First off this is New Shanghai, not Shanghai City....
Well the Mrs & I decided to head for New Shanghai on Convoy last night, we hadn't been there in over a year...and we'd been through all the other "usual suspects" during the past few weeks. So I was thinknig some salt & pepper pork chops would just do fine by me, while the wife could have her Braised Eel dish...
As we walked in and sat down, my wife whispered to me "they've got some new items on the menu" and pointed to the wall, like I could really read it!!!...and we were handed a red card with szechuan items on it along with the regular items...so with great hesitation (on my part) we ordered the Boiled Fish w/Hot Sauce(wife's second favorite traditional szechuan dish) as well as a dry cooked Eel dish, Xiao Long Bao, and the usual pork chop dish....well the fish arrived, and lo and behold!!! It looked right, not some Beijing/Taiwanese (i.e. Spicy City) interpretation, but the real thing, fish slices visible in a bright red "broth" with a layer of oil on the top....we taste, and it's there, the true flavor, a slight numbing burn, and the fish was cooked perfectly...we did notice it was a bit less oily and not quite as numbing hot as our favorite szechuan place - Chung King in Monterey Park (we make the drive about once a month), but the flavor was right on. The Eel dish was perfect, the thin slices of Eel had a chewy quality, sitting on the simple plate with mung bean sprouts, green onions, and red bell peppers, this dish was by far the best of the night - oh, yes, I'm not an Eel eater, but this stuff, was excellent...so we're wondering who's cooking here...while finishing up, a guy walks out of the kitchen, and smiles at us....and walks up to the table and starts talking to my wife...he's the szechuan chef (I think his name was Liu) and engages us(actually my wife - I don't speak Mandarin) in conversation, he was really interested in our opinion of the szechuan dishes...he's only been in SD since 11/15 and this is the first time someone ordered his Eel dish. Well we found out that he's a chef orginally from szechuan - cooked there from the mid-seveties through the mid-eighties, travelled first to Washington State ("they were not reay for real Szechuan back then"), through Europe, and in LA during the late nineties, and cooked in several szechuan restaurants in Monterey Park....and is of the same "school/class" of cooking as Chen Qing-Ping, who is the head chef at Chung King!!! Anyway, it seems that the new, up and coming cuisine is real Szechuan, so the owner of the restaurant recruited him, so during early Nov he ate at most of the Chinese places in SD and found that there was no "true" szechuan in SD and finally started on the 15th. To get to the point, the really amazing thing, and I truly believe that this is a Chowhounders dream, he asks us, since I'm still developing the szechuan menu, and you seem to have eaten authentic szechuan what do you want to see on the menu!!! Imagine that!! So the three items:
- Sichuan rice crust dishes (i.e. sizzling rice)
- Fu qui fien pien (the husband and wives dish)
- Szechuan dried beef
He went on about how the food is prepared, spoke for about 45 minutes....and told us to come back on Friday, he'll at least have his sizzling rice dish for us, also told us to try the szechuan cold sesame noodle dish (BTW on of my favorites...) the conversation was too long to truly detail here...but anyway I'm thinking....if all works out, Buddha, Dumpling, Gayla, Terry, et al....maybe a szechuan banquet?????
TO BE CONTINUED.....
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