Monday, June 28, 2010

Lunch #88: Sichuanese Cuisine

Sichuanese Cuisine Hello again! We've been AWOL. Too busy eating too much good food. But we're back. Today we're at that strip mall on Jackson, right next door to our previous place Thanh Vi. This is one of our old favorites - and Rob rode his bike down to join us for some spicy food.

Sichuanese Cuisine, Seattle
Address: 1048 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA, 98104
Cuisine: Chinese: Szechuan
Average rating: 4.7 chopsticks
Lunch date: 3/12/2010 @ 12:09:00
Time taken to be seated: 1 minutes
Time to take order: 5 minutes
Time for food to arrive: 5 minutes
Total lengh of meal: 51 minutes
Chopstix quality: Nice Plastic
Do they use MSG?: Saut says: "Oh yeah...a lot"
Where is the owner/chef from?: Sichuan Province
Number of tables: 12
Number of occupied tables: 12 (100%)
Number of business lunch tables: 10 (83%)
Number of "local" tables: 2 (16%)
Healthcode Score: 20
Links: Yelp!, Urbanspoon
Sichuanese Cuisine

Family Style Dishes

  • Dry-Cooked Chicken - $8.95
  • Sichuan Beef - $8.95
  • Fried Dumplings (20) - $4.95
  • Sichuanese Boiled Fish - $10.95
  • Hot and Sour Soup - $4.50
  • Eggplant in Garlic Sauce - $6.95

Luncher: Geary

Family StyleLunch: Family Style - $10.00
Rating: 5 Chopsticks

Geary's Review

Few other spots in the ID are more authentic feeling than Sichuanese Cuisine. No attempt has been made to try and cater this place to Americans; there are no painted lions in the entrance (How would you know it's even Chinese?); their name shows either a disregard of or a total disdain for the basic concepts of capitalism; and their storefront sign is only slightly fancier than the default yellow pages listing. It feels like this place was plucked off of the street in modern Chengdu and dropped in this aging strip mall. The interior is corporate cafeteria chic with acoustic tile ceiling, easy wipe wood paneling, plastic flower adorned sconces, and industrial tile flooring. It looked cleaner than previous visits, they must have done some remodeling recently. But we didn't come here for clean (although that's always a nice extra), we came for good food.

We sat around for a while and debated what to order while waiting for Rob. Saut recommended the Sichuanese Boiled Fish and was summarily dismissed as a loon. We knew we wanted the Dry-Cooked Chicken but the rest of the order was a crap shoot. When it finally came time to order Saut had worn us down enough that, even though we expected the worse, we relented and ordered the boiled fish.

We started with a bowl of H&SS that was the perfect blend of spicy and tangy and a huge plate of fried dumplings that were good but maybe not SNB good. The first entree to arrive was the Sichuan Beef. The tender beef was tossed with slightly crisp green onions and covered in spicy, oily and delicious sauce. It was one of the best beef dishes I have ever had at a Chinese restaurant. The Eggplant in Garlic Sauce was a familiar preparation but it's rich and tangy sauce was more flavorful than is typical. Next out was the Sichuanese Boiled Fish and as soon as it landed on the table Saut was forgiven, maybe even lauded. This is the kind of dish I want ladled over my grave when I die. I cannot overstate enough how much the name of this dish undersold its wonderfulness. The fish tasted fresh and was falling apart tender. The sauce was complex and spicy with Sichuan pepper corns that light up your mouth in the most unexpected way when chomped. And finally the Dry-Cooked Chicken was amazing. It's served with fried green beens and coated with a dry Sichuan pepper sauce with its distinctive numbing heat. No better fried chicken exists.

Don't go to Sichuanese Cuisine for healthy food or a wonderful atmosphere, but if you're looking for tasty and spicy this is the spot.

Luncher: Emmett

Family StyleLunch: Family Style - $10.00
Rating: 5 Chopsticks

Emmett's Review

You are in for a treat. If I want greasy delicious Szechuan (or Sichuan - spell it however you want) - this is my go-to place. Don't let your significant other read the yelp review about how scary the inside of this and that is because the food makes up for it. And besides, this place has recently (sometime in the middle of 2009) been renovated on the inside -- and it's looking good!

The pot stickers - a tad shy of the quality of that other Szechuan place but pretty good. The Sichuan Beef was loaded with onions - green and white - and had great spice. The dry-cooked chicken - no trip here is complete without - is hot, perfectly flavored, loaded with green beans, and juicy on the inside, in spite of the dry. The boiled fish was in a rich, flavorful broth, and spooned over rice was outstanding. The eggplant was saucy, tender, and garlicky sweet.

At night the hot pot is a good choice for sharing. N.B - everything is kind of spicy. Enjoy your trip.

Luncher: Adam

Family StyleLunch: Family Style - $10.00
Rating: 5 Chopsticks

Adam's Review

Sichuanese Cuisine is now my gold standard for which to judge Chinese food on. Every time I tell someone about the concept of the MSG150, about 50% of 'em will say: "oh em gee! have you been to Sichuanese Cuisine?" And now I get to reply with a gushy: Yes!

