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Jan 24, 2014 07:00 AM

Szechuan restos with style

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

    1. 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

        Le Cristal Chinois is Cantonese.

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

          1. re: SnackHappy

            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

              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

                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.

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

          1. 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. 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: SnackHappy


                    So Crystal Chinois is the "flashiest" option here?

                    1. re: CaptCrunch

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

                      1. re: chilipepper

                        "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

                          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

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

                            1. re: BLM

                              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

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

                              2. re: BLM

                                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.