We took out tonight. I found the Kung Bao Chicken to be excellent, certainly not too sweet and full of the crunchy dried red chiles. This dish doesn't have the heat of some of the others, but it's pretty spicy - and a bite into the chiles will definitely let you know.
The beef with spicy chili sauce and the cellophane noodles with minced pork in special sauce were both significantly spicier than the Chicken.
We had some guests that weren't quite the chiliheads we are, so we ordered some of the "standard" american/chinese items, including a pu-pu platter and some pan fried dumplings. I've never had these here before, always having ordered from the sichuan side of the menu, but they were really good. The egg rolls and dumplings were definitely home made (not commercial pre-frozen). They are definitely as good or better than Rick's.
I've learned not to take out the noodle soup, as they put the noodles in the soup and they have absorbed too much soup by the time we get home. I wish they would do what the Vietnamese places in Lowell do for Pho - put the cooked noodles in a separate container with the meat and give you a baggie full of condiments (basil, sprouts, lime, and chili peppers, plus a small container of hosin and sriracha), so that only the broth is in the big plastic container. I nuke the broth in a big bowl, (reserved for noodle soups - ramen, pho), put the noodles in to reconstitute, then asssemble the rest of the ingredients, from the raw slices of beef to the tendon and brisket (and onion and cilantro), add the condiments, and start slurping.
Anyway - another fine take-out meal from Sichuan Gourmet. The place was chock full, as usual, 99% Chinese - I don't think they've gone downhill at all. I'd go with the Chef being off on Tuesday night theory to explain ErstwhileEd's bad Kung Bao Chicken.
The hosts as well as the Chinese patrons are predominantly Mandarin speaking - I would not have thought that there were this many northern Chinese immigrants/visitors in the burbs, but I would guess that this place might not attract the Cantonese speaking people from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Is that a bad assumption? Would southern Chinese welcome a place that serves spicy Sechuan cooking in the burbs?
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