My daughter and son-in-law surprised me by dropping in to spend the night yesterday. They were in town to pick up a new car the dealers in El Paso would have to order but there was one available in this area. I wanted to cook, but my SIL said he'd been craving Chinese take out and asked if there were any good places here? Not in my experience! But while he went to pick up the new car, my daughter and I went over menus on the web. ONE place caught my eye simply because it had dongpo pork on the menu. That is RARE in these parts! The restaurant is Sichuanese Cuisine Restaurant (http://sichuaneserestaurant.com/defau...) on Coit in Plano, right next to Dunkin Donuts. A few months back, I'd stopped to pick up coffee for a friend and me while we were out running around and they'd had a sign in the window for potstickers, five for a dollar or something ridiculous like that, so she ran in and picked up an order to go with our coffee. Nothing to write home about, so I'd let the place slide off my radar. But when I saw dongpo on the menu, hey! Why not?
My son in law loves egg drop soup and Mongolian beef, so he ordered that. My daughter ordered sweet and sour chicken and pork lo mein. I ordered the dongpo "pork elbow,." It was the run-away hit of the evening. Traditional dongpo rou is cubes of pork belly tied with string like a small package to keep the meat and fat from separating during the long cooking process. This dish had a Sichuan twist to it in that the sauce has chile added to it for that typical Sichuan spicy kick, but for the rest it was the traditional dongpo sauce with Chinese golden sugar, star anise, Shaoxing wine, and all the rest. Instead of the tied cubes of pork belly, they used a front leg of the pig (pork elbow) with the skin and thick layer of fat under it. It was cooked in the very traditional way so that the fat layer takes on a succulent texture and does NOT coat the roof of your mouth like a spoonful of Crisco. It is rich and delicious! For take out, it came in a big old aluminum disposable roasting pan, and my god, there was enough for six or eight people. For twelve dollars...! My kids spent the evening speculating how such a restaurant could turn a profit.
The lo mein was excellent. The best I've had in this area. The Mongolian beef was good, and lots and lots of beef. I don't normally order sweet and sour in a restaurant but make it at home without two bottles of red food coloring in the sauce, and I make it with steamed and deep fried spare ribs. My daughter ordered the chicken sweet and sour, and it was the usual chunks of chicken in a thick batter crust with a container of Christmas red sauce with it. Nothing I'd order the first time, let alone the second. There *IS* good sweet and sour sauce made in China, so why can't Chinese restaurants in America make it???
I stayed home and set the table while the kids went to pick up the food, and they came home amazed! They said there was only one other person besides them in the place who spoke English as far as they could tell... Themselves and the guy who took their order. The place was packed to the doors with Asian clientele, presumably Chinese, and everyone beaming over their food. So if you want something really delicious and very Chinese, I highly recommend the dongpo pork, and the lo mein is exceptional too.
Donpo pork: Five stars!
Pork Lo mein: Four stars
Mongolian beef: Two stars
Sweet and sour chicken: half star
Egg drop soup: Two stars
Go for the dongpo pork!!! The kids plan on driving back all the way from El Paso just so they can have it again and staying two days so they can eat the leftovers!
Sichuanese Cuisine Restaurant
2001 Coit Rd, Plano, TX 75075