This is how a brand spanking new Sichuanese restaurant is going to last well beyond the typical one year “hot” period. Despite being reviewed and visited by J. Gold multiple times in the first four months of operations, Tony Xu hasn’t rested (in his bed or on the laurels).
He’s hustling the Chinese food geeks on Weibo, he’s trying to stay up with the tweets. He’s engaging the clientele by sending updated photos of their specials board which remains untranslated, and he’s creating (or recreating) dishes of Sichuaner’s favorites as suggested by Weiboers. The effort is real, and it is unrivaled by any other Chinese restaurant in LA.
Here are two from the new-ish specials board which is shown below as posted on Chef Xu’s weibo:
A brief translation:
1. Lion (mane) fish
2. “mao” duck — duck hot pot (the “mao” series of dishes are some of my favorites)
3. House flavor “bo bo” chicken
4. sizzling rice chitterling
5. Sichuan homestyle “small fry” pork
6. chameleon plant salad
7. zizzling rice beef
8. braised pork
It’s a “julienned” bone in fried carp, dressed in a slightly sweet, spicy, tangy sauce. The whole carp is between 3-4 pounds, and serves four easily. Strands of fish, still attached to the backbone, is individually breaded and carefully fried, to retain the look of a lion’s mane. There is whole fried snapper for two with soba at Tar & Roses at
$48 $52, or you can get these beast of a fish fry for only… wait for it… $26. As much as I love Tar & Roses, Chengdu Taste’s labor intensive chic dish it eons and eons above anything coming out of Tar & Roses’ kitchen. Yes, an SGV Chinese restaurant fries better fish than a fancy joint in Santa Monica. Of course you shouldn’t be surprised.
The other one I desperately want to try is the Chengdu style bao bao chicken, a riff on the spicy green chili bao bao chicken (poached, marinaded white-cut chicken dressed with a vingeary peppery chili salsa) which is one of my favorites at the restaurant, and one of the most banging bargains at $9 for half a chicken.
So, instead of yelping about a 2-hour wait at Chengdu Taste, I implore you to study up, shut the hell up, and order take-out, or Weibo (Chinese twitter) Chengdu Taste to reserve tables on the weekends. Or, if they deny reservations on the weekends, go on a weekday. Because, really, even in SGV, weekends are reserved for amateurs. You don’t see Miley going to Rao’s on a Friday night, do you? No.
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