My hubby and I finally got around to trying China Chili on the corner of Shaw and West. We were completely unaware that back in October, China Chili had changed hands. Previously, the restaurant had garnered good reviews under Jane Xia and Larry Feng from Fremont. These two intrepid chefs were commuting from Fremont to Fresno to cook innovative Hunan and Sichuan cuisine.
I had been meaning to go since I heard about it last year, but yesterday was the first time we had tried it. I knew I should have been worried when the menu said the chef specialized in Hunan, Cantonese, Sichuan, and some other region I can't remember. That didn't sound quite right. But we were there and we were going to try it! We were looking forward to such favorites as cilantro fish fillet soup, shanghai steamed dumplings, house chili crispy chicken, and fish fillet in hot sauce. We opened the menu and were disappointed to see none of these exciting dishes. Confused, we tried to scan the restaurant, looking for posted specials, anything to explain our dismay. However, there was no help in sight. Resigned, we ordered hot and sour soup, the "special" tangerine chicken, and another chicken and vegetable dish that I am blanking on the name of.
The hot and sour soup was good, nice flavorful broth full of mushrooms, tofu, etc. Unfortunately, that soup was to be the highlight of the meal. Next came the tangerine chicken, I had ordered it spicy. The chicken came to the table and as I spooned some onto my plate, the noxious fumes from the citrus actually began to make me cough! It got better as the food cooled, but the taste did not. The entire dish was covered in a thick, syrupy sauce that was waaaaaay too sweet. And absolutely no heat, not even a little bit. The other chicken/veg dish had what tasted like the exact same sauce slathered all over it. And again, no heat.
We paid for our meal and as we were walking out we picked up a paper menu to write our notes on. On the back of the menu was written "Under New Management since 10/27/05". Mystery solved! We were saddened by the fact that we had procrastinated and missed what probably was a great restaurant. Oh well, lesson learned!
Nothing really to recommend this new place. There are much better places in Fresno!
5104 N West Ave
Fresno, CA 93711
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