Well, we got a sitter thanks to my great cousin. It was last moment and I had to choose quickly. So I chose China Star because it was on top of Tyler Cowen's list.
First, it looks like any strip mall chinese place. In fact if you pick up the wrong paper menu, it is a strip mall chinese place. But fortunately when we sat down they gave us the menu with all the Szechuan dishes on it. Place is pretty plain but at 7pm on a saturday night they were doing a brisk takeout business and there was a line extending out the door. The place was filled with about half asian and half non-asians.
We ordered crab asparagus soup, Szechuan chili tofu, salt and pepper eggplant and crystal shrimp. The crab aparagus was really poor. Not much flavor (expect salt and all the body really came from corn starch thickener). Bunch of the asparagus pieces I got were very though and fiberous. I could not eat it. Clearly the chef had used too much of the stalk.
The salt and pepper eggplant was really amazing. The only thing I could wish for is a bit lighter batter but the seasoning was perfect. I'm eating the leftovers right now and I can tell you its actually better cold.
The crystal shrimp was amazing. I don't really know how to descibe how it looked, its taste or texture. The shrimp were cut somehow to look like cork screw pasta. It came covered lightly in this smooth velvety sauce that had an amazing mouth feel and test. (Would get this every time).
The last was the Szechuan Chili Tofu. We got this because we saw it on one of the tables and my wife asked what it was. They lady at the table told us the name and she also told us that it was increadibly spicy. I actually chucked to myself thinking she must be a light weight. I got the dish, and I could not eat it it because it was so spicy. I actually ate about 5 peices of the tofu and I got dissy and was sweating profusely. I drank so much water. I use to think I could handle heat (eating korean food for over 40 years. I eat jalepenos straight), not anymore. The tofu itself was prepare very well. Very crunch on the outside and soft and smooth in the inside. And the seasoning was fantastic. I just wish I could have eaten more of it. The heat really was different in that it would hit the back of my tongue and I would get a burnig feeling all the way down my throat. I would then slowly start feeling the heat and it would get to a burning pitch about a minute later. Would I order it again, Only if they could turn it down a notch.
Over all I am definitely going back and soon but I would order a few other things. My wife and I struck up a coversation with a chinese couple next to us and they were having the crispy Szechuan duck and fish with mustard green (I going order these next time with the tripe and chili oil). The fish dish look like a soup and almost all the asian tables had it. The couple told us that it was the speciality of the house. It look good.
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