Golden Sichuan (former golden monkey) 133-47 Roosevelt Ave, next to Little Pepper.
A dump, like Little Pepper. Much better service, cool manager/waiter speaks good english. Extensive menu, mostly Sichuan, but also some Shanghainese and Taiwanese. Manager claims they have chefs from all three regions. I believe on the first two, though the Taiwanese three cup chicken we ate, while delicious, did not have the touch of authenticity...to me, it tasted like a Shanghai guy made it, but that's just my intuition.
Three outstanding dishes worth a trip from anywhere:
1. fish with spicy bean paste (or something like that)
near perfect rendition; basically mapo tofu with a bit of sublime stewed fish. It was pretty spicy, but they held back on the sichuan peppercorns, specifically, out of gringo displeasure concerns. It'll require another visit or two to fully scale that hurdle. But even so....wow. The dish really gelled.
2. beef shank with garlic
had to have been made by the Shanghai chef, great succulent brown sauce and heavily Jewish style slow-cooking falling-apart stewed meat. But there's some cross-current, and the sauce had a ultra-slow building burn that was so unexpected and so wonderful. Perfect union of sichuan and shanghai. We were moaning over this one.
3. tea-smoked pork
yep, pork, not duck. Sliced very thin....it's the cut usually called "bacon" on Sichuan menus, and the smoke is PERFECT. So much Sichuan smoking tastes like it was done over an electric fire (but not necessarily in a BAD way), but this is just elegant.
Other dishes I tried were merely very good. Their loofah (here called "squash") was perfectly cooked, btw. Oh, and a soup, which may have been off-menu, of tomato and beef was pretty sublime. It came with the "happy meal" deal, where you get a couple dishes with rice and soup for like $11. We ordered five happy meals plus some stuff off the menu. They egregiously overcharged us, but we were too happy to complain. But you may want to pay attention to the charging.
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