Now, before I get a rep for dissing Chowhound faves, let me just say that I've been dreaming of those Dona Lolis refried beans ever since I went there and was putatively underwhelmed. So no question, they're going to get a second chance with me.
That said... I took a friend to La Sze Chuan in the Chinatown Mall today and we were deeply, deeply underwhelmed. (Not just putatively.) As I had more or less the same things that Bruce had at the Westmont one, and similar to what VI had there in another post, I've linked to his review wherein similar things were so much better than anything I had... who knows why.
Pot sticker was good but burbled a small gusher of oil (black gold, Texas tea). Hot and sour soup was, frankly, not enough of either. But appetizers are one thing.
The entrees, however, were the real disappointment. I had one of those giant fish swimming in a sea of scarlet goo surrounded by random chunks of tofu, which was okay (fish was nice and tender) except that the scarlet goo tasted like canned scarlet goo, and a little parsley or something on top did not change that. Likewise, my friend's black pepper beef was okay, but as he said, it tasted like black pepper from a two-year-old 1 gallon can of Sysco Grade D pepper. In short, it all sort of confirmed the notion that authenticity in Chinese food means low quality ingredients.
Now, I grant you that 4 items off a 300 item menu is not a definitive test, but I can't say there was anything about the approach to cooking that impressed me here. It was really kind of disappointing that such a nice piece of fish was so poorly served by its sauce, for instance. Anyway, sorry if you love this place, but it didn't do much for me....
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