This is my first post, but I've been a long time lurker; finally found a place that it seems no one else has posted about. Thailand Cafe (302 Massachusetts Ave near MIT) -- a sub-par Thai restaurant that is barely acceptable even to MIT undergrads -- has recently started serving a very nice Sichuanese menu (see attached photo.) Rumor is that someone affiliated with Sichuan Gourmet is the new chef there. Went today with several students from MIT, on the recommendation of a grad student who grew up in Beijing and who swears by the place. Despite it being a run down Central Square hole-in-the-wall, the food was very good -- much better in my opinion than the now defunct Anise (which had some interesting dishes but tended to miss more often than not.) I haven't tried many of the other Sichuanese places in the Boston Area, but I found the food at least on par with Sichuan Garden, with a good balance of spices and quality ingredients.
Not sure I can remember everything we had, but we had:
Cold Noodles with Chili Sesame Vinaigrette - Spicy, large (rice?) noodles with lots of chili sauce. Sichuan-y goodness.
Five Flavored Beef - Cold beef appetizer served plain. Well executed, but my least favorite of the dishes we ordered.
Double Cooked Pork Belly with Spicy Capsicum -- Awesome; thin sliced pork belly, with green onions. Spicy but not overpowering.
We also ordered a hotpot with fried chicken and taro (not on the menu, but apparently available in limited quantities if you ask for it); delicious, though not as overpoweringly fiery as some hotpot I have had.
Chengdu dry hot chicken -- Great. Simple fried chicken chunks with lots of dry hot peppers.
Towel gourd with bamboo fungus -- Gourd itself was plain but the bamboo fungus was outstanding -- soft, salty, spongy.
Dry sauteed green bean -- We ordered this without pork (which I suspect would have made it better) to accommodate a vegetarian -- it was well executed but a bit plain.
All in all, I was pretty happy. I'll definitely be back.
302 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139