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Boston Area Brookline

Rice Garden again, Washington Sq., Brookline

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Rice Garden again, Washington Sq., Brookline

Limster | Feb 6, 2004 12:30 AM

Just some quick notes on another good meal there, this time with a group of 4 chowhounds; we decided to leave the choices to the kitchen and they prepared an excellent dinner consisting of a number of the favourites already mentioned on this board:

Spicy shrimp and chicken, the two kinds of meats both perfect texturally, succulent and slippery, the product of good light stir-frying. Sichuan peppercorns are modest here, sparking in like lighted little firecrackers, with more of the smokey spiciness from dried chilli, and also plenty of garlic and a delicate hint of umami from fermented bean paste. This was a good benchmark for me because I had mostly gone for the two most spicy/numbing dishes on the menu previously. This demonstrated that the kitchen was able to tweak spice levels and balance in different dishes to create a distinct spice and flavour profiles in different dishes.

A tremendously earthy dust of cumin and a generous scatter of sesame seeds are most prominent in the spicy cumin beef, providing yet another perspective on spiciness.

Then two non-spicy dishes for balance and composition:

Chicken stewed with long stemmy Chinese mushrooms, the dark sauce flavour-rich and savoury, the aura of star anise unmistakable, the home-rooted dose of ginger, all bound by the soy sauce (and perhaps some rice wine?). Again chicken was precisely cooked, firm but tender.

A light almost cleansing dish from stir fried Chinese broccoli, simple but impeccable, cooked to a right level of softness in the leaves and a snappiness in the stems.

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