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Chilli Garden?

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nyc_to_ma Dec 3, 2013 01:02 PM

I can't find a recent post on Chilli Garden in Medford Square - I think the most recent is from 2008.

I live nearby but have never been - what should I order? I know to stick to the Szechuan side of the menu, but that's it. I have no idea what the difference is between Dry Diced Chicken With Green Peppers, Chicken With Three Kinds Of Peppers, or Shredded Chicken With Green Peppers (for example). I'm okay with spicy, but want to avoid the spiciest things on the menu.

  1. d
    dlieb Dec 5, 2013 03:53 AM

    I find Chili Garden to be generally fantastic. In fact, it is probably my favorite Sichuan food in the Boston area. Two standouts are worth a mention: their chicken w/ house-made pickles and their mapo tofu.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dlieb
      KWagle Dec 5, 2013 07:23 PM

      I don't get there as often as I like, and it's hard to claim I have a favorite place, but I do think there's more subtlety to their flavoring than any of the other places in the area.

    2. j
      joth68 Dec 4, 2013 02:41 PM

      Chili Garden is great. I miss living nearby.

      Cilantro & Pepper Salad
      Beef Toungue with Peppercorn oil (not spicy)
      Shredded pork tripe with chili oil
      Dan Dan noodles
      Double cooked pork belly
      Ma Po Tofu

      2 Replies
      1. re: joth68
        s
        Swankalicious Dec 4, 2013 06:08 PM

        Chilli Garden is luscious! I agree on double cooked pork belly and mapo tofu. We're also fans of the creamy spicy shrimp. I can't find it on the menu now, but if you ask for it, they will have it.

        1. re: Swankalicious
          opinionatedchef Dec 4, 2013 11:29 PM

          swank, could you describe that shrimp dish more plse?

      2. d
        dfan Dec 4, 2013 09:48 AM

        My favorites:
        Sichuan Style Pork Dumpling
        Tender Tofu with Sichuan Pickles
        Double-Cooked Pork Belly
        House Special Chicken with Dry Pepper
        Ma Po Tofu with Minced Beef

        My wife finds the sauce that the pork dumplings are in to be a little too spicy.

        Warning: we got the Sichuan cold noodles a couple times because it was a free special through Foodler, and though they were very tasty (and spicy), we both spent a lot of time in the bathroom the next day, both times. I don't know if it's just some personal reaction, but there it is.

        3 Replies
        1. re: dfan
          jgg13 Dec 4, 2013 10:04 AM

          I get those noodles with every Foodler order ere due t the special and we've never had such issues. I do enjoy those noodles. It's not uncommon for those to end up being the spiciest thing they give us (going back to very little is truly hot)

          1. re: jgg13
            Aromatherapy Dec 4, 2013 11:55 AM

            Also love those noodles, I get the version with chicken for a light lunch (no issues). That same sort of vinegar/soy/chili dressing appears in a lot of the appetizers, from the beef, tripe & tendon to the chickren & green pepper salad, and those do tend to be the spicier dishes in my experience. Heat tolerance varies so much, but I've found the chicken with 3 peppers pretty reliably very spicy. Dishes with spicy green peppers get most of the kick from the peppers, so it varies a bit. The house made sausage is pretty mild and quite good. Lamb with leeks and homemade bacon with leeks aren't spicy at all, just tasty. I also like the aromatic duck breast, which isn't spicy either.

            1. re: Aromatherapy
              opinionatedchef Dec 4, 2013 11:23 PM

              aroma, you had me at Aromatic Duck. Despite living 10 minutes away, we hadn't been to Chili Garden in years. In fact, their neon window sign is so small we drove right past it the first go tonight.
              As usual, we had to try a lot of things but we are not the fire hounds that most of you seem to be. Our results:
              Favs:
              Kung pao Tofu This was a real epiphany for me. I have never had tofu this good. It was like fried soft puffy clouds. What a shame to dominate it with mundane celery. Maybe i could ask them to sub pea greens or watercress for the celery next time. Despite the blackened red chiles, this had no heat (which is fine for us, but fyi ) This is a dish I would drive a long way for.

              Eggplant w/ Garlic - soft and silky baby ppl eggplants. Not too sweet or salty.

              Aromatic duck (nothing uniquely identifiable for flavoring but moist roasted duck half)
              (BTW, this is listed last under Szechuan Specialty Apps.)

              V Good
              Beef Chow Fun
              Crispy Chicken w/ Basil (not as crispy as fried chicken and not much basil flavor; more like salt and pepper chicken in little squigly julienne pieces )

              Not so keen:
              Wild Fern with Pork - this was tooooo hot for us. They are , however, one of the few places doing much with fern, i believe. (Mulan too. it comes pickled in plastic bags;tastes kind of woodsy and has a neat crunch to it. i've bought it at 88 iirc. The Japanese call it zenmai.)

              Bamboo Shoot with Sesame Oil- what a pretty dish- they shave it like wide white noodles. Very fresh and tender.I think I just don't care for the vegetable, but it can be a nice refreshing complement to the spicy dishes.

        2. jgg13 Dec 4, 2013 05:45 AM

          I don't think you really need to worry about the spiciness of it, nothing I've ever ordered has exceeded the 'mild burn' category.

          Just looking over my foodler records, some of the things I've been ordering a lot lately:

          sichuan dumpling
          thick noodles with cold chili sauce
          tender tofu w/ sichuan pickles
          ma po
          house special chix w/ dry diced peppers
          beef w/ napa and chili powder (this is water cooked beef)
          pork w/ leeks & sichuan bean sauce
          pork in vinegar & sweet sauce

          2 Replies
          1. re: jgg13
            e
            erfer007 Dec 5, 2013 02:42 PM

            If you don't think anything there is too spicy, I'm guessing you haven't tried the "wonton soup with chili sauce and vinegar"? I have a very high tolerance for spiciness, but it even makes me cough. It's delicious though- full of garlic, black vinegar, and a thick chili oil layer on top. Also love the chicken with mustard greens (pickled) and green pepper. They are by far my favorite Szechuan restaurant.

            1. re: erfer007
              jgg13 Dec 5, 2013 04:53 PM

              We get that it with nearly order, I find it to be sweet, really.

              I'm not saying that nothing has heat but I've yet to have anything there Really Hot, but outside of ECG hell nights that rarely happens around here.

              A telltale sign is when mrs jgg13 hiccups. Id say once every few orders she'll hiccup, often from the cold noodles.

              I prefer the bellerica Sichuan gourmet but this is my 2nd favorite

          2. e
            Edokko Dec 3, 2013 04:42 PM

            Most of my favorites there are quite spicy (like ma po tofu), but one non-spicy item I highly recommend is the appetizer, bamboo shoots with sesame oil. These are fresh bamboo shoots, not canned ones. My wife, who is not into super spicy, likes the crispy chicken with basil leaves and fish fillet with mustard green soup. The Sichuan style pork dumplings are not TOO spicy and are quite good. My kids can handle those.

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