Restaurants & Bars 6

Szechwan Home, Union City

Melanie Wong | Sep 24, 2005 11:36 PM

I capped off a week of Sichuan eating with a small take-out order from Szechwan Home in Union City last night. It's in the shopping center on the corner of Decoto with Marina market. On the parking lot side of the restaurant, banners are posted indicating that it's been renovated and is under new management. The interior has new emerald green vinyl upholstered booths. The cashier told me that it changed hands 10 months ago and has different cooks now. I asked him what happened to the group that used to own it and House of Yu Rong. He said that all the restaurants had been sold, that the group had expanded when the business cycle took a downturn and never recovered from the fire.

Anyway, foodwise, the English menu is Americanized dishes and supplemented by a Chinese menu with the Sichuan specialties. I ordered two cold dishes: husband and wife and cucumbers with garlic. Both had the authentic taste but were prepared in a rough and clumsy way. The husband and wife combination had very thin slices beef shank, tendon and tripe bathed in red oil. The texture of each of the meats was very good. Oddly, the surface was sprinkled with chopped Chinese celery and chopped roasted peanuts. The red oil had plenty of Sichuan peppercorns and heat, but none of the complex, smoky spicing of Little Sichuan's version. It was so ma-la (numbing hot) that my lips and tongue went completely numb. While it didn't quite make me cry, I did get a little dizzy.

The cucumbers used were not the small, sweet Asian variety but the big generic grocery store type with thick tough skins. The seeds were not removed completely and the flesh was not as crunchy as Da Sichuan's version. Also, the garlic cloves were crushed into big pieces and not minced nor partially cooked, so the flavor was less pronounced. The cucumbers were extremely salty and not enjoyable at all.

These two dishes set me back $11 and change. Neither invited more than a taste and made me miss the former cooks here. Any other recommendations worth trying?

Szechwan Home Restaurant
34396 Alvarado Niles Rd.
Union City 94587
Free delivery for orders over $30

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