This is the first time in a long time where I can actually remember everything we ate. And I think it's because it was all so delicious:

  • First off, someone had told us that we were required to order the Dry Cooked Chicken. I'm not exactly sure what "Dry Cooked" means, but it tastes friggin' delicious. It comes with dry cooked green beans too, so it's healthy.
  • Sichuan Beef - exactly what you've always wanted in a chinese beef dish. Great beef flavor with some spice. The garlic, scallions, and onions just accent the amazing flavor.
  • Sichuanese Boiled Fish - We never would have ordered this had Saut not been there. Delicious. Don't let the name "boiled fish" let you think: "flavorless." This dish is popping with flavor and sichuan peppers.
  • Eggplant in garlic sauce - none of the eggplant bitterness; all of the garlic deliciousness. Great.
  • H&SS and Dumplings - Solid but only a prelude to the amazing food you're about to enjoy.

I can't wait to get back to this place. But you don't have to take my word for it.

Luncher: Saut

Family StyleLunch: Family Style - $10.00
Rating: 5 Chopsticks

Saut's Review

Best Sichuanese (is that how you spell it?) Restaurant in Town! This was probably my 5th time to this restaurant. As always, food is always good and spicy.

The dry-cooked chicken with green bean is my all-time favorite dish. But then, I like everything else… I had the eggplant dish for the first time there and it was really good.

In summary “SPICY, HOT, REASONABLE PRICE, and DAMN GOOD!”

Luncher: Ken

Family StyleLunch: Family Style - $10.00
Rating: 4 Chopsticks

Ken's Review

First off, I'm giving this place 4 stars because "Sichuan Cuisine is my new definition of Asian comfort food." I am utterly certain that almost nothing about this food is healthy. MSG makes it yummy, fat is flavor, and this food had TONS of flavor.

This place is a little strip mall restaurant, with limited parking, and tight seating. It's so nondescript I think if I had driven to it, I would have missed it. It was loud and very well trafficked at lunchtime. That being said, the staff were friendly, fast, and efficient, got our orders right, and our food came out hot and delicious.

The food, quite frankly, was just fabulous. The dry cooked chicken was so flavorful it makes my mouth water just writing this review. The 20 fried dumplings were the perfect appetizer for a big table, and were delicious, plentiful, and cheap. The Sichuan Beef was hearty, spicy and delicious. The Sichuanese Boiled Fish was also incredible, tasty, rich and delicious. Some of the best fish soup I've ever had.

However, the huge surprise for me was the Eggplant in Garlic sauce. I actually don't care for eggplant, and actively lobbied against ordering this dish, but boy was I wrong! They could have called it Eggplant in Awesome Sauce and it would have still surprised you by how awesome it was. Rich, flavorful, with an excellent texture for eggplant.

I will definitely be returning here.

Luncher: Rob

Family StyleLunch: Family Style - $10.00
Rating: 5 Chopsticks

Rob's Review

I think the last time I was here was five and a half years ago. Don't know why I waited so long. I remember loving it back then, and, thankfully, it was just as good this time. The H&SS lived up to its name -- quite spicy and quite sour. After countless bowls of generic H&SS at other restaurants, Sichuanese Cuisine's was a welcome shock: after an initial, stick-in-the-mud thought of "Wait, this doesn't taste like the other hot and sour soups!" I took a few more spoonfuls and then began to think, "Wait, why don't other hot and sour soups taste like this?" Sort of liberating, in a way. My first bite of the eggplant in garlic sauce tasted a bit too sweet, but I soon got used to it. Not as spicy as expected, but I had a second scoop of it anyway. The Sichuanese boiled fish was awesome. Tender chunks of fish (Good Fish, I assume) in a spicy broth with some veggies, and sichuan peppers. I love those little peppers, with their tingling/numbing effect on your tongue and lips when you eat them. And the portions were huge. I felt wonderfully stuffed all afternoon. Yum! I'm not going to wait nearly so long before I come back here again.

Luncher: Jared

Family StyleLunch: Family Style - $10.00
Rating: 4 Chopsticks

Sichuanese Cuisine Photos

Sichuanese Cuisine
Sichuanese Cuisine

Sichuanese Cuisine Menu
Sichuanese Cuisine Menu

Fried Dumplings
Fried Dumplings

H&SS
H&SS

Sichuan Beef
Sichuan Beef

Eggplant in Garlic Sauce
Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

Hot sauce
Hot sauce

Sichuanese Boiled Fish
Sichuanese Boiled Fish

Dry-Cooked Chicken
Dry-Cooked Chicken

Interior
Interior

4 comments:

NC said...

I want me some Sichuanese Boiled Fish!!!

ErinK said...

Now I'm hungry and it's still 3 hours to lunch time.

Krz said...

Health score is wrong and linked to the wrong business.

Geary Eppley said...

Krz, The name is in Chinese on the health code site, but it has the same address and no other place shows up for that address or for the name Sichuanese Cuisine.