZING. Service was surprisingly quick considering how busy the place was and for two of us we actually ordered too much food. Bill came to around $35 with a large order of rice..
I can't believe a place like this has opened on 17th- and a not very busy part west of 14 St- instead of in Chinatown or up north in a more Chinese neighbourhood but we'll take it! I've only eaten here once but I can already say it might nudge out Han's as my favourite Chinese in Calgary.
Got dan dan noodles for lunch today- excellent. I had had this in Vancouver at a couple of places and it always sort of resembled a soup whereas Long's version is spaghetti type noodles with a sauce of minced pork and chili and some fried what look like soybeans or some sort of tiny peanut at the bottom of the bowl. I LOVED it but remarked that I was used to it looking like soup and the server, who is from Sichuan, said absolutely should not look like a soup :-)
Just tried Long's last evening. I'm also amazed (and delighted) that a restaurant with a real Szechuan menu has opened in this area of town.
I had the spicy chicken with peanuts, cumin scented beef with peppers and onions, dan dan noodles and spicy fried cabbage along with rice. The order amounted to about $50.
I will say that the flavours were amazing although some of my food (specifically the cumin beef) was overly greasy and the heat literally had me pouring sweat.....and I absolutely love spicy food. I could handle it, but the heat was simply too much for a couple of people I was dining with. I think the issue was that literally every dish I ordered was a spicy one so there was never a cooling/contrasting bite. I give them major credit for not dumbing down the spice for the North American palate but be forewarned if you are sensitive to spicy foods......they use a mother load of dry roasted chillies!
There are a ton of items I'd still love to try on their menu