Last week, William and I hit up Sichuan Delight in Redwood City. Neither of us had tried it previously. Before Crouching Tiger opened, this was said to be one of the few Chinese spots in the area making a claim to authenticity. Neighborhing Target, it seems to be doing well with a smattering of family groups, both Chinese and not, and a busy take-out business.
We ordered some of our favorite Sichuan dishes here to see how they compare to versions prepared by the field.
Spicy beef tendon, $8.50, has a pile of bean sprouts underneath propping it up. Huge pieces of tendon, cut a bit thicker than most too, and slightly softer. William liked the texture, but he felt that those who like a little crunch to cold tendon might not. Excellent flavor with numbing Sichuan peppercorns and a slow to build up burn.
Spicy fish filet hot pot from the whiteboard, $13.95, was our seafood choice instead of the water-cooked fish we’d planned on. And, it a goodie. The price might seem high, but this pot was packed with filets of firm white fish and no filler. Saucy rather than brothy, the smoky dried chili pepper pods continued to transfer their delicious heat to the brew. I could eat the first few bites, but soon it grew too hot for me to handle. Hard to stop though as this was quite delicious with garlicky highlights.
The least of the dishes we ordered was the Sichuan smoked pork, $8.95. Looks good and the texture of the bacon cut pork belly was spot on and sliced a bit thicker than usual. But it wasn’t that smoky and could have used more salt, not something I say often in a Sichuan restaurant. Prepared well with tender leeks and sweet red peppers, but didn’t do it for us.
My favorite dish was the Chong Qing spicy chicken, $10.95, made in the traditional way with hacked wing pieces. The ma la seasonings were sizzled into the dry-fried skin to reach deep into the flesh. Just a little sweet, this helped balance the fiery chilis. These looked like the cute upturned facing heaven pepper variety to me. After a while, I found myself laboriously picking out the chili pepper seeds embedded in the chicken to cut down on the heat. Worth it though, so tasty.
The one non-Sichuan order was the handmade noodles with ground pork, $8.25. The pork was in strips and not ground. This seemed like it was made by a different hand as the vegetables were cut so haphazardly and included everything but the kitchen sink. Well, actually snow pea pods, asparagus, carrots, onions, bean sprouts, and more. But the critical part, the thick and chewy noodles were great, and William commented that the wok searing was quite expert.
This was a better showing than I expected, since we’ve not heard about this place for some time. Sichuan Delight deserves more chowhound attention.
2525 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA
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