Rumors are confirmed: Both the senior chef and the second chefs formerly of China Village have resurfaced at the Great Szechuan Restaurant in Richmond. Almost every dish Chowhounds have tried there has the depth and complexity of the China Village of old.

yimster says the chef has an “ability to use a combination of sauces, spices and peppers to get my taste buds to dance in my mouth.” The hot chile fish soup—known by hounds as “the soup of a thousand deaths”—has a depth yimster has missed: “Much richer in color and flavor.”

“Each dish was unique and had a wonderful combination of tastes,” agrees marlon, who tried items including clams with bean sauce, and greens with fermented tofu. Cecelia “adored” the ribs wrapped in lotus leaf, covered with tiny soybeans. She also loved the taro chicken, especially sopping up the sauce with pancake. “Sopping is such a hedonistic, yet important facet of eating,” she says.

SoupNoodles’ favorite dishes were pork kidneys in pepper sauce, chicken gizzards, and the aforementioned soup of a thousand deaths. “But not just my favorites of the meal; these were truly outstanding dishes by any standard. The gizzards were thin sliced and had just enough bite, with a sauce that was spicy and complex and somehow refreshing. The kidneys were wonderfully cut in that flower way, well-cleaned, and perfectly cooked to a juicy tenderness, with a complementary spicy sauce that never interfered with the kidney’s flavor, and yet contributed an assertive and complex flavor of its own. The soup was rich and hearty in the mouth, tinged with the wonderful flavor of the slightly-burned peppers, and the soft pieces of fish served as a textural counterpoint to the flavorful broth.”

yimster adds that the food at China Village is still “wonderful,” but says that this chef is a true master: His dishes are “more complex, and his flavors better layered.”

China Village [East Bay]
1335 Solano Avenue, Albany
510-525-2285

Great Szechuan [East Bay]
3288 Pierce Street, Richmond
510-526-8897

Board Link: The Chef from China Village has been found.

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