Jing Chuan- A New Schezwan Star in Hazlet!!
I was lucky enough to attend the Chowhound meet up at this wonderful restaurant yesterday with an excellent group of spicy food lovers, Taste Test, Evelyn and Mark, (Mr and Mrs Name Tag), Tapas52 and the spice master himself, the world famous Equal Mark!
The company was terrific as we were all drawn here for the same reason: Our love for food, especially spicy Schezwan style food.
We had a wonderful table in the back of the restaurant and the owner took fantastic care of us. Here is a cut and paste of our menu selections from Taste Test's post about our lunch from another thread along with my thoughts on the food:
Sichuan Pork Dumplings- These are house made and wonderful!
Dan Dan Noodles- I think our crowd agreed these were good but not fantastic.
Steamed Juice Bun (on menu) "soup dumplings"- Xio Long Bao: The version presented here were out of this world. They are made fresh in house. The skin was thin and the broth wonderful!
Bang-Bang Chicken: This was amazing! Spicy, with perfect texture, this dish was the star of our first course.
Ox Tendon: This dish, suggested by Taste Test herself was awesome..chewy, a little gamy, spicy, yummy!
Ants Climbing a Tree: Every table seems to have this clear noodle dish on their table, and for good reason. Delicate light noodles infused with Schezwan spices, this noodle dish was wonderful!
Spicy Volcano Chicken- Served on a dish that's been constantly heated by a flame beneath, this chicken dish had tons of not only chicken, but vegetables and mushrooms.
Sliced Lamb with Cumin- If you don't like the flavor of Cumin, don't order this one....infused with cumin flavor, the lamb was tender as could be. The funny thing about this dish was, it was sneaky spicy...the spice actually crept up on you.
Pea Shoots: When we finished ordering our mains, the owner suggested we needed a vegetable to go with what we ordered. These pea shoots with a lot of garlic were perfect. Light, and delicious!
Sliced Angus Steak with Tofu- This dish was also selected by the owner as "her favorite dish" on the menu. The steak was ok, but the tofu on this dish was creamy and thick. Totally amazing!
Dry Sauteed Diced Chicken with Triple Pepper: When asked what the spiciest dish on the menu was, she said this was it. So of course we had to order this one too. This one sat in the middle of our table on the lazy Susan- it made us reach for it when we wanted it. First taste and it was amazing...crunchy, salty flavorful...but just not that spicy...well, not that spicy yet, until the schezwan peppers hit....this is was described at our table as mouth numbing! I loved it...and I suspect everyone at the table did too.
It was a wonderful meal with great people! I highly suggest that if you love spicy food, you get to Jing Chuan, the new Schezwan star in Hazlet.
By the way, yes they make non spicy food and American Chinese as well. But the reason to go out of your way to come here is their authentic Schezwan cuisine which is made with care, and a lot of pride. The prices are VERY reasonable for the high quality of their food.
For what it's worth, there seems to be very little overlap in authentic dishes between Jing Chuan and Sichuan Cottage. And the Dry Sauteed Chicken (Ma La Chicken) at Jing Chuan is a different dish in Chinese characters than the Three Pepper Chicken at Sichuan Cottage. (I forgot to show everyone the "Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters" book which has stood us in good stead [ISBN 0226555925].)
Clearly, we have to do at least one ChowDown at Sichuan Cottage to compare! :-)
Went back the other night. It was freezing and snowy, and the place was almost empty.
In my opinion, the xio long boa were BETTER than my favorites of Shanghai Bun. These had thin skins, with plenty of soup. They were amazing. They told me they're made in house. The ant's climbing a tree were great again, I think they made them native spicy- they were HOT!! but you could taste the noodles. Also went back for the bang bang chicken- it too was spicy as could be, but oh so delicious!!
The family that owns this restaurant is humble as could be and I think don't know how phenomenal a restaurant they have here.
Fellow Chowhounders, I urge you to support this place. It's the bomb when it comes to this type of cuisine. \
One more note: They told me many times, they could make the food non spicy.....so if you don't like spice, this place a place you should try.
We ordered take out this week from Jing Chuan after your group ventured out and raved.
We had their scallion pancakes, shrimp toast, pan fried pork dumplings, sliced lamb with cumin, ants climbing a tree (after all the raves we just had to) and the Spicy Volcano Chicken. With the exception of the shrimp toast (which was a bit too mushy) we really loved everything. Great value too.
Next time we'll eat in.