This place was really, really good. And, it was the perfect contrast to my “Americhese” cuisine from yesterday, which should be a regional cuisine all by itself (being the region of the US, and not anywhere in China).
The first sign of greatness was the location in a booming Chinese area and the crowd – largely Asian, and I assume Chinese. The second was the menu. Far from the broccoli and chicken in brown goo usual, the Sichuan dishes were authentic and ingredients fresh. I love the fact they put their version of “Americhese” in a separate menu category called “American Chinese Cuisine”! The menu contained lots I wasn’t familiar with (another sign of potential greatness), and I’m just learning the backstory which I hope to know more of – but clearly there is a worthy goal of Sichuan authenticity.
UNESCO declared Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, to be a city of gastronomy in 2011 to recognize the sophistication of its cooking. Here is what the Unesco site says: A Chinese saying states that: “the best cuisine is from China, while the richest flavor is from Chengdu”. In Chengdu, gastronomy and life are the same and are based on the notion of striving for harmony while preserving form, beliefs which are rooted in the most ancient Chinese philosophy. The most outstanding feature of Chengdu cuisine is the great variety of flavors, based on the artful mixture of sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty flavors. http://en.unesco.org/creative-cities//node/8
Expect peppers, although at least one source says peppers are a relatively recently introduction to Sichuan cuisine. http://www.china.org.cn/english/imperial/26133.htm
I’ll be back to recommend more specific dishes, but the lamb was excellently spiced with onions and peppers and the won tons had a wonderful spicy spread at the bottom.0