Five of us got together at this Sichuan restaurant just south of Dulles Airport. We ordered seven dishes.
Four of the dishes: spicy rabbit (cold app), chengdu beef, tofu and fish filet in very hot sauce, Zhong style dumplings.
These were all basically the same dish, with some variation in spiciness, especially after the dumplings came out rather mild. I was terribly disappointed in the sameness. Clearly, we ordered badly. But only the fish,the hottest of the dishes, was all that tasty. Overall, the other dishes lacked the saltiness I normally associate with Sichuan.
Another dish, "Ants in the tree" was ground pork and bean thread noodles. Only the gelatinous nature of the noodles prevented this from tasting pretty much like the first four dishes. Again, this just made the meal more boring.
Tea smoked duck. First impression is tasty. But once Roe pointed out that it tastes exactly like kielbasa, I couldn't eat another piece. She was right, of course. No need to make the trip out to Fairfax for kielbasa.
And finally, a perfectly pedestrian shrimp and 'threaded' vegetable dish which provided some contrast, but still much less interesting than the cooling dishes elsewhere.
In comparison to the meals I've had at China Star or Joe's Noodle House, I'd say there's no comparison. The dumplings at Joe's are served fresher and hotter. Also, no mention on the menu of any numbing dishes, so more exploration with the wait staff is needed. Unfortunately, they seem even more disorganized and less communicative than China Star.
I'd be willling to go back and put my trust in the hands of an expert to do the ordering and communication with the staff. Hint, hint. But aside from that, China Star is much closer for me, and they put a great deal of effort in contrast of flavors and preparation.
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