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Nov 3, 2013 10:51 AM

Szechuan 99 in Edmonds, what's going on?

I loved going to Szechuan 99 for their special tofu dishes, but then I saw they closed for remodel. Now that they're reopened I was going to check it out until I read the recent Yelp reviews! What's happened? I read that Chef Huang is gone and management has changed. Does anyone have the scoop? I'd follow Huang anywhere for that mapo tofu!

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  1. i was just about to post!
    szechuan 99 has been sold and is now A Taste Of Sichuan.
    the chef is the chef from utah who was the first chef at Szechuan Garden that opened maybe a year ago. the menu at a taste of sichuan is very similar to his menu at szechuan garden.
    the old building has been cleaned up, new paint, new carpet. the bar is gone. it is now a private banquet room. the special taste of sichuan noodle was merely meh for me.
    the waitress could not point me to my favorite, the fiery fish stew (the one with the cabbage) on the menu.
    there are some different items on the menu so i will return to try them. next time i go, i will ask the waitress what happened to chef huang. she was head waitress at szechuan 99, then went ot szechuan garden and is now back at a taste of sichuan.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ritabwh

      Thank you so much for your reply! No spicy stew fish?! That's so sad because it was our favorite too. At least we can get a decent version at Chiang's. But that mapo tofu....I'll miss it :(

      I should be brave and check A Taste of Sichuan, but I was scared by the yelp reviews and we ended up going elsewhere. I appreciate hearing about your noodle experience. I'm glad to hear that they kept the head waitress since she is so sweet. If you do get a chance to ask her please do post what you find out!

      1. re: schnitzle

        it's been some time since i promised to report back. i just returned from lunch at szechuan garden with lots of news and a happy full tummy.

        first, to recap: (please bear with me)
        in the beginning there was szechuan 99, then szechuan garden opened sometime in january of 2013.
        turns out the young waitress from szechuan 99 is the owner of the new szechuan garden.
        there are rumors that szechuan 99 is going to be sold.
        the chef at the newly opened szechuan garden is from utah and there is a photo of he and john hunstman on the menu.
        the utah chef leaves after 6 months or so.
        one of the waitresses from szechuan 99 is working at szechuan garden and we exchange hellos.
        in the meantime, szechuan 99 closes.
        reopens in october 2013 as taste of sichuan under new ownership. the interior is recarpeted, repainted, and the bar is gone. even the restroom is painted and cleaned up. the decor is very clean and pleasant.
        and......on the new beautiful menu, the photo of the utah chef with john huntsman beams out at me.
        the waitress who was working at szechuan garden is back working at a taste of sichuan.

        the menu is very similar to the menu at szechuan garden when it first opened. szechuan garden has a new menu. i wonder if the utah chef actually "owned" the menu?
        unfortunately none of the wait staff at a tastet of sichuan are fluent enough in english to answer my questions about the food. i was even told incorrectly that there is no dish similar to fiery fish stew. i found out on my second visit the dish is now called fish fillet in chili sauce.
        i asked if the chef was from szechuan garden and no one could give me an answer or they pretended not to understand. :-)

        i went to a taste of sichuan 4 times, and each time was disappointed in different ways. my main problem was the language barrier.

        in the meantime, szechuan garden was having it's own problems. i did not care for the food cooked by the new chef. the original waitstaff who were young, professional and could explain the dishes were gone replaced by a staff that appeared to be someone's family member wearing sweat shirts and low hung jea who kept insisting on speaking chinese.

        i stopped going to both establishments about 4 months ago.

        today, i had such a hankering for the spicy beef stew noodle soup, i stopped by szechuan garden, and i am so happy i did so.
        there is a new chef now, the third one.. and it is.......ta-daaaaaaaa----chef huang from szechuan 99.
        the waitstaff has turned and everyone seems to be able to communicate with non-chinese patrons and actually knows the menu.
        there are some new items added to the menu. chef huang has introduced his housemade soft tofu curds to the menu!

        so, it's back to szechuan garden for me. i will continue to check on a taste of sichuan but i am not going to bet on them. it is too bad as the owners are very nice people but i think they need to take a hard look at the waitstaff. the last time i was there, i ordered dan dan noodles and got something completely different. no ground pork. the waitress from szechuan 99 tried to tell me this is what dan dan noodles are, but i know the difference.

        i was told the chef from utah left a taste of sichuan about a month after the grand opening. it is a shame because he really was a good cook.

        how do i know this? i developed a pretty good rapport with the young waitress at szechuan 99. i was not afraid to try something new and she would help me choose dishes. i liked and trusted her recommendations and i would go there about every other week.
        so when i saw she was the owner of szechuan garden, we continued to talk and shoot the breeze and managed to pick up bits of news from her.

        hope this helps.

      2. re: ritabwh

        Interestingly, "A Taste of Sichuan" is the name of the restaurant in Portland (well, nearby Beaverton) opened by the owners of Bamboo Garden.

      3. Where would you get your second-best mapo tofu?

        I used to have a favorite --from a restaurant on Lake City Way. It was called Golden Fortune or something like that. Run by an older couple from Taiwan. She was out front, he was in the kitchen, with just one other person. They did everything from scratch. You could see into the kitchen. Sadly, they retired long ago. It's been what I think is a popular Thai restaurant now for a long time (Phayathai).

        1 Reply
        1. re: BMooey

          It's so sad when we lose a favorite restaurant isn't it?!

          My second favorite would be at Seven Star Pepper. :)