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Szechuan restos with style

ericoperatic Jan 24, 2014 07:00 AM

Suggestions for a szechuan joint around St-Laurent/René Levesque hood with style, buzzing atmosphere and great food, any price...

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  1. SnackHappy RE: ericoperatic Jan 24, 2014 07:16 AM

    There are so few Sichuan restaurants around there. It's going to depend on what you mean by "style".

    1. z
      ZEEDAN RE: ericoperatic Jan 24, 2014 08:47 AM

      Maybe le cristal on st-laurent. Top floor with a view. Food was ok nothing more. Atmosphere was noisy, place looked kind of upscale. To bad food wasn't.

      5 Replies
      1. re: ZEEDAN
        SnackHappy RE: ZEEDAN Jan 24, 2014 10:21 AM

        Le Cristal Chinois is Cantonese.

        The only Sichuan restaurants in Chinatown are Nui Kee, Kanbai, Chez Chili and Chuan Xiang Qing.

        1. re: SnackHappy
          ZEEDAN RE: SnackHappy Jan 25, 2014 03:20 PM

          It's all Chinese to me haha

          1. re: SnackHappy
            Mr F RE: SnackHappy Jan 27, 2014 09:30 AM

            Kanbai on Clark has a pretty attractive room, good atmosphere. I've has their food twice, once a miss (badly under spiced) but the second try it was right up there with the best Sichuan I've had. At Chez Chili they've also put some thought and money into the decor. The food was just ok on our one visit but good enough that I'd give them another try sometime. I assume Niu Kee is still pretty divey... And haven't seen many recent reports on the food either.

            1. re: Mr F
              SnackHappy RE: Mr F Jan 27, 2014 10:08 AM

              I guess I should give Kanbai another go. I seem to be the only person in this city who doesn't like the place.

              My experience at Chez Chili was so-so. Good enough food, but pretty expensive and served in unappealing glass casserole dishes (???). We ordered mostly Northern dishes, though not Sichuan.

              Chuan Xiang Qing was decent when I went. That was when they were in the locale now occupied by Chez Chili. I haven't been to the new location.

              All we need now is for the OP to come back and clear things up for us so we can advise him properly.

              1. re: SnackHappy
                Mr F RE: SnackHappy Jan 27, 2014 12:14 PM

                I have never tried Chuan Xiang Qing. Where is it now? Is it a straight-up Sichuan place (think original Niu Kee), or does it have more Cantonese and pseudo-Chinese dishes on the menu (like Kanbai Chinatown)?

                Anyway, the Kanbai in Chinatown is capable of doing some very good things, but I have no idea whether it's more "hit" than "miss" -- can't tell based on two visits.

        2. c
          chilipepper RE: ericoperatic Jan 24, 2014 12:06 PM

          If OP means westernized Szechuan, then maybe Pavillon Nanpic on de la Gauchetiere near St. Urbain may fit the bill.

          1. w
            williej RE: ericoperatic Jan 24, 2014 12:53 PM

            Friends who lived in China said the place on the corner of Bleury and Rene Levesque was pretty authetnic Sichuan. Is it still open?

            1 Reply
            1. re: williej
              SnackHappy RE: williej Jan 24, 2014 01:14 PM


            2. c
              CaptCrunch RE: ericoperatic Jan 25, 2014 10:37 AM

              The best Szechuan I know is Cuisine Szechuan near metro guy but it is neither Stylish or "atmospheric".

              If I were to want to impress someone with atmosphere I'd probably go to to Le Piment Rouge but its not especially typical or regional (ie: its far from "traditional szechuan)...

              10 Replies
              1. re: CaptCrunch
                cherylmtl RE: CaptCrunch Jan 25, 2014 11:58 AM

                Hasn't Piment Rouge closed?

                1. re: cherylmtl
                  SnackHappy RE: cherylmtl Jan 25, 2014 12:33 PM

                  Indeed it has.

                  1. re: SnackHappy
                    CaptCrunch RE: SnackHappy Jan 25, 2014 02:10 PM


                    So Crystal Chinois is the "flashiest" option here?

                    1. re: CaptCrunch
                      chilipepper RE: CaptCrunch Jan 25, 2014 04:25 PM

                      Well, there's still L'Orchidee de chine for westernized Szechuan. (But it's not close to OP's location requirements)

                      1. re: chilipepper
                        cherylmtl RE: chilipepper Jan 25, 2014 11:08 PM

                        "westernized Szechuan" is a bit of a contradiction in terms...non-spicy spicy food? (actually, closer to flavour-free last time I was taken there...)

                        1. re: cherylmtl
                          BLM RE: cherylmtl Jan 26, 2014 11:39 AM

                          So it was non-spicy & awful at L'Orchidee de Chine? If it's simply non-spicy, I assume you can asked them to spice it up more. Why is it so sucessfull all these years & favourite with some Montreal restaurant critics?

                          1. re: BLM
                            frogsteak RE: BLM Jan 26, 2014 11:45 AM

                            l'orchidee de chine is 'ok'. i once got into a terrible argument with a waiter and will never go back.

                            1. re: BLM
                              SnackHappy RE: BLM Jan 26, 2014 11:57 AM

                              These restaurants basically serve cantonized(sic) versions of Sichuan dishes plus dishes that have nothing to do with Sichuan cuisine like General Tao's chicken and Hunan dumplings. It's the same stuff you find in the Szechuan section of Cantonese restaurant menus. They have little in common with actual Sichuan food.

                              1. re: SnackHappy
                                frogsteak RE: SnackHappy Jan 26, 2014 12:26 PM

                                better ingredients, more refined presentation, but ya, hardly sichuan

                              2. re: BLM
                                cherylmtl RE: BLM Jan 26, 2014 04:34 PM

                                It was bland, basically. Chicken with cashews and celery does not equate szechuan food, IMO. I don't think any amount of spicing would have helped.
                                As to why it's successful, who knows - people go to McDonald's, too. Popular and/or successful does not necessarily equate good, just popular and/or successful.

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